It’s a bit depressing as a Canadian to say this, but the people handling the Twitter account for the CBC have been exhibiting for months now, on a weekly basis, a carelessness one doesn’t associate with their fine network. I grew up with the CBC, it taught me how to spell, how to play, everything about hockey, and made me feel like I was part of a community of people that stretched from coast to coast even if I had never gone to other parts of the country. Unfortunately, there is often a blatant disregard for grammar that goes from being comical to at times even bordering on insulting on CBC’s Twitter feed. And yes, grammar does matter. Particularly by the press. And no it doesn’t matter that it’s “only Twitter”, a pathetic excuse I’ve often heard when talking about news outlets on Twitter. Whether you like them or not, a news organisation with the pedigree and standards that the CBC has should not be making mistakes as often as it does, even on social media.
I’ve started retweeting these tweets, calling them the “CBC Ridiculous Grammar and Photo Tweet of the Week”. For the most part they demonstrate a shocking, stupefying lack of even the basics of elementary school grammar which result in unintentionally comical tweets that are fun to share. But today’s tweet felt different because if you’re aware of what’s been going on in the United States, and I have to assume that the CBC is, you’d have to be quite frankly not very bright (ok, a bumbling idiot) or intentionally and unsuccesfully trying to be witty to not notice their error. I can tell you as someone who lived in the US for a long time and still has family and friends there that this recent tweet’s bad grammar and horribly insensitive photo are insulting. I’ve posted it below. Not because bad grammar in and of itself is insulting (although I do personally think it can be extraordinarily depressing) but because in this case, the failure to notice the grammatical error has painted the title of this article and its tweet as potentially comical which could be taken as inappropriate at a time when this particular wound in American society is very much unhealed, I’d say even exposed, untreated, raw and getting infected to be more precise. It causes a –…laugh…oops, I shouldn’t be laughing at this — reaction and several replies to the tweet mocking the grammar prove that a lot of people have seen the same thing. And then, what exactly is the point of THAT photo with THIS story? That black people are mean and confrontational and white people are innocently just trying to stay out of their way with a smart-ass smirk on their faces? Is there anyone that photo doesn’t offend when tied to this particular story? What may seem like just a dangling modifier speaks to a larger problem by the network of not realising the sensitivity required to properly address this unfortunate news item from yesterday, especially in the midst of recent events in the United States. I don’t care if the story came from Reuters, you’ve got editors. Change that headline.
Come on, CBC News and CBC Social, wake up.