ABC station mocked for head-scratching mix-up, Katie Couric apologizes for angering the Dutch

Olympics-PFChang
Mark Rivera, a news anchor for an ABC affiliate in Chicago, reports on the Olympics, unaware that the graphic behind him replaced Pyeongchang with P.F. Chang’s.

Pyeongchang, the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics, is a county in the Taebaek Mountains region of South Korea, located 110 miles east of Seoul. P.F. Chang is an Asian restaurant chain with more than 210 locations, including spots in Collegeville, Glen Mills and the Plymouth Meeting Mall.

So how did an ABC affiliate in Chicago confuse the two?

Over the weekend, ABC7 in Chicago apologized for replacing “Pyeongchang 2018” with “P.F. Chang 2018” in a graphic that was displayed behind weekend anchor Mark Rivera during a report about the Olympics.

As P.F. Chang tweeted, the restaurant chain is not hosting the Winter Olympics.

According to a spokeswoman for the station, the graphic was created for a “satirical piece” involving sports anchor Mark Giangreco, but was inadvertently used during a straight news piece about the the diplomatic relationship between North Korea and South Korea read on air by Rivera.

Many pundits, including New York Times sports columnist Juliet Macur, were unsatisfied by the station’s explanation.

“Someone at an ABC affiliate mixed up Pyeongchang with P.F. Chang because P.F. Chang was going to be used for a satirical piece?’ Sorry, unacceptable,” Macur wrote on Twitter. “Someone should lose his job for this.”

Neither the station nor Giangreco have responded to a request for comment.

The mixup is just the latest in a series of errors that have befallen news organizations covering this year’s Winter Olympics.

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Katie Couric blasted for Dutch skating comment

During Friday’s opening ceremony, NBC host Katie Couric insulted many Dutch viewers and Olympians by suggesting that the success of the country’s speed skaters in the Olympics was due to their ability to use frozen canals in Holland as a mode of transportation.

“For as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun,” Couric said.

“Just like most Latvians use a bobsleigh to get to work & Austrian kids ski jump to school,” the Dutch Olympic committee’s Thomas van Scheik responded on Twitter.

The Netherlands’ Embassy in the United States issued a friendlier response, inviting Couric to the visit the country to see “all the innovative ways the Dutch get around.”

Couric seemed to take the criticism in stride, apologizing for her mistake and congratulating the country on its gold medal count (four as of Tuesday morning).

NBC apologizes for South Korea-Japan remark

Couric’s slip-up wasn’t the only mistake during NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony. The network apologized after temporary analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo said South Koreans viewed Japan “as a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

In fact, Japan’s harsh occupation of the Korean Peninsula continues to be a source of anger and resentment. As the New York Times reported, prior to the start of the Olympics, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s refusal to apologize further for the brutal history of forcing Korean women to work in military brothels during World War II nearly jeopardized his attendance at the opening ceremony.

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NBC anchor Carolyn Manno shared a statement from the network during Saturday’s coverage that said, “We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.” An NBC spokesman said Ramo’s assignment ended with the opening ceremony, and he won’t appear again during the network’s Olympics coverage.

Kim Yo-jong headlines draw criticism

CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post also faced significant criticism on social media over their headlines about Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was a polarizing presence as part of the country’s delegation in Pyeongchang.

Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics” read CNN’s headline, while the New York Times’ headline read, “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns On the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.” Even Fox News referred to her as “Kim Jong Un’s Ivanka” in a headline.

The articles themselves featured reporting and analysis that was more nuanced than the headlines suggested. For instance, CNN’s story referred to Kim Jong Un as a “brutal dictator” who operated “Nazi-style prison camps,” and the Times offered an insightful analysis of how Kim Yo-jong managed to upstage Vice President Mike Pence among South Koreans.

But that didn’t matter to readers who saw the headlines flash across their screens and quickly slammed the news organizations for playing into North Korea’s propaganda game.

“I am deeply saddened by how my profession has normalized and glamorized this murderous regime,” CNN contributor and New York Post columnist Salena Zito wrote on Twitter. “And then we wonder why no one trusts us.”

“Think about the headline from the Washington Post: Ivanka Trump of North Korea?” complained Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth.

Even CNN’s Jake Tapper weighed in on the glowing headlines and coverage that Kim Yo-jong and the North Korean delegation were receiving online.