Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Thurfathe Featureth (Surface Features)

It's a question as old as Barbara Walters: Why do TV outlets hire people with speech impediments for on-air positions that involve speaking?

In a medium where image and appearance are supposedly so important, there appear to be a disproportionate number of local reporters and anchors who exhibit lisps. We'll avoid naming names, but it brings up two questions: (1) What makes someone with a lisp think that broadcasting is a good career choice? and (2) What impels station management to hire these people?

It reminds us of a Kurt Vonnegut story we read in college that begins, It was the year 2081, and everyone was finally equal. Entitled "Harrison Bergeron," it describes a world in which the attractive and talented are assigned handicaps, "so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in."

At one point in the story, when a television program is interrupted for a news bulletin, the narrator notes that it wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say 'Ladies and Gentlemen—'

He finally gave up and handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

There are more than a few local news programs that make us wonder if the year 2081 isn't closer than we think.


Tóózy said...

Ted, you're smarter than the managers at the local stations. Looks like we need to get you some handicaps.

photofarm said...

So Ted,

How about telling us how many anchors at each TV station have a lisp? No names, just quantity.

And here is another thought, what is the one thing that you would to do if you were in charge of local news in Omaha that would improve things the most.

Ted Brockman said...

On-air personnel w/speech problems, by station:


The one thing I'd do: fire the consultants.

Tricia Takinawa said...

of those numbers, how many are lisps?or should I say "lithpth"
(Sorry for spitting on you there.)

no_news_is_good_news said...

Does the list include the very annoying John Chapman? I cringe when I am looking for sports on the weekends...

Ted Brockman said...


All but two are lithperth.

dannymccaslin said...

Today sucked until I saw a used condom on Ch 3.

photofarm said...


Firing consultants is not an idea, show us your brilliant intelligence and give us a true idea. If it is a really good idea, the consultants would probably even use it.

Cogitor said...

Anyone happen to see Channel 6's story about boarding airplanes last night? I heard it but didn't see it. This morning I saw it. A graphic showing window boarding first was titled "Airplane Bording". I suppose it was the same last night (even Channel 6 likely would not change a correct graphic), which makes it even better. Top-notch work again.

MelMains said...

Who was the sadist who put an "s" in the word "lisp"???

Obbop said...

"photofarm said... "

Well, since deciphering the written word is NOT an exact science.... I will translate the last couple of posts of photofarm's I read:

Blah blah blah.... blah blah blah... assorted knee-jerk rhetoric, blah blah blah.... a

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