MSN.com, which features news from MSNBC.com, linked to a “Today” show article by contributor Kristen Seymour Friday morning on the planned flight of the bear, Qannik, aboard a United Parcel Service Boeing 747. While the headline in the story itself read, “The new Knut? Orphan polar bear heads to zoo via UPS,” a shorter version on the MSN.com homepage read, “Orphan polar bear heads to US.”
Comments on the story from readers quickly poured in to point out the MSN.com headline, questioning its accuracy as Alaska has been a U.S. state since 1959.
“Um, why is the title for this article "Orphan Polar Bear Heads to U.S."????” wrote user Ndgirl701. “I grew up in Alaska, and though it's far away and VERY different from the Lower 48, the last I checked, it was still part of the U.S. . .”
“Guess geography isn't a requirement to be a TODAY.com contributor,” wrote user Julie-401527. “Maybe Matt can do a "Where in the World is Matt Lauer" from the Republic of Alaska?”
“I find it odd that the headline for this story said the bear cub found a new home in the USA,” wrote user Former Alaskan-3651230. “Last time I checked the history books, Alaska was still in the USA.”
As of Friday afternoon, no explanation of the headline had been posted as a comment on the story or on MSNBC.com’s corrections page. Repeated attempts to reach Seymour or MSNBC.com staff for comment Friday were unsuccessful.Qannik was found alone April 26 on the North Slope by oil field workers with ConocoPhillips, who called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal officials waited three days before rescuing Qannik to see if her mother, who had been previously seen with her, would return -- but she never did.