Monday, January 2, 2012

NBC Nightly News: The Year In Mistakes (Part II)

It was a great second half of the year for Brian Williams and the Nightly News producers. They actually managed to misspell the names of half of the Republican presidential candidates. And that's no easy task. They also somehow managed to misspell some pretty easy words: consultant, university, television, dialing and disapprove. Other words (labor/labour, adviser/advisor) were indiscriminately spelled different ways on different broadcasts (or sometimes even on the same broadcast). And then there were the usual assortment of math, grammar and factual errors. So without further ado, here it is--Part II of the 2011 Nightly News Year In Mistakes. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings. (Of course, these are only the mistakes I happened to notice. Feel free to add other mistakes to the list in the comments section below):

July 7--In a story about the News of the World phone hacking scandal, this line was shown on-screen: "Allegations of hacking the voicemails of soldier's families". It should have read "soldiers' families" since "soldiers'" is plural and possessive. Also that night, in an obituary for baseball manager Dick Williams, Brian informed us that Williams was the only major league manager ever to win pennants with three different teams. Not true. Bill McKechnie did it between 1925 and 1940. That's not exactly ancient history.
July 13--In a story about airport security, Rafi Ron was identified in a Nightly News graphic as an "Airport Security Cunsultant [sic]". Moments later, a story about unnecessary phone charges was titled "Dailing [sic] For Dollars".
July 14--During his intro to a story about the drought in the South, Brian informed us that the drought "now covers just about the entire lower third of this country." Seconds later, correspondent Thanh Truong told us that, "Almost 12% of the country is now enduring a brutal combination of high temperatures and too little rain." A third, 12%...whatever. Oh well, Brian was only off by a little.
July 18--On the July 17 broadcast, Ed Miliband was identified in an on-screen graphic as the UK "Labour Party Leader". A day later, Miliband was identified as the "Labor Party Leader".
July 27--In a story on the congressional debt talks, Rep. Mike Pence was identified as Rep. Eric Cantor.
July 28--In his obituary for America singer/songwriter Dan Peek, Brian told us that Peek, "...gave us 'A Horse With No Name', 'Ventura Highway', 'Lonely People', 'Sister Golden Hair', 'Don't Cross the River' and a lot more songs." Actually, "A Horse With No Name" and "Ventura Highway" were written by Dewey Bunnell and "Sister Golden Hair" was written by Gerry Beckley. So Brian was wrong on the authorship of three of the five songs he mentioned. Batting .400 is great if you're a baseball player. It's not so great if you're a news anchor.
Aug. 5--In a story about the 100th anniversary of Lucille Ball's birth, Donelle Dadigan, president of the Hollywood Museum, was identified in a Nightly News graphic as "Danelle Dadigan".
Aug. 6--In a story about 22 Navy SEALs (and other U.S. military personnel) that were killed in a helicopter attack in Afghanistan, a Nightly News graphic identified them as "U.S Navy SEALs" (The second period in "U.S." was omitted.) This happened again on the following day's broadcast before the error was finally corrected.
Aug. 8--While talking about Diana Nyad's attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida, Brian described the event as "life infirming" instead of "life affirming".
Aug. 9--A video clip of Rick Perry was captioned "Yesterday" and "Gilbert, Arizona". Actually, the clip was from three days earlier in Houston.
Aug. 10--During a Nightly News promo for "Meet the Press", Michele Bachmann's first name was spelled as "Michelle". Also, in a story about a pair of brother & sister bank robbers, FBI Special Agent Phil Niedringhaus was identified in a graphic as "Phil Niedringhausm".
Aug. 11--Brian introduced Chuck Todd as being in Ames, Iowa, but the caption below Todd read "Des Moines".
Aug. 20--At the top of the broadcast, a promo for a story about the two American Hikers still detained in Iran was titled "Judgement [sic] Day". The correct American spelling is "Judgment". Also, in a "Meet the Press" promo, Robert Gibbs was identified as an "Advisor" to President Obama. The previous day, a MTP promo had identified Gibbs as an "Adviser" to the President.
Aug. 23--In an obituary for Nick Ashford, Brian told us that Ashford died at age 70, but below Ashford's photo were the years "1942-2011". That would have made him 69.
Aug. 26--During a clip in which NYU Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering Mohammad Karamouz discussed how New York City's tunnels are vulnerable to flooding in the event of a major hurricane, a Nightly News graphic misspelled Prof. Karamouz's first name as "Mohammed".
Aug. 31--During a story about infant mortality rates, the producers listed several countries on-screen, along with each country's flag. But next to "Singapore", the producers actually displayed the flag of Poland.
Sept. 6--During a story about a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Michele Bachmann's last name was spelled as "Bachman". This is the third time the Nightly News producers have misspelled Ms. Bachmann's name in less than three months.
Sept. 8--In a story about flooding in Pennsylvania, a caption below Anne Thompson read "Forty Fort, PA". A moment later, as part of a split screen, the caption below Thompson read "Wilkes-Barre, PA". Also that night, we heard some tapes of air traffic controllers and pilots from 9/11/01, accompanied by Nightly News's on-screen transcripts. One transcript read, "It looks like that aircraft crashed into the Penatagon [sic], sir." What's a "Penatagon"? How many sides does a "Penatagon" have?
Sept. 9--During a story on some recently-released audio tapes of Jackie Kennedy, a Nightly News on-screen transcript of the tapes used a quote (") inside a quote ("). A quote-inside-a-quote is supposed to use a single mark ('), not a double mark (").
Sept. 24--A promo for the following day's "Meet the Press" boasted that Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance on the program would be "exclusive". However, Netanyahu was also interviewed that day on ABC World News Sunday.
Sept. 26--During an "Education Nation" story, an on-screen graphic informed us that U.S. students ranked 25th in math among the world's countries. To illustrate this, the flags of all the nations ranking higher in math were placed above a U.S. flag. However, there were 25 flags above the U.S. flag, so that means that the U.S. actually ranked 26th. If the Nightly News producers can't even count to 25, it's no wonder that U.S. students rank so poorly in math. Later in the broadcast, during a story about parent trigger laws, Lee Cowan told us that, "California, Texas and Mississippi all have trigger laws on the books and at least 22 other states are considering it." But the accompanying map only showed a total of 22 states highlighted (including California, Texas and Mississippi) whereas it should have shown 25 states highlighted.
Oct. 1--During a story about the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton, Kate Snow told us that Hamilton was "this season's MVP". Actually, he was last season's MVP.
Oct. 2--A story about the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president featured a clip of Mariann Hedstrom, who was identified in a Nightly News graphic as being from the "National Federation of Republicn [sic] Women". What are "Republicn" women? Are they anything like Republican women?
Oct. 7--While showing a clip from "Andrea Mitchell Reports", the credit line did not include quotes around the show's title. When showing credit lines from TV show titles, the producers sometimes use quotes and sometimes they don't. I guess it depends on what kind of mood they're in on any particular day.
Oct. 12--An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll informed us that 51% of Americans "Dissaprove [sic]" of Pres. Obama. Later in the broadcast, some comments made by Herman Cain on his radio show were attributed to the "Hermain [sic] Cain Show". And in a story about domestic violence laws in Topeka, Kansas, a domestic violence victim named Claudine Dumbrowski was identified on-screen as "Rita Smith".
Oct. 13--U.S. Rep John Larson (D-CT) was identified on-screen as "Jon" Larson.
Oct. 18--Brian informed us that, "...Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas and held captive for five years was exchanged today for a thousand Palestinian prisoners..." That's not accurate. On that day, Shalit was exchanged for 477 Palestinian prisoners. The other 550 prisoners were to be released in approximately two months. I thought accuracy was supposed to be important in news reporting. And by the way, the total comes to 1,027 prisoners, not "a thousand". Someone should buy Brian a calculator.
Nov. 2--A clip from "Mad Men" (yet another one) was attributed to "Lionsgate Televison [sic]". Nightly News is in the television business, and their producers can't even correctly spell "television". A clip from "Andrea Mitchell Reports" again did not include quotes around the show's title.
Nov. 10--A Nightly News graphic identified correspondent Ron Mott as "Ron Allen".
Nov. 13--An on-screen graphic during a story on women and heart disease spelled "Triglycerides" as "Tryiglycerides".
Nov. 17--In a story about a pilot who got locked in his plane's restroom mid-flight, a transcript of a second pilot's conversation with the control tower spelled the word "oughtta" as "outta"(it read "you guys outta declare an emergency and just get on the ground.").
Nov. 23--Savannah Guthrie told us that, "Today in Washington, the President did what presidents have done for the last 64 years now--pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey." Actually, every other news source credits Pres. George H.W. Bush (in 1989) as being the first president to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey. Even MSNBC's own "First Read" blog states that, "President Harry Truman is often cited, incorrectly, as the first president to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey." Maybe Guthrie should have perused the "First Read" blog. Oh well, she was only off by 42 years. No big deal.
Nov. 27--Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was identified in a Nightly News graphic as "John" Huntsman. Also, during a story about on-line schooling, Rehema Ellis told us that, "Thirty states offer a full-time on-line education to at least some students." But the accompanying on-screen map showed only 28 states highlighted.
Nov. 29--Brian referred to Andrea Mitchell as "Our Chief Foreign Correspondent". Actually, Mitchell is the NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent.
Nov. 30--A Mitt Romney campaign ad carried a credit line identifying it as a "Mit [sic] Romney Campaign Ad".
Dec. 1--A story about the Massachusetts Attorney General suing some banks that do business in the state was titled "Bankers Suits". It should have been "Bankers' Suits".
Dec. 5--David Axelrod was identified as an "Advisor" to Pres. Obama. On the previous day's broadcast, he was identified as an "Adviser" to the President.
Dec. 15--A video clip of Mitt Romney answering questions from New York Times reporters was attributed to "NE York Times".
Dec. 16--A Nightly News graphic identified Rep. Virginia Foxx as a Republican from Virginia. Actually, she represents North Carolina's fifth district. But I understand how confusing it must be to the Nightly News producers when a person's name is the same as a state name. Also, during a story on Christmas shopping, a December calendar page displayed on-screen began the week on Monday and ended on Sunday. I have never seen a calendar like that before.
Dec. 20--Yet again, Brian introduced Andrea Mitchell as NBC News's "Chief Foreign Correspondent".
Dec. 22--Brian told us that they're having "Sporty weather in the South." I think he meant to say "spotty". I guess Brian's favorite Spice Girl is Spotty Spice.
Dec. 27--In a story about the net worth of the average American, a Nightly News graphic identified Prof. Alan Ziobrowski as being from "Georgia State Univeristy [sic]".
Dec. 28--In a story about the death of Cheetah the chimp, Lester Holt told us he died at 80. But moments earlier, we were shown a photo of Cheetah above the years "1929-2011". That would have made Cheetah 82, not 80.
Dec. 29--In a story about Ron Paul, a Nightly News graphic informed us that a Paul supporter named Mark Edwards was from "Port. St. Lucie, Florida". I guess "Port." must be an abbreviation for a larger word.

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