Since Sarah Palin was tapped as John McCain’s running mate, everything from her family to her hair to her glasses has been scrutinized. Today, CNN targeted her phonetics.
The network pointed out the word “nuclear” was spelled phonetically as “new-clear” in the text of her convention speech. While a camera shot caught the text of Palin’s speech in the prompter, CNN says the script handed out to the press still had the phonetically spelled out word in it.
It is not uncommon for broadcast writers to script words phonetically for talent. In fact, news personalities are known to get angry at writers and producers who do not phonetically spell out words which are easy to fumble when reading a prompter during a live broadcast. However, CNN portrayed the phonetically scripted word “new-clear” as a way Palin would spell the word herself.
Seemingly anxious to connect the Alaskan governor’s pronunciation of the word to President Bush’s famously mocked pronunciation, CNN’s Jeanne Moos showed how Palin could not pronounce “nuclear” correctly either without a phonetic guide. Anyone who reads a teleprompter needs a little help now and then. Just ask Larry King.
The evening before Moos criticized Palin’s pronunciation of the word “nuclear,” King became confused when he attempted to read the word “misogynistic.” King invited left wing filmmaker Michael Moore on his program and discussed campaign issues. He read a question for Moore from an e-mailer:
KING: And we have an e-mail question from Rebecca in Jackson, Tennessee: “Michael, I’m a fan. I’m glad you brought attention to so many important issues, but why didn’t you support Hillary?
If more media people like you had supported Hillary instead of being — I don’t know. I don’t know what this word is, misogynistic — a new word for me — “maybe we would have a Democratic president in 2008.” I was reading it the wrong way.
MOORE: It’s never too late to learn a new word, or a new behavior.
KING: I know the word. I was reading it as — like some sort of disease.
MOORE: Well, it is a disease.
The irony drips away. A phonetic spelling in the teleprompter could have saved King from such a gaffe. Audience members would have never known, because who allows outsiders to see an anchor’s phonetic aides in a script? Moreover, would CNN ever question if Joe Biden or Barack Obama could “go nuclear on the opposition?” The media, however, has different standards for someone like Sarah Palin.