Taxpayer-funded NPR was criticized after describing Abe as a “divisive arch-conservative” in a now-deleted tweet, and NBC’s “Today” show was blasted after it showed flags from the wrong country during their segment on Abe’s assassination.
“When Fidel Castro died, NPR called him a ‘prominent international figure,’” former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) tweeted. “On Yasser Arafat’s death ‘a freedom fighter.’ On Prime Minister’s [Abe]’s assassination, NPR’s statement: ‘a divisive arch-conservative and an ultranationalist.’ Brought to you by your US tax dollars.”
In a headline that remains unchanged, ABC News mirrors NPR’s language, referring to Abe as a “divisive archconservative.” According to the New York Post, The Associated Press also used the same language in multiple photos to describe the former world leader.
While some legacy news outlets were criticized for their controversial descriptions of Abe in the hours after his death, NBC’s “Today” show made people’s eyes roll with an embarrassing blunder. In the “Today” show’s segment on Abe Friday morning, it briefly showed a clip of South Korean flags, highlighting the wrong Asian country.
“@NBC’s @Todayshow played footage featuring South Korean flags while discussing the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday,” the Washington Examiner’s Julia Johnson wrote.
Twitter users were quick to pile on the “Today” show for its mistake.
“Ummmm, wrong country, @TODAYshow,” Newsbusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck wrote along with a screenshot of the news outlet’s blunder. “@NBCNews, your morning show has some issues with keeping the countries in Asia straight.”
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 8, 2022
“Wow! Now THAT’s embarrassing! @NBCNews @TODAYshow televised the Tokyo Olympics just over a year ago and already they’ve forgotten what the Japanese flag looks like. Hint: That’s the flag of South Korea,” another Twitter user pointed out.
Abe, the longest serving prime minister in Japan since World War II, was gunned down Friday while giving a speech. The Right-leaning former leader of America’s ally went into cardiac arrest and died five hours after being shot.
President Joe Biden, along with former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, said they were deeply saddened by Abe’s death.
“This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him. I had the privilege to work closely with Prime Minister Abe,” Biden said. “The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service.”