WCCO Duck Dog: Asian American Journalists Association demands apology from CBS Chief Diversity Officer Josie Thomas
The Asian American Journalists Association is demanding an apology from CBS corporate in the wake of affiliate WCCO's admission that it botched the October 31 story that has become popularly known as "Duck/Dog."
"We were disturbed by an Oct. 31 broadcast by your Minneapolis affiliate, WCCO, in which its I-TEAM reported about an alleged Minnesota "puppy mill" sending dogs to a Chinatown meat market in New York City. The report was false and helped perpetuate harmful stereotypes of Asian Americans," reads the letter. "WCCO should be embarrassed for its mistake."
But that's not all. The AAJA also takes the station to task for its prolonged silence in the wake of the wrong report.
The AAJA won't let CBS forget the Duck/Dog story.
Josie Thomas, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
c/o CBS Corp.
51 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
Dear Ms. Thomas:
We were disturbed by an Oct. 31 broadcast by your Minneapolis affiliate, WCCO, in which its I-TEAM reported about an alleged Minnesota "puppy mill" sending dogs to a Chinatown meat market in New York City. The report was false and helped perpetuate harmful stereotypes of Asian Americans. WCCO should be embarrassed for its mistake.
What the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) finds especially appalling is the lack of response from your affiliate. Our Minnesota chapter requested an explanation Nov. 8 and has yet to hear from the station. We seek a full accounting of what transpired and want assurances that WCCO - as part of the CBS Television Network - will address concerns that it failed its journalistic and community responsibilities.
Responsible reporting and fact checking could have prevented the error. The mistake stemmed from miscommunication during a call between WCCO reporter James Schugel and an employee at Dak Cheong Meat Market. There was confusion on both sides: The meat market employee thought Schugel said "duck," while Schugel concluded that the employee admitted to selling dog meat.
This incident underscores the reasons why AAJA continues to advocate the need for newsroom diversity, as well as fair, accurate and responsible portrayals of our communities in the news media. Looking at WCCO's roster of managers, we find the lack of diversity striking. WCCO would be well served by having staff that reflects its diverse community and who can help vet what goes on air.
We know mistakes happen, but we have yet to see an explanation from WCCO regarding Schugel's report. The station pulled the story from its website, but the damage is done.
We look forward to hearing from you, and we offer ourselves at AAJA MediaWatch as a resource for fair, accurate and responsible coverage of our communities.
Doris Truong, AAJA National President
George Kiriyama, AAJA Vice President for Broadcast
Bobby Caina Calvan and Jam Sardar, AAJA MediaWatch Co-Chairs
Tom Horgen and Emma Carew Grovum, AAJA-Minnesota Co-Presidents
cc: Mike Nelson, Vice President of Communications, CBS Television Stations
Mike Caputa, News Director, WCCO
Brien Kennedy, Vice President and General Manager, WCCO
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