Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nightly News Has "A" Problem

On Monday's Nightly News story about BP's decision to ignore safety concerns that eventually led to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, Lisa Myers read from an internal BP email: "This has been a nightmare well which has everyone all over the place." But a close-up of the email shows that it actually read, "This has been nightmare well which has everyone all over the place." The word "a" did not appear in the sentence, but Myers chose to insert it anyway. A few minutes later, during a story about Ted Kennedy's FBI file, Pete Williams read from a death threat directed at Kennedy: "You are a dead man." The actual threat read, "You are dead man." Again, Williams inserted an "a" that didn't exist. Why are Nightly News correspondents inserting the word "a" into sentences that don't actually contain that word? Maybe they should show...little more care in reading direct quotes (I intentionally left the word "a" out of that sentence because I assume that someone from Nightly News will put it back in).

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