So, the other day, KTVU, a San Francisco Bay Area news station reported the names of the pilots of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco airport last week. The names listed were—and read them carefully: "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk," and "Bang Ding Ow."
Who says racism is dead in this country, though that’s another topic for another day.
Despite the names obviously being racist and not at all funny, and hurtful and demeaning and wrong, KTVU, which has since apologized for the report, released a statement saying that a National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] official had confirmed the names to them:
Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for this error.
NTSB Public Affairs Officer Peter Knudson said it is the NTSB's policy is to never give out pilot names in these situations, which contradicts KTVU's claims. Knudson added, "I don’t know who [KTVU] got that from, but we do not release names."
KTVU has issued another apology on its website, yet they still maintain that an NTSB official confirmed the fake names: "Prior to air, the names were confirmed by an NTSB official in the agency’s Washington, D.C. office."
And then ….
The NTSB released a second statement acknowledging that it was a summer intern who confirmed the four fake names:
The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.
The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident.
Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.
Okay, let’s dish.
First off, let’s not give KTVU a pass on this because just one look at the names and you had to know this was just an offensive attempt at third grade—and I’m being kind there—humor. So whoever it was at the station that took the names and then allowed them to be used in the newscast—even with NTSB ‘confirmation’—is also guilty of being a complete moron and should be fired.
Then, let’s not let the NTSB get away with the summer intern blame, because since when does an intern release statements or confirm information? Someone high up at the NTSB obviously took the day off and left some moron in charge there as well. Some moron who didn’t have the good sense god gave a goat. Some moron who thinks, in 2013, that racist jokes are funny.
KTVU and the NTSB should be ashamed of themselves for the way this mess was handled and mishandled, and anyone involved with releasing the names to a news channel, and releasing them to the airwaves should be standing in an unemployment line this morning.
That would be funny.