Another casualty of media and social media idiots - Meteorologist fired over simple mispronunciation

Feb 2011
16,409
5,713
Boise, ID
#1
Fired weatherman accused of using racial slur says he didn't even know what he said

Kappell was fired last Sunday after saying a racial slur on a January 4 broadcast. During the station's Friday night broadcast, Kappell said "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a downtown park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.
Numerous media sources continue to misquote this guy. He literally did not say "Martin Luther Coon Park." That is false. He said "Martin Luther Kun- (self-correction) King Junior Park."

Why does that matter?

That word Junior, which he said, but the media reporting on this are leaving out or failing to report accurately, is important, because combination of "King Junior" is how a person can accidentally say Kun- instead of King. The "oon" sound in the word junior was the phoneme is what he jumbled by transplanting it into the word "King." Any linguistics academic or speech pathologist can understand how these speaking errors are made when reading text. They happen all the time when you're reading aloud. To read aloud fluently, your eyes read slightly ahead of the words you're actually saying and sometimes you accidentally transplant a phoneme from one word into the preceding word. This is why he said "Martin Luther Kun- Junior -- King Junior.

The reaction from social media and others automatically assuming racism, including the people who fired him, apparently don't understand the basic linguistics of the error and, while it was unfortunate given the connotation, there is absolutely zero doubt in my mind this was a complete accidental utterance with zero racist intent whatsoever.
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
44,043
30,582
Toronto
#3
Honestly, someone who works as a professional presenter on television should he able to speak and pronounce words cleared at all times. Reasonable expectation, in this case, I think. Even if actually FIRING for it is a tad extreme lol
 
Jan 2015
43,966
12,071
Great State of Texas
#5
Honestly, someone who works as a professional presenter on television should he able to speak and pronounce words cleared at all times. Reasonable expectation, in this case, I think. Even if actually FIRING for it is a tad extreme lol
People on TV mispronounce words and say stupid stuff all the time.

This more than just a story of someone misspeaking a word.
 
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johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
24,687
17,188
Colorado
#7
Honestly, someone who works as a professional presenter on television should he able to speak and pronounce words cleared at all times. Reasonable expectation, in this case, I think. Even if actually FIRING for it is a tad extreme lol
We're human beings.

I don't know, perhaps a few of us have learned how to be so damn robotic that mistakes and human error are offense worthy of condemnation.
Mistakes are how we learned as children and continue to learn as adults.
What we learned here is a mixed signal.
 
Nov 2010
23,156
14,833
#8
I thought it was ridiculous to fire him over that, since he immediately corrected it and said King anyway. Who knows, there may be a history of racism with this guy and it was more of a freudian slip than just a misspeak.
 
Nov 2007
1,700
802
Prague, Czech Republic
#9
Honestly, someone who works as a professional presenter on television should he able to speak and pronounce words cleared at all times. Reasonable expectation, in this case, I think. Even if actually FIRING for it is a tad extreme lol
Slips of the tongue happen. The former British Secretary of Health, Jeremy Hunt, has had the first letter of his surname accidentally mixed up on live TV more than once without anyone being fired. And those slips were much more likely to represent underlying thinking than this hapless weatherman.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
24,687
17,188
Colorado
#10
I thought it was ridiculous to fire him over that, since he immediately corrected it and said King anyway. Who knows, there may be a history of racism with this guy and it was more of a freudian slip than just a misspeak.
Who knows, maybe his boss has a history as a psychologist and made a decision based of his understanding of Freud. /eyeroll

Or as learned by psychologist since Freud, it could be a linguistic slip - a sequencing conflict in grammar production. Usually caused by inattention, incomplete sense data or insufficient knowledge.
 
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