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Thread: Journalism boo-boo

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    Journalism boo-boo

    Yesterday, on public radio it was reported that Michelle Kwan ( the victim was actually Monica Kwan) was a victim of the renegade LA cop who went on a killing rampage. Of course, there was a retraction on today's show with no explanation as to how such a mistake was made. In neither report was anything mentioned about figure skating, but hearing it startled me and caught me off guard for a moment. I remember Bruce Willis on the Tonight Show calling Michelle, Nancy Kwan, who is an actress. Poor Michelle.

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    Poor Monica.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Monica Quan, a basketball coach at California State University - Fullerton. Her father represented Mr. Dorner in an internal Los Angeles Police Department investigation a few years ago.

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    Thanks, Math. Do you notice how it hurts more when we know their names? But it's important to know the names, because then we remember the human dimension. I'm certainly relieved it wasn't our Michelle, but it's terrible that it's anyone at all.

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    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Condolences to the family of Monica Quan. :(

    Accidental use of an incorrect (but superficially similar) name is an understandable -- although unfortunate -- phenomenon, IMHO. A matter of human error with no malicious intentions in most, if not all cases, I believe.

    Other examples from the media:

    Most in the U.S. (at least those of a certain age) easily recognize the name of Cicely Tyson, a distinguished African-American actress with a career spanning several decades.
    Meanwhile, the Philadelphia area for many years has had a local TV weatherperson/personality by the name of Cecily Tynan, who is white.
    Accidentally referring to Cecily Tynan as Cicely Tyson is an all-too-easy (and innocent) mistake to make -- even though the two have no physical resemblance, and are well-respected in entirely separate professions. (I'm not saying that Tynan's own colleagues are prone to this error, but it has been known to happen in other circumstances.)
    I'm no neuroscientist, but I think the cause must have something to do with Tyson's name being so deeply embedded in many brains that her name can slip from one's lips even though the speaker means no disrespect to either woman and is well aware that they are two different people.

    At the time of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya was Prudence Bushnell, whose name was not familiar to the average American. Amb. Bushnell of course was dealing with a very serious and upsetting situation.
    In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, I recall an American journalist on live national television accidentally referring to Amb. Bushnell as Candace Bushnell, who was and is something of a pop culture icon for her book Sex and the City.
    Again, I'm sure that the journalist knew perfectly well that the two Bushnells are not one and the same. The journalist's brain and mouth just had a momentary disconnect.
    Last edited by golden411; 02-21-2013 at 02:08 AM.

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