Twice in one month, TV news personalities have said the slur “coon” when trying to say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on air — with differing results.
While Rochester, NY NBC-affiliate WHEC fired meteorologist Jeremy Kappell for the same mistake, St. Louis, Missouri’s Fox-affiliate KTVI news reporter Kevin Steincross apologized without further ado.
iMediaEthics has written to Steincross.
Tribune Broadcasting spokesperson Jessica Bellucci told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “This was a very unfortunate and inadvertent mistake and Kevin quickly apologized to viewers on-air.” She added that the Fox 2 management team believes “it was truly inadvertent and does not reflect Kevin’s core beliefs” and doesn’t plan to discipline him. She added that Steincross was very upset about the mistake.
In a Jan. 17 5 a.m. broadcast, Steincross made the error, and in the 9 a.m. broadcast, he apologized. “We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast. In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I unfortunately mispronounced his name,” Steincross said, according to St. Louis Today. “Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and what he continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way and I sincerely apologize.”
Earlier this month, Rochester’s WHEC fired Kappell after his mistake; Kappell claimed he didn’t intentionally say the word but spoke too fast.