Thursday, May 27, 2010

ばか! George Stephanopoulos Historical Gaffe of the Week

Last night on ABC’s World News Tonight anchor George Stephanopoulos reported on the notable death of Medal of Honor recipient John William Finn who had past away today at the age of 100.
John William Finn had served in the U.S. Navy and was decorated for his valor under fire manning a machine gun from an exposed position despite being heavily wounded during the Japanese bombing at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Mr. Finn was the oldest Medal of Honor recipiant alive from WWII and the last from the attack on Pearl harbor.
By any means the passing of John Finn is a reminder of their struggle to defend their nation in a time of war as well as “The Greatest Generation’s” ever decreasing numbers. What was wrong with this report was in the erroneous statement made by Stephanopoulos in where he described John Finn as defending against “Kamikaze” attacks at Pearl Harbor. Uh George, there were no Kamikaze attacks or Kamikaze units in 1941. In fact there were no “Hotaru” Special Air Corps Units until late 1944. Now normally I would pass this off but what happens when a trusted name like George Stephanopoulos misreports historical facts it just contributes to what Actor/Producer Tom Hanks (who recently produced HBO’s The Pacific Mini-Series) called in a recent Time Magazine interview as “The Historical Illiteracy of America” and nobody with any sense of responsibility wants that.

So now the torch has been passed on to a new oldest surviving Medal of Honor recipiant. His name is Barney F. Hajiro. It's almost ironic that the new holder of this unique honor now goes to a U.S. Army Veteran who is son of Japanese Immigrants. But before anyone gets that story wrong let's get back to Geroge's unfortunate gaffe of the week. Now by no means am I trying to pay any disrespect to the family or memory of John W. Finn. Nor am I out to attack George Stephanopoulos. I am actually a fan of his stylish reporting but I have to call it as I see it. I am simply pointing out something we would expect for George to get right. George Stephanopoulos is one of the most trusted news anchors since the late Peter Jennings so we expect a lot out of him and you should too. This is why we can't let this gaffe slide. So here's what we at American Mishima did about it:

I wrote directly to ABC news right after the evening news broadcast and received their automated response which reads:

Dear, (They cound't mention my name?)
Thanks for sending us the feedback. We read every piece of information we get from our users, and will forward your contribution to the right people here at ABC News. Please stay in touch.
The team

If there is any update to this story I will post it here. Just keeping you honest George!

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