Even Arnty can’t spell

ABC errs in what has become a much wider problem       13 July 2006

Apparently we live in a world where no one gives a stuff about spelling?

Even the ABC is guilty.

Last night, they aired a TV news story about Hellfried Eric Sartori and a radical cancer treatment that may or may not have been administered to patients at the house of a Mosman Park doctor. It has the hallmarks of ignorance and desperation taking people on a tragic course – death.

That is serious. Trivial perhaps is a spelling mistake I spotted on the news report but I believe it goes further.

While watching the screen I noticed part of the ABC’s vision showed a computer screen with information about cesium chloride, the stuff allegedly injected into the patients-victims.

Chloride was spelt ‘cloride’. This wasn’t an ABC error, it was the error of the alleged perpetrator.

Now I know the Americans are pretty advanced in their complete massacre of the English language but if you were a cancer sufferer wanting to believe in a cure, wouldn’t you want the person offering it to be able to spell the stuff he’s going to bung in you?

Sartori called it cloride. It appears a convenient excuse for those who can’t spell that it doesn’t matter. Sorry, it does.

Later, on The 7.30 Report, there was a story about fishing and the reporter was on board a trawling boat. In one of those cute little The Hunt for Red October moments, there was a grid reference typed over the screen, showing the boat’s position by latitude and longitude.


Latitude had three t’s:‘Lattitude’. It wasn’t a one-off, the boat went to three locations and three times viewers were advised of the lattitude’ by the super imposed wording. This was an ABC mistake.

For God’s sake. When the ABC can’t get it right, what hope do the public have?

Surely, there are checks and balances like the old-fashioned sub-editors and readers that newspapers used to have. If a newspaper is the publication of record in its area, its staff should be honour-bound to get things right.

Similarly, the ABC has a wider area of concern. It is publicly funded to educate and entertain Australia and should get basic things like spelling latitude right.

The only saving grace is, so far, no one died because of it.

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