Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I Have Written Extensively About The KTVU Mistake From Hell

I'm getting heat from some of you, (and presumably a few TV Execs and industry people), for writing extensively about the KTVU-Asiana Airline gaffe. A few have said I'm pouncing on the station and piling on. Let me address this head on.

prgrsvimghttp://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5009921503069668&w=103&h=103&c=8&pid=3.1&qlt=90From the very start, I praised KTVU's coverage. I think Frank Somerville was terrific on the air and I had him on my radio show the following Monday.

I try to be fair. Really, I do. I know mistakes are made every day; God knows I've made a few myself. It's called life. And I readily acknowledge that there's an awful lot of very good people at KTVU that are miserable over what has transpired since this very humiliating affair took place. Unfortunately, they are in the minority.

KTVU, in my opinion, has handled this whole mess in a less-than-admirable manner. It all starts at the top. Both GM, Tom Raponi, and News Director, Lee Rosenthal, are good guys and respected around the industry; there is no argument there. Frankly though, they've been terrible in handling the matter since. Limp apologies and trying diligently to erase the embarrassing video from the Internet is hardly the action of people in the top department to handle something like this. Granted, THIS is the mother of all gaffes; an indelible act of severe brain fart-itus that will forever be ingrained with KTVU's brand.

But KTVU had a chance to fix this; albeit with the notoriety attached to it because IT happened in the era of Twitter and Social Media, which of course scooped all of this up like chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream. If anything, it's Social Media that pounced on KTVU. And given the act of seeing Tori Campbell read those names, who the hell WOULDN'T have? Not this day and age.

The simple truth is that KTVU owes more to ITS VIEWERS, ITS STAFF, to GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. Reputations are on the line. Credibility too. KTVU used to be the NY Yankees of the TV News business. Its stellar reporting and vaunted newscasts were not only the Gold Standard for the Bay Area TV News community but indeed the nation. That, in and of itself, speaks to why so many people reacted with such utter amazement and befuddlement over the entire episode. That tainted residue still exists and it's not just me perpetuating it.

I have a lot of friends over at KTVU; reporters, anchors and the like and I know this is a most difficult time. THEY have to live with this mark on their professional career, and none of them had anything to do with this. Given that, it's even more unfortunate that their bosses have managed to make ALL of THIS worse. In fact, the whole matter has OVERSHADOWED the jet crash story itself; how bad is that?

I hope KTVU and Cox Media gets to the bottom of this. Better yet, I hope those at the top are more accountable and open. Hiding and cowering; placing gag orders on your staff; trying to remove videos from the Internet is not only bad policy, it simply doesn't work. Moreover, it makes KTVU look petty and bush league. And that's not good for Cox, for KTVU, and most importantly, its viewers.

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70 comments:

  1. The sad thing is in this culture people care for a bit then they forget. No one remember anything anymore or they are more concerned about the latest Weiner texting scandal.

    Heck I've almost forgotten about the whole thing because it was so last week. I guess that's the way we are nowadays.

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  2. We get it, you want heads to roll and KTVU to apologize forever.
    Get over it.
    This isn't one of the Holocausts, slavery or 9/11.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's obvious that you are not a journalist.

      Why? Because it's a profession that is based on exposing the truth.

      For those of us who make no money, traveling from city to city, working a million hours a week, it's because we believe that readers and viewers should know the truth.

      It's a noble profession and what kills me is that this station spits in the face of what journalists do---we demand answers, we want facts, because the PUBLIC has the right to know.

      This station has cowered, issued a gag order on its own staff, demanded videos be pulled from YOUTUBE, and they blame it on an investigation that is pending.

      That's crap. KTVU says, trust us. How can we when you won't reveal the truth and you are journalists?

      This may be lost on people who feel that, hey, they apologized, let's move on.

      No, the viewers deserve answers and so does the industry.

      Until then, they will get no respect.



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    2. Uh,I have TRIED my BEST to report on this. If you fault me, I respectfully disagree. Maybe you have higher standards than I do.

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    3. It's obvious that Lieberman is not a journalist. He is creating a story, not reporting one. He is fanning the dying flames of this controversy and trying to create a fire storm.

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    4. To 8:31, it is obvious that you are not a journalist either, instead a person suffering from the martyr syndrome with a flair for hyperbole.

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    5. wrong 8:31.

      I'm a reporter who believes in not ducking and hiding when you become the story.

      what's your excuse for being ignorant?

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    6. hey 9:46,

      thanks for offering your armchair psychiatry...

      Delete
    7. 8:10 AM "This isn't one of the Holocausts, slavery or 9/11."
      So it doesn't matter to the 30% of Asian Americans and their countless non-Asian family and friends in the Bay Area huh? I'm sure if someone were to make fun of the Holocaust, Lee Rosenthal would dedicate every second of every broadcast to revealing and shaming the culprits, and then that would be perfectly fine with you right?

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    8. I appreciate this blogs determined manner on this subject.


      Why can't we get the name of that "summer intern" the NTSB apologized for, uh-emmmm...I'm sure they're hangin out on some grassy knoll somewhere, texting sweet nothings to the person they were linked to at KNTV...


      ohps...did I say that out loud?


      Delete
  3. Yes, you have written too much about this. When you say "get to the bottom of this," you mean talk about it forever.

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    1. Hey, if it's too tedious, then it might be wise for you to not read my site. THIS is a BIG industry story, (still); sorry to have ruined your day.

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    2. 8:43: I have a different point of view.
      Other than initially trying to place the blame on an NTSB Intern, KTVU has never offered any explanation as to HOW this happened.
      Who wrote the original, offending, story?
      How many layers of editors and other newsroom employees did it pass through before it went on the air?
      Who loaded it into the teleprompter?
      And why, for crying out loud, did the anchor continue to read what were obviously bogus names after articulating the first one or two?
      These are all fair questions that KTVU has failed to address.
      By stonewalling KTVU is creating a situation where Rich, and others in the media, will continue to focus on this embarrassing incident in an effort to find answers that KTVU should have already provided.
      The station is an excellent news station, and this incident was not in keeping with their usual high standards, which is exactly why myself, and other viewers would like to know WTF happened, and if we can trust the station in the future.
      Like it or not, KTVU has now crossed the line from reporting news to BEING the news. While I do not always agree with Rich, he is 100% right to keep dogging this story. That's what media critics do.
      But yeah, it's gotta really suck to work at KTVU these days. But employee anger should be directed at the people responsible for the problem, and management's poor follow-up, and not those who point out the ongoing poor performance.

      Delete
    3. What is it that you conspiracy lunatics think happened here?

      All these insane suggestions about top management deliberately being behind this are an insult to any IQ over 90.

      What could possibly be "at the bottom of all this" that demands all this attention? Lieberman's indignation is laughable.

      Delete
  4. "In fact, the whole matter has OVERSHADOWED the jet crash story itself; how bad is that?"

    Only here at your site, where you have flogged this story shamelessly. No one else would claim this matter has overshadowed the jet crash.

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    1. Get your head out of the sand and get serious! "ONLY HERE?" Google: "KTVU Asiana Gaffe". I rest my case but nice try.

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    2. REALLY? Go to http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/218784/ktvu-tv-meets-with-aaja-following-slip-up/

      That's a respected authority that doesn't share your one-sided agenda, see what they have to say.

      Of course you will censor this because basically you are fomenting this story and don't want real facts to get in the way.

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    3. It's ridiculous to suggest KTVU/namegate overshadows the jet crash. How could anyone make such a crazy claim?

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    4. Yes agreed, for readers of this blog the coverup does overshadow the story of the fatal jet crash. For the remainder of the world, the suggestion is INSANE.

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    5. @9:26AM REALLY? "...Go to http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/218784/ktvu-tv-meets-with-aaja-following-slip-up/..."
      not so fast! Go to the AAJA.org website and read the full interview, not just one small clip. The members state clearly that Tom Raponi And Lee Rosenthal are withholding key information from them. All the thanks and high fives are only because the people at AAJA are professional and aren't willing to offend anyone(like Asian culture), unlike some other news groups.

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  5. I find myself in agreement with you Rich. That is not the norm. As you said, everyone can and will in stumble life. How you handle that stumble (stand tall, brush off and move on, or slither away, pretend it didn't happen and let no one talk about it)might be a good way to determine your character. Right now KTVU's character appears to be lacking.

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  6. Rich it was and still is... a huge F-Up. Keep digging. Haven't heard a thing about Janice S. Gin the Associate News Director who's last ( don't let your ass hit the door ) day was that morning. She did it for spite, or knows who did.

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    Replies
    1. Nobody I've spoke to says Janice Gin had anything to do with this. I agree.

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    2. @9:03 Janice wasn't even there on her "last day." Her real last day at KTVU was about a week before the announced date on that press release. If you don't know what you're talking about, don't try to throw someone else under the bus.

      Delete
  7. Are you an asshole?

    You are if you don't give a person a chance to redeem themselves after a mistake by making things right.

    Some folks here put 2 in the damned if they do & damned if they don't box with no way out.

    Me? I couldn't care less about 2 or the gaffe. The tori story ended with the apology/clarification.

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    Replies
    1. do you have class?

      that's rhetorical.

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    2. 9:14 AM you just don't get it.

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    3. I get it just fine thank you.

      There was a prank, they fell for it, they apologized for the gaffe, and then the sun set. Many days have since passed and the world has not ended.

      Frankly, if I wanted to hand wring over something, I'd want names and consequences for the bridge fiasco or Bengahzi. NSA spying inside the borders or IRS shennanigans...we should be in the streets flipping cars over in response.

      I wouldn't be surprised if rich were planting all the comments himself, just to make a name for himself at the expense of cox media. Your concerns are stupid and "high schoolish". Don't be an ass hole.

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    4. You haven't gotten over the fact that Romney lost, have you?

      You don't get ANYTHING. I thought you were delusional while reading your first post. Your second post confirmed it.

      P.S. I'm not Rich.

      Delete
  8. I think you basically have it right. KTVU should have apologized, layed out the facts/sequence of events that led to the gaffe and let the world know a thorough investigation with transparency would take place immediately. I have not seen nor heard anything like previous mentioned yet..

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  9. The original mistake was one thing, but the attempt to 1984 it by ordering a YouTube takedown, compounded by corporate duck and cover, is foolish and counter-productive in the extreme. KTVU and Cox are giving crisis management trainers a real world example of what not to do.

    Rich is correct in that the original apology by Frank Sommerville was a great start, but the station shot itself in the foot with the ham-handed actions that followed. All of that deserved reporting.

    I disagree with the "heads must roll" solution, though. The underlying problem may have been that the noon show was understaffed. Not enough people may have had their eyes on the copy, or the few people who did may have been overworked.

    The 10 o'clock show has what resources there are. The other shows have to make do. The immediate and long-term solution is to hire more people, not fire the ones who are already there.

    KTVU apparently believes the 10 o'clock show's reputation as the gold standard will rub off on the other shows. To some extent they're right, but it's a two-way street.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Hiding and cowering; placing gag orders on your staff; trying to remove videos from the Internet is not only bad policy, it simply doesn't work."

    It didn't work too well for Richard Nixon, either...

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  11. Russomanno's comment is insightful and balanced. The Somerville apology was fine, but upper management's attempt to duck and cover undermines the sincerity of the Somerville apology on behalf of KTVU.

    Also, there are some demographic groups that still do care.

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  12. Stay on it Rich. Journalists hold others accountable and if KTVU isn't going to fess up someone needs to hold them accountable. They brought it on with ND Rosenthal's over the top self promotion. That's distasteful. They have yet to say who their "source" was or how the story got on the air. That's dishonest. And then they try to sweep the video under the rug with a bogus copyright claim. That's disgraceful.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Rich Lieberman is NOT a journalist, this is a gossip column. Lieberman does not have a jot of journalism training nor does he publish news.

      If he actually believes he's a journalist practicing journalism, I'd enjoy hearing his explanation about training and qualifications.

      Delete
    2. I do submit you are a pompous ass-this much is evident. Yeah, I'm NOT a **Journalist**, and you're Maureen Dowd.


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    3. Thank you, agreed then, Rich Lieberman is not a journalist.

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    4. @real journalist Great, since you are a REAL journalist, let's see your REAL NAME???? Rich has his name posted for all to see.... Let's read some of YOUR articles, see how much journalistic ability YOU have. If it's anything like the REAL journalist at KTVU, you can save all of us a lot of time and just admit you're Tom Raponi and you suck.

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    5. @real journalist 11:21AM We are all still waiting on your real name. Maybe a link to one of your past articles? Waiting........

      Delete
  13. ho lee fuk sum ting wong with ktvu

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  14. Sorry haters, it's STILL being talked about in newsrooms, extended Bay Area media circles, national websites and national media blogs. THIS is a "Media Blog" and KTVU is a MAJOR story. What, you people want to hear more about Gary Radnich and irrelevant radio? Get over it. I guarantee this story is bringing RL boat-loads of traffic. Shit, I can't stand the guy but I come here every day now to hear the latest on KTVU's epic fail.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. @10:09 "I come here every day now to hear the latest on KTVU's epic fail."

      Me too!

      Delete
    2. @10:09 "I come here every day now to hear the latest on KTVU's epic fail."

      Me too!

      You can count me in also!

      Delete
  15. Once again, lots of blathering, short on specifics. You don't say what KTVU "owes"? An apology and correction? They did that. A detailed revelation of how their newsroom works? Not your business, asshole. What else? Money? Do you want financial compensation? Do you want more fodder for your stupid I-want-a-job-in-shock-jock-radio blog? They're not going to help you. No wonder so many legit news people in the business are avoiding you. Even Frank regrets talking to you now, though he's too much of a gentleman to say so. Notice how so many people aren't around when you call?

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    1. Hey, asshole...I put MY NAME behind what I SAY...I know you work at KTVU and your MO which is as pathetic as you are. ID yourself and don't HIDE behind the curtain. It's not my fault you work over there and fucked up, macho soul.

      COWARD.

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    2. @11:23 OK ok Lee, you can shut up now. YOU RUINED THE STATION, not Mr. Lieberman! Do you feel the pressure now? He stated many times and very clearly what the station owes, you just choose to not hear it. The only reason Frank or anyone at the station would have reservations about talking is because YOU, Tom and the Black Suits are threatening every employee in the station! Tread lightly Lee, remember, they filed a freedom of information act with the NTSB. If something in writing comes out, you betta pray.....

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    3. 11:33: "A detailed revelation of how their newsroom works? Not your business, asshole. "

      Actually, you with the 4th grade vocabulary, this IS the business of any consumer of KTVU's news.
      They present their product for public consumption, and the public has every right to demand accountability regarding such a huge screw-up.
      Or perhaps they KTVU no longer cares about it's credibility, which has taken a bit hit?

      Delete
    4. Sadly the fox network says what ever they want every day and provide no accountability for what they create or make up......Tom

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    5. Seriously people this is ridiculous. Why do you care HOW this happened. It did and KTVU has apologized for it over and over and over again. Just get over it already. So annoying...

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  16. re: Anonymous @ 11:23 and 11:44, seems that we can have a civil discourse full of disagreement. Why the name calling?

    I don;t know if Anonymous @ 11:23 and 11:44 works for KTVU. But that sort of behavior casts a shadow on KTVU, even if undeserved.

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  17. KTVU Management: What's really disgusting to me is the way you guys, instead of revealing the truth like real journalists are supposed to do, you are here bashing those of us who want more answers. You mock us as if we are the ones with the problems because we won't move on. Well let me tell you, we won't move on until you give us these answers or the responsible party is terminated.

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  18. KTVU just doesn't get it. Wait until CCTV China State Broadcaster gets ahold of this story. ANYONE and ANYTHING that is remotely affiliated with KTVU, products and companies alike, will be banned in China by the Communist Party. This could potentially be devastating for companies associated with KTVU if said companies have business in China.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FYI, China and South Korea are neighboring countries, not the same country. Also, one is a democracy...guess which one.

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    2. @3:35PM FYI, the girls that died and countless others that are now PARAPLEGICS in the hospital are Chinese, from China. So for KTVU to make fun of these people (using Chinese surnames no less) has a great deal to do with CCTV China's interests. Keep bobb'in and weav'in Lee, your gonna get caught on the chin soon.

      Delete
  19. TV news managers are to journalism what cigarette executives are to healthy living. At the end of the day, TV news is a business. Local fires, car accidents, and shootings are the product. TV managers are not journalists, they're business people. They only care about their bottom line, not transparency.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Interesting 1:37. Since 1:11 was asking for more information on the bridge fiasco, Benghazi, NSA and IRS he must be a disillusioned Republican? So should I conclude that true committed Democrats who support President Obama don't give a sh*t about any of that? If so, this country truly is going into the toilet.

    PS I am a registered independent and voted for Obama.

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  21. I am new to this blog and I can't help but laugh.

    Lee Rosenthal was fired from Columbus way back when because he was a nightmare executive producer who divided the newsroom.

    When he got fired, he had a going away party. No one showed up.

    This is just way too funny...he hasn't changed a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. including the General Manager who fired him? You're funny Lee...

      A sad guy...

      Delete
  22. I was at Lee's going away party in Columbus -- every manager, every main anchor and most key newsroom personnel was there, so you're a liar. Lee pushes hard - some people like it, some don't, that's the way it is, as it is with most managers in all jobs in life.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lee. Great spin

      Delete
  23. Breaking news:

    YOUTUBE has the video back up, telling KTVU to pound sand.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rich, been reading your blog for awhile, and this is my first time commenting. I would encourage you to stay on this. This whole situation is so egregious and inexcusable, someone needs to get to the bottom of it.

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  25. Stay on them Rich. KTVU needs to spill the beans on how this transpired if they want a chance of having their credibility back.

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  26. Reading this blog off and on, I find the commentary on this KTVU thing interesting. As an Asian American, I probably have a bit of different view that the "journalists" and "media" folks here.

    I wasn't hugely "offended" or called this event "racist". However, I didn't think it was particularly funny either considering this was after an airplane crash. There are some comments from other that this isn't a "big deal". To Asian-Americans it is a big deal. There seems to be a tendency out there to make fun of Asians for their driving, language skills or even their names. If this were an African-American, we might have Jesse Jackson up in arms.

    And that leads to my second thought. I was curIous HOW this thing got to the newsroom? Even though I am not a media person, I work with enough marketing folks in my company (I work in a Sales support role) to know that anything that goes to the PUBLIC is scrubbed heavily.

    After all, this wasn't an off the cuff remark made by a celebrity. As someone noted, it was likely written, reviewed and then passed on through the ranks. How did this happen and NO ONE CAUGHT IT?

    Now it seems like there is things coming out with the firings. Personally, I don't even care that people are getting fired. I wanted to know the story and how KTVU was going to address this issue so it does not happen again.

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    Replies
    1. KTVU needs to get to the bottom of this and provide detail facts. If this was directed at African-Americans, there would be riots and KTVU would have been burnt down by now.

      Delete
  27. Thank you very much for this coverage, Mr. Lieberman.

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  28. Tom and Lee are respected? The only reason Tom is now the GM is because Tim took another position at cox. Ktvu was a much better station with Tim at the helm.

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    Replies
    1. Oh PLEASE!!! Tim McVay is as dumb as a post. He could never speak at station meetings without his 3x5 index cards. All he ever did was what Atlanta and the Magid consultants told him to do. He was a spineless puppet! Give me Raponi any day!

      Delete
  29. and Lee rosenfuck went out to exploit the homeless to see if they can sing on American idol in Indianapolis.

    he exploited the homeless.

    he blamed the reporter but ask anyone at wxin in indy, it was his idea.

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