To whom it may concern (or not, if what we hear on television every day is any example):Television news is among the most watched programming, and newscasters are the examples America listens to of how our language should sound. Like it or not, news anchors, weather people, announcers and, sadly, to a lesser extent sports announcers are the stewards of the English language. They have a responsibility to their audience to set the example, the standard, of English speech.
Regional accents aside, the language we hear on television and radio should be gramatically correct. After all, these news readers are assumed to have college degrees. Apparently many of them flunked English.
The most glaring misuse of the language we hear daily on television and radio is incorrect usage of parts of speech. That is the most basic understanding that an “educated” speaker of our language should have. Pronunciation of words in our language varies with the part of speech. But every day, people on your programs from anchors to off-camera announcers reinforce the ignorance of the audience by grossly mispronouncing common words. I submit that there is no excuse for it. The deterioration of the language can be traced directly to you in the electronic media. The example you present to the public is tragic.
Following are just a few examples of the words most often mispronounced by you:
complex is a noun [the space launch complex at Cape Canaveral]
complex is an adjective [The students faced a number of complex problems on their mid-term exams.] The only people who should have a complex problem are archetects and psychiatric patients. This word is probably the most often mispronounced by news readers and anchors alike.
protest is a noun or an adjective [anti-war protest, protest gathering]
protest is a verb [The students gathered to protest the court’s decision.] Nine times out of ten the news reader would say “The students gathered to protest the court’s decision.” That is simply incorrect.
conflict, is a noun [Conversation in families may help limit conflict between siblings.]
conflict, is a verb [His principles conflict with his actions.]
compound is a noun [The chemist discovered a new chemical compound.]
compound is a verb [Don’t let your laziness compound your problems.]
Does nobody listen to your broadcasts and give you notes? Are you all just lazy in your speech? Or do you just not know any better?
I will repeat here, because this is the most important point I can make, that you newsreaders/anchors, announcers, sportscasters are the stewards of the English language. You are responsible for its preservation. If the public speak poorly and with incorrect grammar, it’s your fault! You are the example they see and hear every day – not their teachers, not their parents – YOU. And you are letting them down.