There was a time, not long ago, when TV anchor-people and radio announcers were qualified journalists who took personal responsibility for reporting the news as accurately as possible. There are a still a few around in TV, people like Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson here in Canada (sorry, I don’t know who they would be in the USA). I can’t think of any in radio, where the economic pressures and declining listenership have reduced the quality of their hires to “radio school” graduates and their programming to “talk radio” intended to provoke weirdos into calling in with their outlandish and usually stupid perspectives.

Cases in point: One “well-respected” radio news reporter has been consistently presenting the daily Canadian/US currency exchange rate incorrectly. Yesterday she once again quoted the rate as “One Canadian dollar is trading at 1.203 USD”. The first time I heard it I let it go as a slip of the tongue. But then she kept quoting it in those terms every day. “Has the Canadian dollar shot up 20% overnight?”, I asked myself? Of course it hadn’t, the rate was 1.023, in other words one Canadian dollar is worth $1.02 US. She should have been quoting the rate as “One Canadian dollar is trading at 1.023 USD”. And she’s been doing this every day for a week.

This morning, the male talking head reported that actress Elizabeth Taylor had been admitted to hospital with Congenital Heart Failure. No such thing. It’s Congestive Heart Failure. There may of course be a congenital defect (we don’t know), but there is no such thing as Congenital Heart Failure! “Congenital” means present at birth…although it may or may not be genetic, i.e. the heart may be damaged in the womb but is not a familially transmitted disorder.

The number of such goofs appears to be increasing every day, at least on the radio. I guess they no longer have the money for fact-checkers or gaffers. Hey, anyone can make a mistake or a slip of the tongue. But when you hear the mistake repeated day after day……….