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So, within 30 seconds of the crash of Asiana flight 214 at SFO, there was a photo of it posted on Twitter.

Almost as quickly, the mainstream media jumped on the theory that the crash occurred because of the Korean tradition of unwillingness to question authority. The theory posited that surely one of the co-pilots noticed that the flight was coming in too low and too slow, but they were reluctant to point this out to the pilot in command.

What they were struggling with was a cultural legacy, that Korean culture is hierarchical. You are obliged to be deferential toward your elders and superiors in a way that would be unimaginable in the U.S. But Boeing and Airbus design modern, complex airplanes to be flown by two equals. That works beautifully in low-power-distance cultures [like the U.S., where hierarchies aren’t as relevant]. But in cultures that have high power distance, it’s very difficult.

But karma works in ironic ways. Earlier today, SF Bay Area TV station KTVU reported that they had learned the names of the pilots on that flight, and then – with a straight face – read the names out loud on the air. Watch it:

So now I’m waiting for all those mainstream media outlets to print stories about how this appalling on-air screwup happened because journalists in America are hierarchical and unwilling to question their superiors. After all, surely somebody noticed that these names are racist jokes, but they must have been reluctant to point this out to their bosses.

Am I the only person who noticed the irony of this situation?

Well, I guess I must be wrong. After all, the Supreme Court recently ruled that racism isn’t a factor in America any more.



  1. Duckman wrote:

    The unwillingness is a fascinating thing to read about. A book called Outliers goes over it a good bit. Great stuff

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 3:16 am | Permalink
  2. Richard wrote:

    Brilliant post. Well done.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 4:40 am | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    I never laughed so hard in my life. It may be just prank by high school or college kids. I think the reporter did not get it, otherwise she may have questioned it.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    LMFAO Are you kidding me??? No one read that out loud before they went on air? I’m posting this on Facebook! My step son was a producer on a local news cast and joked how they they would mess with the arrogant news readers.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  5. westomoon wrote:

    Man, how’d we get so stupid so fast?

    We’re not embarrassed about it, either. This makes me sad.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:
    Craig Ferguson explains how we got so stupid so fast.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    That just can’t be real. It has to be from some comedy show, because no body can be that much of an idiot. Or it was a set up like Dan said. But I guess those interns should be careful because the big ego’s tend to break big too and you don’t want to push someone over the edge.

    Monday, July 15, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Asiana Airline has announced that they are going to sue the TV station —

    Monday, July 15, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Thats how you deal with poor journalism and idiocy. Good for them!

    Monday, July 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  10. Egypt Today wrote:

    “Protection” launches campaigns to mandate and support of the army and police against terrorism
    Egypt News – Hamouda fullAnnounced Youth Movement Protection launched a public campaign called “mandate” to support the army and police against terrorism, let the campaign of Egyptian citizens LaSalle cable through the..

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
  11. html>

    Moses didn't return quickly enough from Mount Sinai and so the Jews made a golden calf to worship as their new leader. That made the Lord want to destroy the Jewish people, but Moses interceded…….Red more:

    Friday, July 26, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink