Rick Phillips of the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles has sent three letters to Fox News with a question about a news segment regarding the sinking of a ferry in South Korea, which left about 260 dead.

Like other outlets, Fox rushed to document the ins and outs of the accident, including the mourners who lost loved ones. On April 25, the Korean Cultural Center, an auxiliary of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, got a call from a Korean reporter for a Los Angeles TV station, asking whether they’d seen this footage. Phillips had a look. His reaction: “I lived in Korea for five years and I was just like, ‘Wow, man, I have no idea why they’re doing this,’ ” he says. “They used footage of random sad Asians instead of going to Korea.” The blog IamKoream.com picked up the story.

Here’s a screenshot of a woman in the Fox News report (Note: The link to the video now redirects to another story):


(Fox News screenshot)

And here’s an Associated Press photo of someone who looks a lot like that woman (passed along by Phillips):


AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

That woman is grieving another tragedy altogether — an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 16 Sherpa guides. “You show that to any sort of Korean immigrant who lives in the United States, and they’ll say those aren’t Koreans,” says Phillips.

In his letter to Fox News, Phillips wrote, “[W]e strongly believe that the people in the video are not Korean and the place where the video was filmed is not in Korea as well. This is based not only on a strong cultural intuition about the appearance of the people but also the architecture of the buildings in the background. And we have received comments about the video from the Korean communities in the United States. The commonality of the remarks and complaints we have heard and read is the denial that the people in the video are not Koreans and the country in which they are in is not Korea.”

Correct: Fox News today confirmed the screw-up to the Erik Wemple Blog. “The wrong video was mistakenly pulled from the international feed. We regret this error and have corrected the footage online and will address it on air, as well,” says David Clark, Fox News’s executive producer for weekend news and programming. Indeed, file this one in the category of innocent broadcasting errors — mourning over the April 16 ferry accident and the April 18 Mount Everest avalanche was happening concurrently.

A Fox News spokeswoman says the network was unaware of any complaints about the report.

 

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.