Top 5 Funniest Media Blunders
5 KTVU Fake Pilot Names
On July 6, 2013, Asiana Flight 214 crashed at the San Francisco International Airport. News station KTVU obtained what they believed to be the pilot’s names. Turns out the offensive names were a prank, but unfortunately for the KTVU staff, no one realized it until it was too late. The names appeared on screen and were read by a straight-faced news anchor. No one had the common sense to realize that the names, “Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow” were not real names. The newscast went viral and resulted in the firing of KTVU news producers.
4 Satellite Interview In Same Parking Lot
To discuss a horrific kidnapping case in Cleveland, Ohio, CNN reporter Ashleigh Banfield conducted a live satellite interview with the queen of “if it bleeds it leads” news coverage, Nancy Grace of Headline News. Both anchors appeared side by side using a split screen. Oddly enough, the graphics indicated that both reporters were in the same city—Phoenix, Arizona—where a different criminal trial was taking place. Not only that, they were in the same parking lot only a few feet from each other. You could see the same cars passing by in the background behind each anchor, yet they pretended that that they were thousands of miles apart. Their actual proximity made the entire situation hilarious.
3 “Obama” Bin Laden’s Death
Local newscasts are frequently called out on the Internet for funny typos, but the funniest has to be the mashup of the names of the president of the United States and the world’s most wanted terrorist. In a rush to report that the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack—Osama bin Laden—had been killed under orders from President Barack Obama, Sacramento Fox affiliate FOX40 News ran this at the bottom of the screen: “Reports: Obama Bin Laden Dead.”
2 Kenneth Cole Cairo Tweet
In an attempt to be clever, the person behind the Twitter account for Kenneth Cole, an American apparel company, decided to make light of an explosive political situation in Egypt. In 2011, millions of protesters took to the streets of Cairo to oust longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. The hashtag #Cairo was used to bring awareness to the uprising, but Kenneth Cole used it as an opportunity to bring attention to its newest clothing line by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo.” As a result, the company suffered a huge backlash and was forced to make an apology.
1 Dewey Defeats Truman
Back before cable news would bring us 24-hour election night coverage and Wolf Blitzer interviewing holograms, the process of gathering election results was a slower process. Such was the case on November 2, 1948. There were not enough votes counted to predict a winner. Although Harry S. Truman was in the lead, radio reports predicted that late returns would deliver a victory to his opponent, Thomas E. Dewey. So the exasperated staff of the “Chicago Daily Tribune” decided to go with a headline that would go on to be one of the biggest newspaper mistakes of all time—”Dewey Defeats Truman.” Not only did Truman beat Dewey, but he spanked him with 303 electoral votes to Dewey’s 189. The error was a major embarrassment for the Tribune, which would be remembered forever thanks to a photograph of Truman holding up a picture of the paper—and laughing his butt off.