CNN needs geography lesson after mistaking Taiwan for Thailand

United States-based news platform CNN needs a geography lesson after confusing Taiwan for Thailand, or more specifically, Taipei for Bangkok.

The multinational cable news channel headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, confused Thailand for Taiwan several times during their live broadcast countdown to New Year’s Day

CNN Hong Kong reporter Kristie Lu Stout asked her Taiwan counterpart in Taipei, Will Ripley, how the celebrations were going in Thailand, which is one hour behind.

On screen, the headline at 1.03am flashed “Thailand’s Capital Welcomes 2023” as the fireworks extravaganza at Taiwan’s Taipei 101 tower got underway.

CNN gaff central followed that up at 1.09am with another howler. The onscreen caption that flashed up read “Bangkok celebrates 2023,” while still displaying fireworks from Taipei.

Mistake No.3 occurred at 3.37am which showed an image of fireworks in Thailand, but labelled the location “Bangkok, Taiwan.”

Screenshots of the gaffs were quickly snapped and uploaded on social media. Needless to say, they went viral.

CNN needs geography lesson after mistaking Taiwan for Thailand | News by Thaiger CNN needs geography lesson after mistaking Taiwan for Thailand | News by Thaiger

Taiwanese commentator Sean Su was watching events unfold in the Grand Hyatt Taipei. He noticed Lu Stout was asking Ripley about Thailand but he would respond with information about Taipei.

At 1.06am Ripley realized the mistake and asked Stout…

“Oh my God, are we talking about Bangkok or Taiwan?”

Without waiting for a reply, Ripley listed his favourite street food stand in Taipei before changing the topic to street food tours in Thailand.

Social media wags had a great time making fun of the pair.

On Twitter users had a field day rewriting their botched captions:

“Thaipei is the capital of Thaiwan, a country led by Thai Ing-wen.”

“Amazing, have seen plenty of Taiwan-Thailand mix-ups but never Bangkok, Taiwan….”

“Taipei is Thai! Taipei has always been Thai!'”

Remarks on Taiwan Reddit were similarly sarcastic:

“Can’t offend China if they are talking about Thailand.”

“Wait, wait, wait… so the capital of Thailand is Taipei, Taiwan? Taiwan is a province of Thailand now? And even more outrageous, the capital city is no longer Bangkok but Taipei?!”

“The US will definitely defend Thailand…! or… was it Taiwan? Ah, whatever, can’t find either on the map anyway!”

The news is hardly surprising. In October CNN totally disregarded Thai and police protocol when reporting on the daycare massacre in Thailand.

The platform pulled a story on the massacre, where 24 children were killed, and forced to apologise after they filmed a crime scene without permission.

Thai police fined two CNN journalists after authorities found they were working in the country after entering on tourist visas. They also disregarded police tape surrounding the daycare centre, entered the building and began filming.

They were fined 5,000 baht (US$133) and told to leave the country.

Asia News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.