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John Klima
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:45 pm:   

Correction of other thread:

OK, here's the thing. While I watch the news, I sit there and correct their grammar and sentence structure as they speak. As my wife (a high-school English teacher) says, "If this is the way professionals speak, what hope do I have of teaching grammar to students?" It's unfortunate that people are more influenced by the newscasters whom they hear, than by journalists whom they read.

Here are two recent examples that made me want to throw the television out the window:

Last night as I got ready for bed: "Plans for a dangerous bridge in New Jersey tonight at 11." I thought, why would they make plans to build a danergous bridge? That doesn't make any sense. Then I realized, they were talking about plans TO FIX a dangerous bridge in New Jersey.

This morning, the newscasters spoke about a man who in 1987 who was convicted of murder and now his conviction might be overturned. In speaking of this, the newscaster said that the possible decision to overturn was due to the hard work of this man's lawyer and "person and person who are fighting his case." [I don't have their names, and it's not relevant to my point] This one stopped me cold. I turned to the tv and practically shouted "fighting FOR his case." Taking what the newscaster originally said, these two people, who are members of the David Wong Support Group (David Wong being the convicted man), are fighting Wong's release, i.e. fighting against; if no modifier is supplied, it is implied that fighting the case is against the case. Which is not what they were doing.

Not that long ago, my morning Channel 4 news from New York was informative, entertaining, and sometimes enlightening. Now it's maddening. The previous hosts/newscasters have both left and the new morning people are just hacks. One time the woman corrected what she had read off the teleprompter, but what she did was take the grammatically correct sentence and make it grammatically incorrect (I believe it was a subject-verb agreement, like deciding to change the sentence from "data were" to "data was"). It's like watching college students do news. "Dude, it's like foggy out, what's up with the weather?"

Anyone else have good examples of newscasters butchering the language?

JK
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Minz
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Fair and Balanced. Fox News.

Okay, that's actually outright lying--oh wait, I guess some of them have a light complexion, blond hair and can sit up straight. :-)
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Jeffrey J. Lyons
Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 07:34 pm:   

I escaped after 18 years of broadcasting. I made comments in the other thread so I won't repeat them all here other than to say that broadcasters are trained to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. They're also trained to write and deliver the news in the present tense even if the incident happened a week ago. Example:

OFFICIALS CONTINUE INVESTIGATING LAST MONDAY'S FIRE WHICH KILLED TWO. A LIT CIGARETTE IS TO BLAME.

About your first example: The bridge. Yes, that might be grammatically incorrect but it sounds like an appropriate broadcast news teaser. They have to spit it out in 5 seconds. It depends on how the anchor emphasized the word "Plans." If you emphasize the wrong word it's going to come out sounding awful.

Fighting "for" is implied. A broadcaster would drop the word "for." I'm in agreement with you. It DOES NOT make for good grammar but that's the style. I might've said "defending him" to shorten it up even more.

"Was VS were" and those kind of grammatical guffaws are uncalled for even in broadcasting.
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Lou Antonelli
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 02:05 pm:   

Much better, John!
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004 - 05:20 pm:   

:-)

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