At the end of the Jeopardy! shows he is guest hosting, executive producer Mike Richards reminds viewers of the wisdom of the late Alex Trebek — pitch in to make the world “a kindler, gentler society.”
Some in the Armenian community appear to be questioning the show’s own adherence to that message after the airing of an episode this week.
A clue focused on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict has some saying Jeopardy! got it wrong.
The show regrets the situation.
“Our clue stated that Armenia ‘has been accused of irredentism, the reclaiming of old territory.’ We didn’t mean to imply either that Armenian policy is actually irredentist, or that irredentism is necessarily something to be condemned,” Jeopardy! replied on Saturday morning, a day after GV Wire℠ posted the story.
“Jeopardy! clues often involve reducing complex situations to a brief summary, and we always regret it when our clues come across as oversimplified and even as inaccurate or insulting to any person or group,” the show said.
The show airs locally in Fresno on ABC 30 (KFSN).
Clue Without a Clue?
On the episode that aired on Thursday, the $1,600 clue in “Terms from History” upset Armenians.
“This country has been accused of irredentism, the reclaiming of old territory, over the Nagorno-Karabakh area in Azerbaijan,” the answer read.
“What is Armenia?” correctly questioned Jim Cooper, a screenwriter from Pacific Palisades.
For Armenian advocates, Nagorno-Karabakh is not considered part of Azerbaijan, but rather an independent land.
“The Armenian-American community is outraged by the blatant misportrayal of the Artsakh self-determination movement,” Alex Galitsky, spokesman for the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region said.
Last year, Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in armed conflict over the disputed region, also known as Artsakh. Thousands died. Many Central Valley politicians side with Armenia. Both countries have said they are in the right.
Four months after the war ended, issues remain over POW exchanges and information about landmines.
Fresno Advocate Disappointed
Sevag Tateosian, an Armenian advocate from Fresno and former candidate for the State Center Community College District, was in disbelief.
“As someone who has watched the program with my family for decades, I’m disappointed at the lack of research by program staff. We are seeing more misinformation coming from the Azerbaijani government to the point that they are even alleging Armenian churches in Nagorno-Karabakh are Albanian churches,” Tateosian said.
— Sevag Tateosian (@sevagtateosian) March 5, 2021
Galisky, the ANCA-WR spokesman, said the Jeopardy! clue had a bias against Armenians.
” It is profoundly disappointing to see an American cultural staple like Jeopardy! use its platform to sanitize the genocidal violence perpetrated against the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh by the Azerbaijani government – one of the most repressive and authoritarian regimes in the world today,” Galitsky said.
The Los Angeles-based Azerbaijanian consulate had a completely different response. They referred GV Wire℠ to a tweet from Consul General Nasimi Aghayev.
“One of America’s oldest and most watched television shows @Jeopardy asked this question yesterday. Illegal, @UN-condemned occupation & ethnic cleansing of #Azerbaijan’s #Qarabagh region by #Armenia was exposed again. Watched by millions of people. Truth always comes out,” Aghayev wrote.
[Note: this story was updated Friday evening to include the tweet response from the Azerbaijani consul general. The story was updated again Saturday with a statement from “Jeopardy!”]
One of America’s oldest and most watched television shows @Jeopardy asked this question yesterday. Illegal, @UN-condemned occupation & ethnic cleansing of #Azerbaijan’s #Qarabagh region by #Armenia was exposed again. Watched by millions of people. Truth always comes out. pic.twitter.com/YkUKQDjjXS
— Nasimi Aghayev 🇦🇿 (@NasimiAghayev) March 5, 2021