Fox News Thinks Tibetans & South Koreans Are Interchangeable, Apparently

You work in cable news, you're running a little short on B-roll footage, so what do you do? As PolicyMic observed Monday, it's possible that Fox News presented Tibetans as Koreans during an April segment covering South Korea's tragic, lethal ferry crash. PolicyMic suggests that the footage, which was shown absent any sound or identification, may have been taken in the aftermath of a devastating avalanche on Mt. Everest on April 18, which killed 16 sherpas, the deadliest single day on record in Everest's history.

Staff from the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles have reached out to Fox News, demanding an explanation for the snafu. One letter from the staff member, Rick Phillips, was sent on behalf of the Korean Consulate, but even then, no official response has been given.

This wouldn't be the first time that Fox News has botched some B-roll footage. But the distinctly racial aspect of this — the seeming assumption that one Asian population can't be told apart from another, wrapped up in the reporting of two staggering human tragedies, takes this a step past embarrassment.

It'll be curious to see how Fox responds, if at all. The network has offered apologies for some video-related mishaps in the past — most notably when they accidentally aired a live feed of a police suspect committing suicide — but on matters of misleading B-roll they tend to keep things a bit more mum. In 2011, during a Bill O'Reilly segment about the battle between pro-union activists and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, they notably used footage of violent clashes filmed all the way over in California.

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That, however, was an issue of political distortion, not a racial insensitivity, and it was about the battle over union rights — an absolutely vital, crucial struggle for American workers, to be sure, but lacking the grave emotional impact of either the story of the massive Everest avalanche, or the awful ferry crash.

Unless Fox does respond in a way satisfying to the Asian community, and its viewership writ large, this incident seems to have disrespected both tragedies all at once.

Image: Fox News