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Here's an Irritating TV Mistake, From NBC's "Medium"
February 3, 2009  | By David Bianculli
medium-TV-big.jpgLast night's episode of NBC's Mediumcontained an on-screen error that wasn't major, but, to a journalist and teacher, was more than a little annoying.

It concerned a TV news report being viewed by a character on the show. In other words, it was a fake local TV newscast, faked by a real national TV show -- but the national show, the Medium crew, couldn't get it right. And no one who edited, approved or saw the show in advance caught the error.


The error was this: Under a tagline saying "Top Story," ran an image with the following headline: "FUNERAL FOR RENOWN AUTHOR NATHAN CAFFERTY." This sentence was on Medium long enough, both filling the screen and in a smaller shot, to be read easily and completely.

And it was easy, therefore, to notice that the word RENOWN was used, when the right word would have been RENOWNED. Leaving the -ED off is no more acceptable, or correct, than calling Jennifer Hudson a TALENT SINGER or John Updike an ACCLAIM AUTHOR.

Everybody makes mistakes. But on major networks, you expect someone, up or down the chain, to catch something as basic and obvious as this. Yet at NBC, those may be too-great expectations.




Paul Oyler said:

I'm glad someone else noticed that. I caught it right away and was yelling at the screen, a habit that annoys my wife, but it makes me feel better.

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 9:21 AM

desert rat said:

Not so apparent to many also was a mispronunciation of the name of a desert-southwest "landmark", the saguaro cactus. Actually, this show being set in Phoenix, the reference was to a nearby lake, Saguaro Lake, and the esteemed District Attorney (of which there is none in this city or state, instead being the Maricopa County Attorney, or the State Attorney General) pronounced the cactus name with a hard "g", when it should be pronounced as if the "g" is an "h"... easy to understand for snow-birds, but if they're setting the show here in Phoenix, care should be taken to make it BELIEVABLE that the show is set in Phoenix.

And, while we're kibitzing, the background window shot in one of the scenes showed an architectural structure in former Patriot's Park downtown, which has been demolished and the park is undergoing construction of commercial buildings.

These things, along with scenes containing lush landscaping and back-yard country lakes belie the fact that the the setting is nowhere near the desert southwest. (Good catches! -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 10:49 AM

Dennis Howard said:

It may have been more clever than that. Maybe it was intentional -- a sly comment about the state of the art in local newsrooms. My local NBC affiliate's newscast had an on-screen caption about the plane crash in "Hudson Bay". Seriously, Hudson Bay, which is about 1500 miles north of where a plane ditched in the Hudson River. (I'd love to think it was a clever statement about the stupidity of local news. But, sadly, I don't. -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 11:48 AM

Neil said:

I have a different take on this, DB (though I didn't see the program last night).

I've seen some horrid typos on those news graphics (Chyrons? Is that the right term for them?) -- both on cable news and on local and network broadcasts. Mistakes that ran the gamut from fast-fingered carelessness to cluelessness to utter illiteracy.

I suspect that the scriptwriter or the director of that episode was making a sly point about how far broadcast standards have fallen. Except arguably on C-SPAN, no TV production seems immune from these kinds of errors.

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 12:45 PM

TC said:

Maybe it was found, but at a point too late into production - could be it would have been just too expensive to fix.

Although, as a teacher myself, I share your dismay. (That's the real truth of the matter, I suspect. By the time it was caught, why bother? How many people, after all, would notice? Every one of us did -- that's who. -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 1:27 PM

Mo said:

I would also expect a journalist and teach to be able to spell "Bruce" correctly. (I didn't know what you were talking about, until I went to yesterday's column and discovered I had typed "Brice" instead of "Bruce" in the first paragraph. Whoops. So yes, that's my error, both for typing it and for not catching it. And goes, as well, to the comment, from the next reader, about a lack of copy editing on the web. But I do think there's a difference between a casual error or mistyping and a more ignorant one. After all, when you wrote your comment, I'm sure you meant to type "teacher" instead of "teach" -- but we all make mistakes at some level, right? I forgive yours, and hope you forgive mine. The one on "Medium," that's a different level. -- David B.)

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 3:23 PM

Ms Spelled said:

Do you ever read newspaper blogs? It's a shame what messes get on the papers' Web sites because the safety net of copy editors has disappeared.
Having cut so much there are no more corners, more and more media are just dizzy from running in circles.

Comment posted on February 3, 2009 3:43 PM
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