Did a television anchor use a form of the “N-word” in a report about Tiger Woods and a hot-dog wielding fan this past Monday?
One angry viewer insists that she did. And a video of the alleged incident spawned a debate resulting in an on-air apology the following day, despite the fact that the anchor still maintains she didn’t say what one angry viewer is convinced that he heard.
First, a little background: on Sunday, a 31-year-old fan threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods on the seventh green during a PGA tournament. The footage was not televised, in the hopes that goofy fans wouldn’t try to imitate the stunt. (The dog tosser, incidentally, was arrested for disturbing the peace.)
On Monday morning, an anchor at WDRB-TV in Louisville, a Fox affiliate, reported the story, and in the on-camera tag at the end of the story, allegedly said, “This n—a blamed the hot dog on some of his poor performances lately, maybe.”
Her news director insists she said nothing wrong: “I can understand where people may have misunderstood what she said. But she said nothing wrong, she does not have a racist bone in her body.” He also says that he doesn’t think she used the slur, “but rather stumbled on the words — at least.”
I don’t know how you’d confuse even a stumble over the words at least for a five-letter version of the N-word.
Here’s the video. What do you think?
But wait: it gets better.
On Tuesday, the anchor apologized for saying something the station insists she didn’t say to begin with.
“Yesterday a viewer contacted us over a comment that I made during this newscast. I want to assure everyone that the comments I made were misunderstood. I do apologize, though, if any viewers were offended.”
That wasn’t good enough, reports NewsBlues, for a 19-year-old student who insists he heard the slur, and after an invite to the station where he could listen to the tape there didn’t convince him, he complained to the NAACP.
That night, the station led two of its evening newscasts with the story. The anchor in question was interviewed in the story itself, and clarified what came out of her mouth:
“I stumbled, but what I said was, ‘This…he can blame the hot dog on some of his performances lately.'”
When I listen again, I actually can hear that. Her news director’s explanation, that she stumbled over the words at least, holds no water, because I don’t hear anything that even sounds close to that. But I can hear a he can run together as almost one word.
Obviously, she started to say one thing, then changed thoughts in the middle of the sentence, which would explain the errant this off the beginning. People do this all the time. It’s just that you don’t normally see it on the news because they’re usually reading their script on a TelePrompTer.
Unfortunately, had I watched the show live, I would have assumed that I really did hear what that student thought he heard.
The news director remains adamant that action would have been taken if she had actually used the slur:
“If Lindsay or any other employee said something offensive on the air, they would no longer be employed at WDRB.”
I have no doubt of that. In this day and age, that word doesn’t belong anywhere, no matter who is saying it and no matter what color that person happens to be.
If they really thought she had said the word, they would have — at the very least — suspended her. Especially when you consider that more than a third of Louisville viewers are black. That’s a sizable chunk of the audience, of whom, apparently, only one person seems to have been offended.
What do you hear when you play the video? Can you make out only the N-word, or can you also hear that she may well have said a run-together he can?