False reportingMBC’s “PD Notebook” provided distorted news reporting that drove the entire country into an uncontrollable frenzy over mad cow disease. Its programming that aired on April 29, entitled “Emergency investigation! Is U.S. beef safe from mad cow disease?” displayed sensational images and warnings that Koreans who eat U.S. beef are destined to be affected by mad cow disease and die in misery.
The real truth behind PD Notebook’s exaggerated reporting has now been revealed.
Anecdotes of misleading reporting are only the tip of the iceberg. The reporting on the dead American woman was also misleading. The press release from the state of Virginia’s public health authorities was titled “Virginia Department of Health Investigation Illness of Portsmouth Woman.” But the program translated the title to “The investigation into the fatal victim of vCJD [variant Cruetzfeldt Jakob Disease]”, which implied that the cause of the woman’s death was vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease. The investigation concluded that the cause of her death was not vCJD but CJD.
PD Notebook said Tuesday it is “regrettable” that the program failed to translate the English more accurately and articulately, leaving the possibility that viewers would misunderstand. But the producers repeated the same message that they “never concluded that the woman died of the human form of mad cow disease.”
They even declared that it is “painful to explain things that are not worth explaining,” stressing that they would not stand by blindly while false accusations are circulated with malicious intent. The English translator who worked for PD Notebook complained several times that he is not to blame.
“I strongly expressed my concern several times that linking the collapsing cows with mad cow disease was a distortion,” he said. “It is not a translational error but was aimed to show only what the producers aimed to show.”
Now the truth is emerging: With intentional distortion and overstatement, PD Notebook inflated the dangers of mad cow disease and drove the entire nation into a frenzy of groundless fear and chaos. But the producers seem to have no remorse. The only solution for MBC will be imposing punitive action on the producers and demanding an official apology to the Korean people. This may be MBC’s last chance to keep its dignity.