Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Brian Williams--A Sensing Man

From Brian Williams's Sept. 27 Daily Nightly blog: "As far as I can tell, the world is divided into two basic groups: Those who are sensing and those who are intuitive. Intuitive people notice big things: Feelings, moods, themes. Sensing people (like me) notice the details, and can often be preoccupied with them. This brings us to 'continuity errors' in film and television. Put simply, we've all seen the movie scene where it cuts back and forth between a character, and their position or clothes may be different on a shot-to-shot basis—the background might be different—we know something is amiss. The web is full of them, and there are some remarkable continuity errors in major motion pictures.

Here's how closely I watch for such things: On last night's 'Mad Men' (this is NOT a spoiler), during a meeting between Roger Sterling and the man from Lucky Strike, the dandruff on Sterling's suit appeared—then disappeared—then appeared again. Being sensing can be such a burden."

Amen, Brian. I hear you, brother. Much like Brian, I am also a sensing person. I notice small details and errors in TV shows, too. For example, here are some errors I noticed in Nightly News broadcasts and blogs over the past few years:

* 11/7/08--On his blog, Brian misspelled Paul Volcker's last name as "Volker".
* 2/9/09--On his blog, Brian misspelled "Alison Krauss" as "Allison Kraus".
* 4/22/09--After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Pakistan's continuing instability a "mortal threat" to the U.S., Brian reported on the air that she had called it a "moral threat".
* 10/30/09--Brian misspelled the names of Gen. Petraeus (as "Patreus") and Gen. McChrystal (as "McCrystal") on the same blog post.
* 5/25/10--In his blog, Brian misstated the name of former oil exec John Hofmeister's book. Brian referred to it as "Why People Hate the Oil Companies". The actual title is "Why We Hate the Oil Companies".
*6/22/10--On the air, Brian referred to Richard Engel as the NBC News "Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent". Engel is actually NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent. Andrea Mitchell is the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent (on 2/20/10, Brian introduced Mitchell as the "Chief Foreign Correspondent").
* 7/12/10--Brian spelled Nelson Mandela's last name as "Mandella" on his blog (it was subsequently corrected).
* 7/16/10--On his broadcast, Brian announced that, "Overseas tonight, a deadly first in Mexico's deadly drug war--a car bomb." Mexico is not overseas. Also on that broadcast, Brian referred to Malia Obama as the President's "eldest" daughter. Eldest is used when there are three or more parties involved. Malia is the President's elder daughter.
*7/24/10--A story on Hurricane Bonnie spelled "Hispaniola" as "Hispanola".
*7/29/10--In his blog, Brian mentioned Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds", but he misspelled the first word as "Inglorious".
*8/5/10--A Nightly News graphic spelled Metairie (Louisiana) as "Metarie".
*8/14/10--Deborah Hersman was identified as the NTSB "Chairman". A day earlier, she was identified as the NTSB "Chairwoman".
*8/21/10--Karin Rosander was identified as being from the Swedish "prosecuter's" office. The correct spelling is "prosecutor".
*8/25/10--A Nightly News map of Iraq identified the city of "Basra". A minute later, a different map spelled the city as "Basrah".
*8/28/10--An on-screen caption omitted the hyphen in Melissa Harris-Lacewell's name.
*9/15/10--An on-screen Nightly News caption identified Michael Steele as the "Repulican National Chairman", rather than the "Republican National Chairman".
*9/16/10--On his Daily Nightly blog, Brian spelled Meredith Vieira's last name as "Viera", and Jon Hamm's first name as "John". (Does that count as a "Mad Men" find?)
*9/19/10--On his Daily Nightly blog, Lester Holt spelled Sarah Shourd's name as "Sarah Shroud".
*9/20/10--A story about the economy showed six different calendar pages. Five of the pages had errors, including two with the incorrect number of days.
*9/22/10--During a story about Bob Woodward's new book, Andrea Mitchell read a quote by Joe Biden about Richard Holbrooke: "He's the most egotistical bastard I've ever met. Although the right guy for the job." But in the accompanying on-screen transcript, the second sentence appeared as, "But maybe he's the right guy for the job."
*9/26/10--An "Education Nation" story included the on-screen phrase "african americans". Proper nouns are always capitalized--it should have read "African Americans". Also on that day, a story about the Charlotte school system profiled a fourth grader identified as "Jevon" Dixon. A close-up of his report card clearly showed that his name is actually spelled "Jevo'N".
*9/27/10--A story about BP's underestimation of the oil spill in the Gulf included a clip of a Florida State University oceanography professor, who was identified on screen as "Ian McDonald". His name is actually Ian MacDonald.
*9/30/10--A transcript of statements by a Maine gubernatorial candidate spelled the governor's name as "Lepage". It is actually LePage.
*10/1/10--In a story about mortgage foreclosures, Peter Alexander told us that three of the largest banks have suspended foreclosure evictions in 23 states. In the accompanying map, 24 states were highlighted. A few minutes later, a story about education identified two different people as "Professor Larry Cuban" from Stanford University.

I agree with Brian--being a sensing person can be such a burden. We're always finding errors. What makes these errors even more egregious is that many of them occurred during the week when NBC News was presenting their "Education Nation" summit. I think all the math, spelling, grammar and geography errors on Nightly News demonstrate that the need for education reform is even more dire than the "Education Nation" summit indicated.

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