Friday, July 26, 2013

Source Close to KTVU Asiana Name Gaffe: 'Perfect Storm' of Unintended Consequences; In-House Joke That Somehow Aired; The Latest

   Spoke to a person close to the entire matter at hand and this individual told me that the entire affair was a "perfect storm" of unintended consequences. In other words, an internal "joke" that wasn't meant to get anywhere near the studio, let alone the anchor desk.

"I don't think (the person) who sent it could ever imagine that it would have made air, " said the KTVU insider.

That person who sent the joke e-mail; a longtime source that the station has relied on in the past as a trusted informant, is now at the heart of the investigation. It's looking pretty simple from here: the fake, joke e-mail that wasn't meant for anyone other than in-house laughter found its way, remarkably to the air, and thus, cost four people their jobs. It's abhorrent and indefensible and it's probably played out in almost every newsroom in America. How many joke e-mails have you and your co-workers in the office laughed at a matter that would never be intended for outside viewing? Only, this internal joke got through the fortress. No excuses, indeed, but it sheds light on matter. Was it racist and offensive? Did it cross the line? Yes and Yes. Ultimately, and I still can't fathom this: IT MADE IT PAST PEOPLE WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER. End of story.

**Keep it here for any late-breaking developments.


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54 comments:

  1. No, this made it on the air because OTHERS, beyond the "Joker", moved it along in the hope of turning the tube on and seeing it. This is like saying, "I hated to see Mike Tyson bite of Evander Hollyfield's ear!. Thrill-seekers spend a lifetime waiting for something like this to happen and those who can make it happen, greet the opportunity with similar enthusiasm. This was a "team effort" even if it wasn't intended to be that way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Roger W. Morgan: Exactly what I was thinking sir. Everybody decided to turn a blind eye because DENIAL is a powerful weapon.

      Delete
    2. I howled with laughter when I heard about this story. I'm a pilot and my sympathy is completely with those affected by this crash but the video and story of those names getting on air made my day. And I don't have a racist bone in my body. Lighten up folks. I'm sure racists derive a certain sort of ugly pleasure from this kind of prank but for me, it was just plain funny. Anyway, those names sound just like the things that go through my mind even on my better approaches :-)

      Delete
  2. the cox lawyer needs to look at lee Rosenthal's cell phone records the day it happened.

    was there a call placed to his cell phone and did he text others at wxin during the course of the gag order.

    trust me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if brad was fired on social media policy, what about lee Rosenthal on the gag order policy?

      you can't let one get off and the other be above corporate policy...

      Delete
    2. Trust me .......anonymous. BUZZZ not for this reporter. The person who received the email and everyone who passed it around inside should be gone. I have no inside information. I must say though, I miss the good old days. Someone would have walked in after that newscast and said. You, you, you, you. pack you stuff bring it to my office. Tell me why you should stay.

      Then sat down and wrote an apology, we f####d up and read it himself on air. I would love to see Russ Coghlan handle this.

      Delete
    3. @6:30

      thanks hugh downs.

      Delete
  3. It seems to have crossed the lines only because it became public. Are we to assume similar racist comments are common within today's media, or are they non-racist if they stay within their walls?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agree. This should have never gotten past the editors (who ever they are).
    The firings were justified.
    Somewhere Tori Campbell has some responsibility here. Reading the script like some robot.
    Hey Tori, were you awake?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know what happened here. The Asian (Chinese) graphics operator saw the names, expressed her concerns to someone because the names were Chinese, not Korean.. (Who did she go to?) and that person claims no, go with it, it was confirmed with the NTSB. but Rosenfuck failed to bring the graphics operator to the meeting with the AAJA...Am I wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. why did amber lee go to meet with the aaja? did she have any involvement or did the bosses want to throw an Asian in the face to save face.

      what about the graphics artist who saw the mistake but no one listened to her?

      Delete
    2. There IS no graphic artist.

      Delete
  6. How the heck does a joke like that make it on air? There are several layers of people and quality control to make sure something like this doesnt happen. Guess no one was mining the store or running the ship that day. But if they are going to punish good hardworking people who have been there for years, you would think they would can the GM and the News Director too. Start from the top!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen!!!! I bet the GM is covering up for the fact that he hired a hack newsroom bonehead with hardly any experience and has only been on the job three months.

      Delete
  7. "The heart of the investigation" LOL

    Rich, this isn't the Kennedy assassination. Take a deep breath and go get yourself a turkey sandwich.

    This isn't Watergate and you're no Woodward, maybe a little Bernstein. OH OH, a racist joke, better launch another investigation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 10:49 you're not a reporter.

      you don't know about investigations.

      you can compare it to Watergate, Benghazi, but the Bernstein comment is anti-Semitic. Is that what we are reduced to?

      You are. Leave your bigotry out of a discussion on ethics and who is being thrown under the bus.
      Find the facts.

      Delete
    2. Abandon humor all ye who enter here.

      Delete
    3. I sure hope that the person who is comparing this to Watergate and Benghazi is kidding.

      Anyone who seriously believing that needs to have their head examined!

      Delete
    4. 12:29--you're comparing it to Watergate.

      and if you think your joke about hey, grab a turkey sandwich is funny..

      don rickles wants you to open up for him in branson.

      Delete
  8. If you work in Bay Area TV, you now know who the source is or at least can say with 90% certainty who it is. It is pretty obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yo, 10:49 AM... This is a serious matter. It's irresponsible. It's not funny. Four people lost their jobs. If some people think this lack of respect for a minority is OK, then what about other minorities? Everyone's open season. Respect goes out the window.

    On top of that, some fool could pass along some bad intel on another matter one day that could wind up on a newscast. That's certainly not a good thing.

    You know what...fire the whole lot of them. From the news anchor on down. Set an example. Lay the law down. There's a price to pay for stupidity, ignorance and total irresponsibility.

    Okay KTVU staffers, start scrambling and kissing ass. You've probably been doing a lot of that anyway. Just amp it up a bit more. It's survival of the fittest!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You all are missing the point here.

    Lieberman writes: "How many joke e-mails have you and your co-workers in the office laughed at a matter that would never be intended for outside viewing?"

    The truth is that many corporations have guidelines on appropriate use of company computers, especially email. Company email is a corporate record that is subpoenable. To have allowed an environment where emails like this are tolerated is the height of irresponibility.

    Never mind how the emailed joke got on the air. Cox should look at the lax office environment that seems to have an undercurrent of less than professional behaviors that would not be tolerated in other corporate business offices.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Reached by TheWrap via email, investigative projects producer Roland De Wolk wrote : "My hard-earned reputation is intack. There are lawyers, so eager as I am to anser all questions, I must refrain." Genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I truly hope a 30-year, award-winning veteran of journalism didn't write "intack." Sigh...

      Delete
    2. It's TV. It really doesn't count as journalism.

      btw, I have an award-winning plumber. Who knew plumbers handed out awards at "aren't we awesome" events? He won for best soldering, region 10, 20-100 customers.

      Delete
  12. There are a lot of comments from each blog post so it's hard to know if this has already been covered, but...

    If you read the text of the promo KTVU ran right after the crash, at Matier and Ross: http://blog.sfgate.com/matierandross/2013/07/12/1937/, you know that part of the reason this made it on-air was KTVU's obsession to be FIRST rather than RIGHT, a scenario all too prevalent in TV news today. It doesn't matter if the information is correct, just that the competition was scooped.

    Here's some irony: 2 of KTVU's competitors, KGO and KNTV, air their news at 11 a.m. so KTVU staffers already knew that the names hadn't aired there. That means KTVU rushed the names on-air to beat KPIX. Really? At noon? Was it worth it?

    If Lee Rosenthal had established a newsroom culture where "we slow down and vet info before we air it", this would've been held off and targeted for the 5 p.m. show, and between 12:30 and 5, most likely someone would've had the time to sound the names out and realize what was happening.
    Yeah, "Haste make waste" is a cliche but it can have real world implications.

    I think Raponi and Rosenthal should resign or, if not, be fired just for allowing this culture of FIRST to have prospered. Maybe if they get axed, the industry learns what can happen when you emphasize FIRST instead of RIGHT, and at least some news depts. slow the f*** down.

    PS How about reassigning Campbell to something miserable like reporting on gang shootings, so she gets fed up and resigns?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I think Raponi and Rosenthal should resign or, if not, be fired just for allowing this culture of FIRST to have prospered."

      Gee, this is so egregious, maybe the station should be shut down!

      ENOUGH ALREADY

      Delete
    2. "PS How about reassigning Campbell to something miserable like reporting on gang shootings, so she gets fed up and resigns?"

      I'll second that suggestion.

      Delete
    3. @12:05 "If Lee Rosenthal would have established a newsroom culture..."

      You do realize he's only been at KTVU for about three months. Hardly enough time to establish anything.

      Delete
    4. exactly @2:00

      if you haven't worked for lee Rosenthal before, he breeds a culture of fear.

      he has a little man's syndrome where he has to get it first, first, first, first, first...

      He's like a crack addict that the competition murdered his mother and he needs to seek revenge.

      I have worked for him, my friends have worked for him, and he breeds an atmosphere of "I will replace you" if you don't live and breathe news 24/7.

      This is especially true if you are a female or male anchor who is older. I've heard him say to an established older male anchor, you look old in front of the newsroom, he'd get into the earpiece of a meteorologist during his segment and tell him what to say, and unless he gets on a whopping dose of Lexapro, I can't imagine he will survive.

      Delete
  13. Yeah Rich, keep investigating to your hearts content. We've barely scratched the surface. We need a complete background profile on everyone who entered the building that day. Maybe NSA can help out with all electronic communications to KTVU within the past month.

    Leave no stone unturned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wait until the bloggers get in touch with the cox attorneys.

      Delete
  14. I still don't understand how the NTSB intern fits into all this. So the list of names came from a joke email, and someone called the NTSB to confirm them? And reportedly the person who took the call confirmed the spelling of the names from this joke email? How did that conversation even go?

    KTVU: "Hi, this is KTVU and we'd like to confirm that the Asiana pilot's name is 'Sum Ting Wong.'"
    NTSB intern: "Yes, that's correct."
    KTVU: "Can you verify the spelling?"
    NTSB intern: "S-U-M T-I-N-G W-O-N-G" (even though the name originated from KTVU and not the intern and would presumably be the first time the intern heard of the name).

    Makes no sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rich's "inside source" tells him, In other words, an internal "joke" that wasn't meant to get anywhere near the studio, let alone the anchor desk.

    Gee, that's a shock! You mean it was meant as a joke and somehow got out of hand.

    DUH, Did anyone (with a 3 digit IQ) really think this was anything else?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh God, please stop. This was not racist. This is a reflection on the crap that mindlessly gets put out as news. This is now political correctness gone crazy and a tv station trying to save its reputation.

    ReplyDelete
  17. As I just said somewhere else: I feel so much better knowing that the newsroom of a major TV station covering an area with a huge Asian-American population delights in sharing racist jokes about Asian names over email. Yeah, that's the spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The late Pete Wilson often talked about how raunchy and politically incorrect newsrooms can be when otherwise highly professional people are just blowing off steam. Unfortunately, it spun out of control in this case, with sad consequences for some undoubtedly very good people. JW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > The late Pete Wilson often talked about how raunchy
      > and politically incorrect newsrooms can be when
      > otherwise highly professional people are just blowing
      > off steam.

      And one day someone woke up and said, "Why don't we take a camera to all that, edit it, and show it as an entertainment show?" And thus TMZ was born.

      Delete
  19. I'm trying to figure out why Tori Campbell didn't lose her job over it. She's the person who read it on air and you'd think she would have questioned it. I'm not a fan of Tori and she's not exactly the brightest bulb when I've read quotes from her. She got her job for her looks when she was young and never had much substance. I suppose they fear firing her for an age discrimination suit, since she's not as cute anymore and her brains haven't improved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are an ass. You nothing about Tori except she's a woman who prevailed over some not too bright guys who put this breaking "story" together. Get over it.

      Delete
  20. To recap, Rich is reporting the names came in a joke email from an outside source well-known to people in the station (and perhaps to many others in Bay Area television news.) Someone at the station either believed the names were accurate because of the known credibility of the source or may have wanted to continue the joke by making a graphic that was not intended to air, in which case someone else saw the graphic in the stack and assumed it had been vetted for air. Is that correct so far?

    If so, how does the NTSB intern fit into this? Was the intern just someone who spontaneously decided to go along with what was obviously a joke, or who perhaps believed it was a crank call from someone posing as a reporter? Less likely, could the intern have been a willing participant whose name and phone number may have been included in the email?

    I can guess how the names might have skipped past normal editorial processing. Again, just a guess, and just one of many possibilities. The show is on the air, the producer is in the control room. Someone in the newsroom idiotically believes the names are real, calls the NTSB and the intern confirms. The word goes out to the news staff, probably by a "top of screen" message, "We have the confirmed names of the pilots. A graphic is being made." The producer tells the anchor, via IFB, "Stand by to go to a graphic with the names of the Asiana pilots. Read it off the monitor when it comes up." The graphic hits the director's preview screen. The producer immediately says, "Go." The anchor is smooth. Then everybody reads the names for the first time. Everybody, except for perhaps one or two people who either thought the names were real or who were ordered to proceed.

    So now three people have been fired. Two others left for unrelated reasons. Here's where it gets mercenary. Will KTVU hire five new people? Or will the station cynically see this as an opportunity to reduce the head count and save money, putting more pressure on the remaining staff and increasing the chances of more and different mistakes in the future?

    I'd rather not guess about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The names were posted online in at least two online forums two days before the broadcast. The NTSB intern probably just searched online when asked by KTVU to confirm the names, and (carelessly) figured they were correct when they showed up in search results.

      Delete
    2. Oops meant to give you the link, forum postings are in there.
      http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/07/maybe-ktvu-should-hire-forum-commenters-to-vet-future-pilot-names/

      Delete
  21. Would a diverse newsroom have caught the gaffe? More specifically, would a Chinese or Korean producer or writer allowed this to go on air? Speaks volumes why more Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks are needed in newsrooms. The cultural sensitivity of all white newsrooms leaves much to be desired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diverse newsrooms? Let's review those retired or fired:

      1) Elvin Sledge, black male, retired.
      2) Cristina Gastelu, Latina, fired
      3) Roland DeWolk, Jewish, fired
      4) Brad Belstock, Jewish, fired.

      KTVU for years has had a VERY diverse newsroom. The big question now...why did these folks gets fired, and non of the WASPy types? Maybe someone in Cox's lily white management can answer that?

      Oh THAT'S right, Mrs. Cox belonged to that "white's only" country club in Atlanta!

      Delete
    2. The other way to look at your demographics 6:33 is those diverse folks were once HIRED.

      Delete
  22. Who are the other ones that left?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Here's the thing: newsrooms are hotbeds of completely inappropriate jokes, much as hospitals, police and fire stations are. It's a coping mechanism, to make terrible jokes about terrible things. It's the only way to distance yourself from the horrors you see/report on every day.

    I'm not saying it's right. It's just the reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I agreeing. In their secret moments almost everyone shows a little bit of racism.

      Can we ever get over that? Only when we're all beige.

      Delete
  24. We have lost our sense of humor in the last 40 years. It is truly a shame.

    Yes, we have sanitized our societal speech. But, at what cost.

    Jobs lost?

    Absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm concerned they fired the intern at the NTSB. I've spoken to several interns in large non profits or similar government agencies, and almost every day they receive stupid calls that are obviously pranks. Tired of them, they answer with, yeah, yes, now go away and leave me alone.

    It was such an obvious prank, they likely just said yes, not knowing was a real question.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, prank or not -- KTVU failed at attorney bullying in an effort to scrub the video from YouTube after several hours. It's back up on YouTube and now ... with many more "versions" of the gaffe than ever.

    One can fight City Hall and corporate trial lawyers. Thanks, YouTube, for doing the right thing and reposting the post(s).

    Rich - choose a side and stick with it. At first, you blamed the KTVU staffers, even posting a picture of the producer in chage, with speculation.

    Now, you sound like it's hypocricacy that they were all fired.

    Nice video picture of you, also, on YouTube from a "friend" of yours who claimed that you "broke the story" about KTVU. Congratulations, Rich.

    Keep using that Twitter and prattling on about crap you keep digging and digging for. Now, you're a YouTube star, too!

    Bruce LaMonte
    Santa Cruz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angry much? Rich has done a tremendous job uncovering details that we all want to know.

      If you aren't interested in this information then don't post on this blog.

      How's Santa Cruz Bruce? is the weather 20 degrees cooler than walnut creek?

      Delete
  27. Tasteless? Yes. Racist? Probably? Funny, I haven't laughed that hard since George Carlin (RIP) passed.

    ReplyDelete