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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Exclusive: Saturday Night Massacre at KTVU; 3 Fired Over Asiana Airline Gaffe; 'More Firings Possible'; Update: GM Raponi Statement

OUT! at KTVU  BREAKING NEWS from 415 Media

Roland De Wolk: Investigate Producer

Cristina Gastelu: Special Projects Producer

Brad Belstock: Producer

**Three independent sources confirmed the firings to me. All spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the story.

UPDATE: 10:07: Statement from Tom Raponi: GM, KTVU

 "Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through with our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others."


Note: Elvin Sledge, a veteran news producer who works the Noon Show, (and was on duty the day of the gaffe),  told management that he's retiring. According to a source, Sledge weeks ago informed his bosses he was going to retire, well before the Asiana Airline name snafu.

**I am told a Cox Media attorney went to KTVU and conducted "major" investigation.

**Source tells me "they are not done yet--could be more."

**Developing...

**415 Media Exclusive

**Follow me on Twitter

67 comments:

  1. Great, can we finally move on????

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  2. Now this is breaking news...

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  3. this is not over

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    1. Sorry pal, at some point this will be over. Time to move on.

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    2. yeah, racism is over in the u.s. so we should all move on, right? what's wrong with you? 3 people died while someone thought it appropriate to make fun of that using RACIAL slurs. this is a HATE CRIME and KTVU should bear the shame of it for long time to come.

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    3. No slurs, no hate crime occurred....that's a fact.

      A simple play on words got overblown and a few super sweet/super sensitive folks pouted and sucked their thumbs.

      "oh, you just don't get it...", we get it, your a drama queen.

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    4. You are on shaky legal grounds when you claim KTVU has committed a hate crime. If you disagree, kindly cite the specific statute you are referring to.

      The station has apologized profusely. People have lost their jobs. KTVU's reputation has suffered. What more could you possibly want, a public execution?

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    5. @6:11 & @8:01 KTVU's apologies and efforts are being understood and appreciated all over the world. Asiana Air has recanted their intention to sue for defamation. That's not being drama queen or calling for public execution by any standard. Its demanding that this incident not be writte off as a joke and pouty reaction but recognized for the hateful content that it was. Please grow up and see the racism deeply rooted in your commentary.

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  4. 6:17--you must work at KTVU....because we ALL want to know who is getting the ax. THIS IS BIG, dude. Quit trying to downplay it.

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    1. Agreed. I sure want to know. Wow, these are all accomplished producers too, with several years of experience at KTVU. How? Why? This is such a shame.

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  5. File under No cover up would be complete without a few getting the Boot. Keep up the great work Rich.

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    1. Another paranoid lunatic! Since you seem convinced of some dark conspiracy and coverup, kindly enlighten the rest of us. What is it you imagine really went on. I'm really dying to hear because you conspiracy nuts are so sure of some really serious, sinister plot. Explain, because as far as I can tell, there's nothing behind these crazy insinuations!

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    2. Not sure I made a statement about a conspiracy. The coverup would be the removal of the You tube Video.

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    3. Removing the video from You Tube would be a coverup??????

      What would that coverup? We've all seen the video, MANY TIMES OVER. Surely you aren't trying to suggest that removing the video from YouTube would coverup the fact that this thing happened.

      Still waiting to hear what was being covered up and what's REALLY behind this event

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  6. Is this upper management rents way to throw people under the bus so they don't have to reveal the breakdown on vetting process ?

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    1. Oh, so you were demanding that people get fired and then were people are fired, you complain it's part of the coverup.

      Three words: YOU'RE CRAZY!

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  7. Interesting one of the three people axed was featured by Rich in a blog post on 7/13. As I recall, Rich caught shit for picturing poor Brad "who had nothing to do with it". The blog post started with "KTVU producer, Brad Belstock (pictured), tweeted out, "Oh shit" on Friday. Indeed."

    Yes, indeed.

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  8. well, the good news is that Elvin made it to retirement! congrats, Elvin!

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  9. so .. what responsibility do you take on for Brad Belstock... He wasn't even attached to the program.. in fact, was producing the 5 pm news as he does every day... his mistake... he tweeted on his own account ..OH SHIT.... but you posted his picture and inference is that he was involved... What do you say about that ... guilty cause he worked in the station the same time the gaffe happened... I don't condone this Breaking News BS that consultants have shoved down ND's throats and ultimate demeans news in general... and did they rush to air.. yes.. but the Belstock issue is something that needs to be addressed. At worst... he should have been suspended without pay for a week for making a mistake on his own private twitter account... your posting may have been the straw that did him in...

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    1. Belstock was the one who tweeted out the "Oh --it", not me...and his photo was run in the UK, (The Guardian), well before I used it.

      I never intimated that he was responsible and it was NOT me that let him go.

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    2. Belstock was working on the newscast where the erroneous names were reported.

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    3. Why was the 5pm producer working on the noon that day? Unless Elvin had to leave work early, that doesn't make any sense.

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    4. Also, how would a producer, who is in the middle of boothing a show, have time to simulatinuly tweet "oh sh@t" about something that just happened in that show? That's highly unlikely. Producers are busy writing, re-writing, talking to anchors, and making sure directors know about any changes. Brad was likely watching the show on his tv at his desk, as all tv news people do, and tweeted "oh sh@t" from his company computer. He was likely fired because of all the attention he received.

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    5. Belstock was NOT working on the show that committed the error, but I guess you (Rich) don't feel guilty on perpetuating the assumption that he did, which led to him being let go. Yes, he tweeted, but the fact that you and others felt the need to post his pic and name did not help! Belstock is a good producer and was not at fault of putting erroneous material on air! You should feel ashamed of yourself of giving someone a bad reputation!

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  10. Did Elvin really retire?

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  11. Before we all get worked up over people being fired and gossip about who's next, let's not lose sight of KTVU's real failing here: it's lack of transparency over what transpired.

    In previous scandals at other larger news organizations (the New York Time and the BBC for a start), the organizations themselves have covered the event because they realize the most important thing they have is their credibility.

    Here's the BBC grilling its own director general on two scandals that rocked the broadcaster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrFYKrMdMRc . The BBC is slightly different, it's run under Royal charter, not a commercial station and paid for by a license levied on viewers, but it still takes balls to make yourselves the top story of the day.

    I don't see a story about this on the KTVU site tonight.

    KTVU cannot hold others to task for their failings when they themselves don't do the same thing.

    It might be that KTVU is waiting until the investigation is over. I really hope that is the case.

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    1. If you are that concerned by the lack of transparency at KTVU, perhaps you should suspend viewing their shows until this can all be fully explained to your satisfaction.

      If you are seriously concerned, you might suspend TV watching altogether.

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    2. Haven't watched them since. Won't watch them again.

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  12. Interesting indeed.
    We still want to know who was the responsible party that wrote the offending script.
    How does a foolish prank go live on TV? Someone knew or knows more than we are being led to believe.

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    1. Exactly. Special Projects and Investigative Producers generally go no where near day-to-day newscast scripts. At least not at the shops I've worked.

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    2. I agree something doesn't add up. Special projects and investigative are usually their own animal. We need to get some inside information to find out why these two were fired. This story just keeps getting stranger. They got an email from a trusted source. who?

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  13. These firings make no sense. Special Projects and the I Team don't have anything to do with producing a daily newscast, nor are they working on an open rundown... Why these three, two with jobs irrelevant to the noon news?

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  14. Hey Rosenfuck, where's your press-release now?

    Oh, and Tori Campbell is still, and forever will be, a stupid, fucking idiot.

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    1. Who still has a job unlike the fuckups who were fired. It is refreshing to see a bunch of guys get fired from a mostly misogynist, racist population of men who work in media. Especially since it was a racist "joke" that started the whole thing. Karma, she is a bitch, yes?

      Tori: Keep on truckin'.

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    2. 11:38 you are a fucking piece of shit and no, the gag wasn't at all racist. Keep posting your comments because Rich loves his PC parrots like you while he censors views that differ from his. THAT'S beyond weak. Lieberman is a fuckin scumbag, always has been, always will be.

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    3. at 11:38--Your idiotic post made it up didn't it? Many people thought it was racist, including the top brass at COX and that's why 3 heads have already rolled. Now you have become the P.O.S. that nobody will touch. You should stop worrying about Rich and start worrying about your own self....Lee

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  15. I've worked with one of those let go. He was not a frivolous guy. It's quite possible a "joke email" was passed around - someone saw the names on the CC list and figured it was legit. No way those involved mistook the names as being real and ran with it. These weren't interns or newbies.

    KTVU just took a big hit. They just gutted what makes their newscasts good.

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    1. Your excuse is what gives the media a bad name. The fact that Channel 2 continued to lie about the NTSB verification says something about the station.

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  16. Who is running KTVU's social media? They dropped the ball by ignoring the entire situation while the whole world discovered the viral video.

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  17. I'm sorry - the first one to go should have been the person reading the names on the air. You'd have to be a complete freaking idiot to not understand something was wrong with "Sum Ting Wong"...but still having the presence of mind to pronounce Ho Li's name as "fook". Second to go should be the even bigger idiot who actually built that slide for airing.

    Tori could easily have said something along the lines of "obviously there's a problem with this slide and we'll return to this later" and this never would have turned into the gigantic cluster-"fook" that it has.

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    1. Right. Especially as deliberate as she was reading those names. Tori Campbell is a dipshit.

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  18. WOW! This is HUGE! Don't think this wasn't partly due to Mr. Lieberman's diligent coverage of this story, that justice was finally carried out. I myself will support Mr. Lieberman's website with an annual donation. I'm only speaking for myself. ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY are the hallmarks of any professional news organization. This is what Rich forced them to do. I bet the perpetrators/clowns don't think this is a joke now do they???

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    1. It would make sense if those let go were responsible, but I know of at least one that thanks to Rich's "diligence" in reporting and inferring was not! You call that justice?

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  19. The departure of Christina Gastelu is especially sad. She did very good work on many KTVU special reports. The best local TV "enterprise" journalism in recent decades has been on KTVU, with the possible exception of KRON-TV's "Cover Story" on NewsCenter 4 at 6 p.m. in the 1980s. One very stupid foul-up should not be a career-ending action (but if there's a pattern, then dismissal might be justifiable).

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    1. i don't know gastelu personally and there is something to be said about one mistake shouldn't be allowed to tank an entire career. however, racism is such a deeply rooted and pervasive problem, and as an asian american, insensitivity to asian americans at a station in SF of all places is difficult to accept as one isoloated mistake. it was such a horrible accident, 3 people, two of them teenagers, died as a result. how can this be time to not think consequences of making fun of that is too heavy?

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    2. Oh good grief. A person is the sum of everything they are, not one isolated instance. Do you really imagine they all secretly hate Asians? I seriously doubt they even intended it to be aired, but it slipped past someone they assumed would catch it.. and simply laugh. These people deal with disasters and heartbreaking situations on a daily basis. Humor is a coping mechanism for being inundated with all that and should not be confused with not caring.

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    3. @2:23 o good grief. guess what: if you can't distinguish between humor and racism, then you are a racist. you probably think n-word jokes are just funny, too. if you want to see how humourous this incident CAN be sketched, look at how stephen colbert does it on his show: he touches on one of the most common asian american racial issue, i.e. confusing diff asians such as koreans and chinese, applies it to the KTVU incident in a whole new level, and makes even more fun of it. but underlying the joke is a clear premise that the original list was not simple humor but racist content. now THAT is humour. you are just a racist.

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  20. I have worked at KTVU as a weather producer and Know Elvin Sledge and Bra Belstock. You can't find better TV producers in the business. Brad will be immediately hired at another outlet in the Bay Area if he chooses to remain here and work. Elvin, a veteran, will be sorely missed at 2 and difficult to replace.

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  21. Congrats on getting the breaking story. The Chronicle credited you with the news. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/KTVU-staff-fired-over-fake-Asiana-pilots-names-4685627.php

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  22. What about the anchor? She should have realized after reading 1 of the names. You can tell she didn't get it even after reading all 4. What are the standards of a place that uses anchors who don't think as they read the news?

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    1. Maybe that's why she's on "vacation." So she can be far away when the axe falls, without repercussion.

      Tori is an idiot. A cowardly, dishonorable idiot.

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  23. I miss Dennis Richmond and Elaine Corral.

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    1. Elaine's hair in the 80's did nothing for her looks. I saw pictures of her in the late 90's/2000's and shes kind of hot.

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  24. The anchor bears some responsibility in this. Even if she didn't write the copy, didn't she go over it before the segment aired? One glance should have told her those names were fake. Troubling the most is the underlying racist attitude that created this "prank." And then to lie about it and claim the names had been checked out by the NTSB. Geez.

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  25. Sorry to hear the news about Roland De Wolk, a colleague of mine at the old Oakland Tribune back in the 1980s.

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  26. does anyone know who WROTE that horrible list in the first place? why isn't that person held accountable?

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    1. It was an Internet joke. A bad one.

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    2. yeah, and paula deen made a bad joke when she wanted a planntation wedding. racial slurs against another race is never a joke. you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking it was just a bad joke. it was a shameful momoent for all americans.

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    3. @7:27 you must have misunderstood my post. It was something that someone had written on the Internet. Who knows who that person is, it was circulating on the Internet as a joke. Is that clear enough for you?

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    4. @9:53 what is clear enough is that by calling it 'just a joke', not a racial slur, you are minimizing the devastating effect it has. you are disenfranchising the asian american community because you are saying it's ok to be racist against your fellow americans when they are ethnically asian. i'm not saying ignore KTVU's efforts and apologies, which seems sincere thus far, i'm saying don't trivialize racial slur as a joke. paula deen insisted that her use of n-word was part of common joke and her media empire is falling apart. why do you insist that asian americans don't deserve same gravitas?

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  27. Since this seems to be where to get news on KTVU's Asiana gaffe, has there been any report on who the original writer of the pilot list is? Will he/she be held accountable?

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  28. KTVU has apologized and even fired personnel, in an effort to move beyond this incident. Asiana Airlines cancelled their intent to sue and is moving on, taking care of the actual accident.

    Those who are stopping us from moving on are racists who still insist that this was just a joke & to get over it. KTVU obviously didn't think so and FIRED people. You need to recognize that this was hateful speech. If you insist this was a just a joke, someone here even said it's just humor to blow off steam, you need to recognize that you are a racist at the core.

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    1. They fired at least one person they shouldn't have! It is called covering their ass and some "reporters" wrote their stories without consideration of peoples reputation! I have had the pleasure of working with one of these people and if he had been involved, he would have been smart enough to catch that asinine mistake!

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    2. @ 9:53 'consideration of peoples reputation'??? are you serious? what about the asiana pilots' reputation? you don't think THAT deserves consideration? why? because they are asians? what about the reputation of 3 asians who died? what about the reputation of almost 200 passengers who almost died?

      none of these equals one white man's reputation for you?

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  29. As a news producer I thought... oh shit this could have so easily been my newscast. Lots of people involved in a newscast and when your the one in the booth getting screamed at by mgmt to get this "exclusive" on the air I can totally see this happening. It all moves too fast and reckless sometimes. No you shouldn't be tweeting during the newscast but you'd be surprised what goes on in control rooms in every market.

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    1. yes, i think most people understand this and sympathize with what happened. the only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that we do not view this incident as a simple joke and over-reaction of the pc brigade. if a n-word joke was similarly aired, no one would even dare to minimize it. it was a serious mistake and should not be trivialized. i don't believe KTVU is trivializing it, or the staff involved. we shouldn't either.

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