Chgo. Sun-Times Apologize Over ‘Racist’ Asiana Airlines Crash Headline

The Chicago Sun-Times has apologized for a headline pun reporting on the Asiana 214 airliner crash that seemed racist to some Asians.


The Sunday Sun-Times Front Page

Asiana flight 214 crashed in San Francisco on Saturday, June 6, but in its front page report on the crash, the Chicago Sunday Sun-Times blared a headline that read “FRIGHT 214.”

The Asian American Journalists Association was not amused by the play on words wondering if the Sun-Times understood that changing the “L” in “FLIGHT” to an “R” could easily be perceived as a play on the stereotypical difficulty of some Asians to pronounce the letter “L.”

“While we at the Asian American Journalists Association are willing to give the Sun-Times the benefit of the doubt, the headline used to accompany the paper’s coverage was certainly unfortunate. An editor should have caught the racially tinged wording,” said AAJA’s Bobby Calvan in a public post on the organization’s website.

The Sun-Times quickly apologized for the punny headline saying, “There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry.”

“We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing,” said the paper’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Jim Kirk.

While accepting the paper’s apology, the AAJA also complained of a lack of diversity in the media today.

“If the Sun-Times’ copy desk is like many others in newsrooms across the nation, it probably lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might have questioned the appropriateness of the headline,” the AAJA’s Calvan wrote.

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  • jim_m

    “If the Sun-Times’ copy desk is like many others in newsrooms across the
    nation, it probably lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might
    have questioned the appropriateness of the headline,”

    In other words it is probably as white as obama’s campaign headquarters, or MSNBC’s anchor line up and with all the intellectual diversity of a university faculty lounge.

  • Hank_M

    Good for the AAJA. Problem is they’re far too reasonable.

    If they had followed the lead of our other “aggrieved” minorities, they’d call for Kirk to be fired, they’d publish the names and addresses of everyone that contributed to this story, file lawsuits, call for boycotts and issue death threats. All in the name of tolerance of course.

    Instead they took the high road.

    • Brucehenry

      I agree.

      They pointed out that the headline could be perceived as offensive without actually taking offense and getting all upset. Win-win, as the Sun-Times maybe learned something.

      As you said, good for the AAJA.

  • Commander_Chico

    Pretty damn funny. Which is probably inappropriate for a story about those two poor girls dying on their way to an intensive English course.

    But accents are not an essential “racial” characteristic, so they are fair game to be made fun of. No different than mocking a New England accent, which Adam Sandler and the Farrelly brothers have made a career out of.

  • LiberalNightmare

    I thought it was funny before the racist angle was pointed out to me.
    Now I think its hilarious.

  • Paul Hooson

    I doubt this was meant to be racist, referring to the the fright caused onboard the doomed flight – However, I do offer this joke in offensive substitution here: An Asian woman goes to an opthamologist. He tells her, “You have a bad cataract”. She replies, “Oh no, have good Rincoln Continental!: You don’t have to thank me. I just do the Lord’s work!

    • Commander_Chico

      Reminds me of a time I’m in my car with this black woman, and Red Red Wine comes on the radio.

      So I say “UB 40,” and she says “No, I’m 38.”

      • Paul Hooson

        Love this! Good one, Chico!

  • afcgeo

    Hey, let’s change the English language to eliminate the possibility of every possible play on words that anyone could be sensitive to OR… maybe we could just focus on fighting ACTUAL racism. Nah… that wouldn’t make headlines.

  • Blue Collar Muse

    **sigh** I saw the headline and immediately thought of the fear people experienced on the plane. Despite being warned by the headline, I could not see a racist angle to the headline.

    It was not until I actually READ the post that I figured it out. Then it made sense. I’m “experienced” enough to understand the “L” – “R” thing.

    But here’s the problem. The AAJA says “An editor should have caught the racially tinged wording” Why? Are they saying they WANT people to be so experienced with racism that they see it easily? And that the mere possibility is sufficient to justify the charge?

    To the point where the headline which ISN’T racist really was but the benevolent victims “give the benefit of the doubt” to ignorant dweebs who aren’t sufficiently sensitive to the POSSIBILITY of racism. It hurts just THINKING like that.

    I thought the idea was to ELIMINATE racism, not promote it. The headline and play on fear is both legitimate and applicable. The editors didn’t see racism. Neither did I.

    BECAUSE WE AREN’T LOOKING FOR IT OR PRACTICING IT! I fear that, just as the old saw goes that the American Cancer Society will never willingly find a cure for cancer because what will they do for a living, then – so it goes with racism.

    People who have a vested interest in the existence of racism to maintain or acquire power and influence have little incentive to actually effectively combat it, let alone beat it. All their effort goes into finding it.

    This has gotten so bad that I am just about to the point of, whenever I hear someone calling something or someone “racist,” assuming the person doing the naming is the actual racist.

    /rant off

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      Ayup.

  • Constitution First

    Progressives hate Asians. They are the one immigrant population who don’t jump the borders, automatically latch onto welfare and social programs, refuse to speak the language or demand we honor their culture. Instead they learn they language, obey the laws, go to school, work like the immigrants of old, like our grandparents did when they first came here. They out-work, out-think, out-behave all the boader-jumpers (read: potential new Democrat voters). Given Asians hard work ethic and family values, they will likely be conservative voters.
    So, of course the Progressives hate Asians.

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