The Wall Street Journal has a follow-up to a Chinese state media article we linked to yesterday, in which a South Korean broadcaster, while trying to express relief that the two girls who died on Asiana flight 214 from Shanghai to San Francisco via Seoul were not Korean (as if nationality matters in these tragedies), used utterly regretful phrasing.
Here’s Yoon Kyung-min, presenter of Channel A’s Sunday news show, as translated by WSJ:
“We just received an update that the two dead are assumed to be Chinese….We can say it is a relief at least for us,” Channel A presenter Yoon Kyung-min said on a news broadcast for the cable news channel on Sunday.
“Us”? South Korean news couldn’t possibly be more nationalistic than Chinese news, could it? We found the video above, for those who speak Korean. (Perhaps you can also help us answer the preceding question.)
Meanwhile, as Korean viewers expressed their discontent (“If it had been China who made such a comment, [Korean internet users] would have probably started an online war against China”), Korean media went into spin control as it emphasized the crew’s rescue efforts while deemphasizing the fact that pilot error likely caused the crash. According to WSJ, “Only one major South Korean daily prominently raised the question of potential pilot error in the crash, with a headline on its front page that read: ‘Pilot of Crashed Plane Only Had 43 Hours of Flight Experience on B777.’”
Channnel A did apologize for Yoon’s comments though… sort of. In a released statement, it said:
“The comment was made to emphasize the fact that there is no Korean dead in the accident, which is a relief for us. We apologize for not running the live show smoothly.”
Meanwhile, here are the two Chinese hosts of the talk show Shuo Tian Xia (说天下, Talk Under Heaven) rebuking Yoon:
You might think a Chinese broadcaster calling out any journalist is a pretty extreme case of pot calling the kettle black, but I’m with them on this one. You have to be awfully stupid to say what Yoon did on national TV, especially right after a tragedy. Nationalism has no place here.
Newscaster’s Comments Spur Anger (Korea Realtime)
UPDATE, 9:16 pm: China’s CNTV getting into the act:
“Lives have the same value no matter what nationalities they are. Reports can’t be like that. The reporter might have made a mistake during an emergency report,” a South Korean journalist said.
“The nationalities of the victims are not important. We should feel sympathy while reporting such accidents. No matter if it’s a mistake, reporters should be very careful while reporting such sensitive issues.”