Saturday, March 13, 2010

Higher Education Standards For Nightly News

It is appalling that last Wednesday, when the Nightly News lead story was about the decline of the American educational system and the need for uniform teaching standards among all the states, the broadcast contained no fewer than three glaring errors (one grammatical, one mathematical, one historical).

>The lead story on education began with several on-screen facts that were attributed to the "National Governors' (sic) Association". The organization is actually called the National Governors Association. If the Nightly News producers don't even understand the proper use of an apostrophe, is it any wonder that our children have such poor grammar skills? (During the same story, an interview with Dane Linn from the NGA correctly omitted the apostrophe. If the producers can get it right once, why can't they get it right twice?)

>In another story about how a number of states are facing budget deficits that will result in cuts to education, John Yang said, "...Illinois is among the ten most financially stressed states in the country...." As he said this, a map of the U.S. appeared on the screen, with eleven states highlighted in red (CA, OR, NV, AZ, WI, IL, MI, FL, NJ, DE, RI). If Yang and his producers can't even manage to accurately count ten states, is it any wonder that our children lag far behind the children of other countries with regard to math skills?

>At the conclusion of a story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots who flew in World War II, Brian Williams said that it was "fifty-five years now after World War II." In fact, the war ended 65 years ago. If a network news anchor doesn't even know how many years it's been since the end of World War II, is it any surprise that our children have such a poor knowledge of history?

While it is certainly true that we need higher educational standards for our children, it also seems that we need higher educational standards for the Nightly News anchors, reporters and producers.

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