Flagship ZDF German public television, Germany’s equivalent to CBS or BBC, reported on Hurricane Sandy yesterday evening on it famous “heute journal” news show. I was watching it live (which is very rare for me) and I couldn’t believe what I heard.
What follows is the video link of the broadcast. Just listen here to what the ZDF correspondent says (in German) at the 28:07 mark!
“Many older people say it reminds them of what happened in 1938. Back then there was the Long Island Express Storm. It claimed 800 million lives on the east coast. This time we will probably also not go without deaths.”
Imagine that. 800 million people on the east coast of a country that at the time had well under 200 million inhabitants.
Did you notice how anchorman Klaus Kleber on the line back in Germany tried to stop him…”how many!…”? Of course, it was a slip-up of gaffe proportions. But notice how when they slip up, it’s an “honest mistake – can happen to anyone!” But when someone else does it, it’s sure proof of incompetence.
Just imagine if Mitt Romney had said it. ZDF would be the first to replay it again and again and again, telling viewers that he just isn’t bright enough to be the President.
Maybe Prömpers was swaying because had been boozing it up and not because of the wind. I don’t know what would cause a reporter of a broadcaster as enlightened as ZDF to make such a dumb mistake.
To be fair, an hour later in the Phoenix broadcast he corrected the figure to “800” lives.