I was unable to post on this story in a timely fashion, but better late than never.
Everyone was laughing at the punking of WKTU TV in the Bay area on July 6, when it reported fake names of the alleged pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash that killed three and injured many more. It was funny, in the same way Bart Simpson’s multitude of fake names he uses to embarrass Mo at Mo’s tavern is funny. (“Amanda Huggenkiss? I’ll see if she’s here.”(shouting) “I need Amanda Hugginkiss! Can someone find me Amanda Huggnkiss?”) But Mo is an idiot who runs a cartoon bar, and not a professional journalist charged with informing the public.
Nobody at the station—producer, editor, reporter, staff—noticed that “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Low,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow” were obvious gags. These are the discerning professionals who cull through the news to inform the public? Jonathan Turley called them “humor impaired,’ which is far too kind. They are incompetent. They are lazy and careless. They have bad instincts, and insufficient common sense to protect the public from misinterpreted news and bad information.
Journalism is on par with education and the government regarding the unacceptable number of incompetent, unprofessional and dim-witted people in jobs that are too difficult and important to be occupied by dolts. This is a lovely example. The station says that it confirmed the names from the NTSB and aired what it thought was the official report, which was really the work of a puckish intern. That’s even worse: if the station employs a single individual who could speak, type, or read a name like “Ho Lee Fuk” without becoming suspicious, it’s one too many, but apparently WKTU is full of such slugs. Out with all of them! The Management should be replaced, and every single individual who was aware of the names and was too careless or clueless to recognize them as jokes should be sent packing.
It’s simple principle, really: he incompetent cannot be trusted. Apparently the NTSB intern who devised the stunt was fired, and should have been, but given the choice of hiring him or the various Ted Baxters and Ron Burgundys who didn’t get the point, I’d take my chance on the intern. He’s young, and can still be trained to be professional. Stupidity is forever.