Jul 062011

ABC’s This Week featured an unusual graphic during one of the program’s round-table discussions last Sunday. When host Christiane Amanpour described Ben Franklin as “perspicacious,” up popped the definition, pronunciation guide helpfully included.

Entertainment Tonight writer Ken Tucker found that insulting and appalling. “It’s also a depressing, dismaying precedent to set,” he wrote, for the network to feel the need to define what he decribed as “a fairly ordinary word.”

Most of the commenters on Tucker’s post took issue with him. Several said it was helpful of ABC to have posted the definition of a word many of them didn’t know. But I have to wonder. At what point is context not enough to provide understanding? Who decides what words the audience needs to have defined for them?

Maybe there’s something else going on here. Perhaps ABC was trying to send Amanpour a message?

Cue in 6:20 and listen to the discussion. See if you think the definition was necessary.


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