Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Say What?

"We have so much time and so little to see. Wait. Strike that. Reverse it." – Willy Wonka (portrayed by Gene Wilder), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Verbal flubs happen to even the most magically gifted people. Now, we've all had momentary outbreaks of brain-outpacing-mouth disease, or grasped for an elusive word and spouted something completely wrong (or possibly inappropriate). But you would think that news reporters and anchors, whose daily job is to speak on camera, would outgrow some of that.

Well, perhaps that's the case at the national level where viewers rarely see an egregious verbal faux pas. Locally? Eh, not so much.

Last night's coverage of the wildfire near Boulder, Colorado included this voice-over lead-in:

     "The fire is wrecking havoc…"


I see two possibilities here. 1) The script correctly said "wreaking" and the reporter mispronounced it as "wrecking", or 2) The script was wrong and the reporter read it that way.

Either way, "wreaking havoc" is not an uncommon cliché, and someone should have caught that before it went on air.

Moments later in the same broadcast, in a segment about local firefighters' "Fill the Boot" campaign to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the same reporter said:

     "Law enforcement officers have been asking motorists to donate money…"

The video even showed firefighters (not police officers) standing on street corners and collecting money in firefighter boots.

Um…wow.   I'm thinking this reporter needs to go back to school if she doesn't even know the difference between law enforcement and firefighting. See, police officers carry guns, and firefighters...oh, never mind.

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