When it comes to the recent Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport, there’s good news and bad news, according to South Korean news anchor Yoon Kyung-min. The bad news: Two people died and scores were injured when a Boeing 777 arriving from Seoul slammed into a runway and caught fire. The good news: The dead weren’t Korean! Last week, while anchoring a live broadcast, Yoon said, “We just received an update that the two dead are assumed to be Chinese. . . . We can say it is a relief, at least for us.”
Yoon’s expression of “relief” spurred predictable outrage in China. But—semi-surprising, in a nation as nationalistic as Korea—many South Koreans were appalled as well. Thousands took to the web to blast Yoon, labeling him “ignorant” and “inhumane” and demanding he be fired. While The Scrapbook is ambivalent on Mr. Yoon’s future employment prospects . . . well, hey, at least this particular Twitter mob seemingly had its heart in the right place.
Yoon’s employer, South Korea’s Channel A, stood by Yoon, though it apologized . . . sort of. In a statement, the network said, “The comment was made to emphasize the fact that there is no Korean dead in the accident, which is a relief for us. We apologize for not running the live show smoothly.” Maybe that’s the Korean version of that classic American non-apology apology, “I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”