They'll Be Talking About This Screw-Up For Years...
General media coverage of the tragedies surrounding Asian Flight 214 have not set any high notes -- as blunder after blunder, ridiculous hyperbole after ridiculous hyperbole, and know-nothing after know-nothing embarrass both general media reporting as well as the world of aviation -- in a big way.
BUT... one of the biggest blunders we've ever had to report on is destined to sit in the Hall of Fame for such goofs (if there is such a thing... and if there isn't, this might be a good reason to start one) long after any of us is LONG gone.
A number of general media outlets were apparently in some of kind of rush for anything that remotely resembled new info about the crash that killed three people and injured over 180 others... so much of a rush that they did not check or even bother to 'sound out' the names they were given, ostensibly for each of the flight crew that were on board the Boeing 777 when it came to grief at KSFO.
In both print as well as video/audio media outlets, the four names (wait for it...) of the flight crew were reported to be....
- Captain Sum Ting Wong
- Wi Tu Low
- Ho Lee Fuk
- Bang Ding Ow
Yikes! Outside of being errant, racist and sophomoric.... Didn't ANYONE sound these names out before daring to utter them on air? Apparently not, because YouTube is now filled with examples of various media outlets who failed the GMIT (General Media Intelligence test) before going to air, or press. In a matter of hours, retractions and apologies were issued by the score... and then the most interesting bit of news was released... that the names listed above were those released and confirmed by the NTSB!
The NTSB? REALLY? Ho Lee... (oops, never mind, let's NOT go there)
While the Feds are still scurrying a bit in terms of trying to explain what the hell happened, a short statement of correction and apology from the NTSB was sent out late yesterday with a bit of a mea culpa.. and an even more fascinating bit of finger-pointing -- the intern did it!
NTSB STATEMENT ON ERRONEOUS CONFIRMATION OF CREW 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.
Somewhere out there in Fed-Land there is an Intern that has some serious 'splaining' to do... and we have a feeling that the story only gets stranger from there...