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Media Monitor: customer satisfaction and reporter work ethic clash on CCN and TTT

Ahahn! At last! It only take about 70 years. Too late fuh Blakie buh not fuh we!

And de timing perfick; it only have a week or two to go before dis year Carnaval.

(Big band music blassing. De tune is a famous 1954 classic by de now dead kaisonian with de slick hair, a straw in he hand and a unmistakeable laugh.)

Photo: Iconic late calypsonian Lord Blakie.

Invaders beating sweet/Coming up Park Street/Tokyo/Coming down beating very slow/And, friends, when the two band clash/Mamayo, if yuh see cutlash/Never me again/To jump in a steelband/In Port-of-Spain.

Just now, it ent going to have no more clash in Trinidad and Tobago. Thank God fuh Gary Griffith. Buh is not the CoP say so, eh; is TTT. Larse week.

I is a TV6 man so I didn’t see. But a pardner send mih the screenshot and ah imagine how it woulda go down if I was watching:

I am sitting in front of my television listening with only half an ear when the image of a minister comes up in my peripheral vision. Emblazoned across the bottom of the screen are five words. My initial reaction is that they say this: “TT to go classless soon.”

Trying to make sense of it, I look up. ‘Classless’ makes me think first of former education minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and then of current Education Minister Anthony Garcia and then Common Entrance and SEA marks and then another Marx, Karl.

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.

Ah! I hear myself thinking, so instead of trying to fix school buildings every July/August, Keith Rowley’s bankrupt PNM has finally given up and decided to abolish, maybe even demolish the entire school system.

Wrong, thank God! On all counts! The face on the screen belongs to Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert.

I know, I know. ‘Classless’ is not entirely off the mark. Have you ever heard him when someone gainsays him in Parliament? At Questions for Oral Answer time? Or during the Opposition Leader’s response to his Budget?

But it doesn’t matter anyway. I can see clearly now that the screen is saying ‘clashless.’ The correct word, however, has only eight, not nine letters, including an H. There is one L and three S’s, cashless!

Like on TV6, these little things do not seem to matter much to TTT. Remember how long the TV6 ad about there being NO POLITICAL INTEFERENCE in their programming ran without the first R? There was no interference either from those responsible for vetting these things.

Photo: Clash-less reporting?

Since the start of 2020, TV6 has been running an Express ad featuring Teneil Campbell and Debbie Jacob. “Continue,” it urges Trinidad and Tobago, “to exceed in 2020.”

My dictionary lists no intransitive use of that verb. But I guess a TV channel’s power to change things, including the rules of language, far exceeds.

And it’s not just the house ads that have long-running errors. There’s a years-old Bradford ad that offers customers “Quality Mens Wear” available at several branches, including the one at “Grand Bazzar.”

What about this misleading ad saying that “All businesses start small and grow into strong corporations”? At Beacon, it ends, we keep our promises. Please, please, promise T&T that you will pay some heed to factual accuracy when you make your next ad for TV.

Even if CCN doesn’t care one fart.

Which puts me in mind of KPB, whose name TV6 contrived to misspell last week. Not for the first time, there was no hyphen. Hyphen? Whaiz dat? It’s the little dash thing TV6 improperly added between ‘visitor’ and ‘arrivals’ during Friday’s 7pm newscast.

Photo: A satirical take on language.
(Copyright Glasbergen.com)

Would, however, that spelling were TV6’s only enduring area of weakness. Hear long-serving reporter Alicia Boucher on last Sunday’s news:

“46 murders in 31 days is a failure on behalf of Minister Young.”

In my experience, Stuart Young has always been able to fail for himself; I honestly never realised that he needed to get others to do it on his behalf.

And for the umpteenth time a few days later, Ms Boucher displayed her ignorance of—or disdain for—the fact that ‘to comprise’ means ‘to be made up of’. Like so many of her media colleagues, she should be encouraged to reverse back from time to time and listen to her text before it airs.

Had i95.5fm’s Nicole Romany done so, I suspect she might have opted to revise this awkward sentence from Thursday’s 7am news: “Residents found a foul stench emanating nearby.”

Or not. But I’ve scheduled a visit to my E.N.T specialist because goodness knows the sentence offended my ear and stuck in my craw.

Photo: Wha…?

Towards the end of the Thursday newscast, Romany introduced a soundbite with: “Senate Leader Mitch McConnell read the verdict into the record.” The voice in fact belonged to John Roberts, US Chief Justice since 2005.

Roberts sounds nothing like McConnell, a fact which, given the important speaking roles played by both men in the Senate impeachment trial, you could not miss if you had watched but one half-day’s proceedings or a single major news report on it.

It seems obvious that announcers, reporters and newsreaders need to make a habit of monitoring foreign news sources. But it look like media people does want to play mas and fraid powder.

i95.5fm’s Don Lee is one of those who errs in believing that he can get names right by using his eyes and not his ears. His day job is as a radio sports announcer; on the side, he butchers people’s names, T&T’s Michelle Lee-Ahye and Kyle Greaux and Manchester United’s David Degear being consistent casualties.

His latest victim is 19-year-old Australian Under19 batsman Lachlan Hearne, who contributed a half-century to the daunting 318 total his team posted against Kimani Melius’ Under19 West Indians on Friday.

Photo: When the media attacks…
Segway cameraman Song Tao (right) inadvertently floors legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt during his 200m final celebrations at the 2015 World Athletics Championship.
(Copyright BBC)

Lee’s completely phonetic pronunciation, replicated on TV6, was wrong. Remember late T&T radio sports announcer Ken Laughlin? The Aussie’s first name is pronounced exactly the same, LOCK-LIN.

How do I know that? I watched the truncated match on TV. Why would I not?

But if after donkey’s years of getting things wrong, you still have your job, what is the incentive to start doing the work now?

After all, aren’t you doing your bit to keeping TT media completely classless?

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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  1. Give Don Lee one thing, he is consistent in his mispronouncing of most names that he reads. I find myself shouting at the radio every time I hear his sport report.
    Is it that they don’t care, or are they even aware of what and how he does it.