Unthinkable Gaffe: Yom Kippur Coverage Tainted By WGN’s Use Of Nazi-Related Imagery

Mike Bessler - Author
By

Sep. 23 2015, Updated 7:19 p.m. ET

It is almost certain that the folks at WGN in Chicago had the best of intentions in running a story about the start of the Jewish Day of Atonement known as Yom Kippur on Tuesday evening’s news broadcast. But presumably kindly sentiments ultimately led to feelings of shock and disgust by many viewers when those behind the scenes inexplicably used one of the most painful images from the Holocaust as a stock photo for the news story. As noted by the website Chicagoist, the offending graphic depicted the “Yellow Star” badge that Nazis required Jews to wear as a means to separate and ostracize them from the rest of society. The choice of images was, to say the least, a very unfortunate reminder of an epic tragedy on what was supposed to be a holy day of reflection and atonement.

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Chicago resident Marc Karlinsky noticed the bizarre choice by WGN production staff and immediately took to Twitter, tagging the station with a freeze frame from the broadcast.

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WGN responded via Twitter a short time later with an apology for “inadvertently using an offensive image” in their story.

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Deadline.com reports that WGN also followed up with a statement on Wednesday reiterating their apology and pledging that the matter will be fully investigated.

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“Last night we ran a story to recognize Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Regrettably, we failed to recognize that the artwork we chose to accompany the story contained an offensive symbol. This was an unfortunate mistake. Ignorance is not an excuse. We are extremely embarrassed and we deeply apologize to our viewers and to the Jewish community for this mistake.

“We are investigating how this situation occurred, reviewing our in- house policies and making changes in order to avoid such mistakes happening in the future. Thank you for your understanding. We promise to do better.”

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Yom Kippur is regarded as the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The basic tenets of Yom Kippur, which include fasting and abstinence from both washing and marital relations, are established and explained in the Book of Leviticus.

[Image from WGN broadcast via MarcKarlinsky/Twitter]

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