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That's whack.
October 3, 2002 7:19 AM   Subscribe

That's whack. CNN Headline News general manager Rolando Santos told the San Francisco Chronicle this week that he's looking to mix "the lingo of our people" -- words like "whack" and "ill" -- into newscasts to attract young people.
posted by pizzasub (54 comments total)

 
as in "Boy, this network is out of whack and I think the general manager is ill in the head"?
posted by tittergrrl at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2002


Finally! Speaking as someone from that hard to reach demographic, I can tell you that there just aren't enough dope, fly, or even ill 24 hour news stations.
posted by Newbornstranger at 7:24 AM on October 3, 2002


What's whack is CNN Headline News's 1/3 of the screen taken up by flashing headlines. I hate CNN.com and CNN.
posted by gramcracker at 7:24 AM on October 3, 2002


Rudi Bakhtiar will have my baby, intrusive swirling orange-blue gradients meshed with weather patterns in Des Moines next to cheesy headline puns aside.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:26 AM on October 3, 2002


Oh the sheer dopeness of that. I hope Santos has a license to ill. How do they peep the lingo to get down wit? By show of gang-signs? Yo yo yo... Larry King in da haus!!

People are idiots. Word.
posted by timbley at 7:30 AM on October 3, 2002


CNN's decent into shamelessness continues. First they grovel before conservative wingnuts. Then they dig up Connie Chung from has-been central and give her a prime-time cheeseball show. And now they want to go all Stuart Scott with the news? Beyond pathetic.
posted by crookdimwit at 7:31 AM on October 3, 2002


I think we ought to do the same thing here.
MetaFilter: 24-7 whack.
posted by ChrisTN at 7:31 AM on October 3, 2002


Language changes. It's foolish to fight it.

CNN, however, should be wary of looking like a bunch of 55-year-old male and 40-year-old female newsreaders trying to sound like 18-year-olds. I can't think of anything that would turn off a young audience more.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:32 AM on October 3, 2002


If you need a slang dictionary, you can't possibly be cutting-edge. Just report the damned news, fast and often... that's what people want :P

It'd be pretty funny though if CNN became the arbiter of cool, instead of MTV.
posted by Foosnark at 7:33 AM on October 3, 2002


I think the accepted spelling is "wack." Whack means to hit.
posted by sklero at 7:35 AM on October 3, 2002


I was almost positive this had to be a hoax, but Rolando Santos appears to be the real thing. Yikes.

I would love a newscast where the anchor says "Yikes!" or "Gracious!" after every story. See to it Rolando.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:35 AM on October 3, 2002


"Oh, no! A prison break!"

"Well, girls, like you young people like to say - let’s get jiggly with it!"
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:37 AM on October 3, 2002


Or rather, to whack means to hit.
posted by sklero at 7:37 AM on October 3, 2002


CNN IN THE HIZZZZ-OUSE!!!!!

YO, CNN RAPS!!!!!! NEXT ON C IZ-N IZ-N!!

Forget James Earl Jones...call Jay-Z pronto!
posted by byort at 7:46 AM on October 3, 2002


The moment this policy went into effect, two things would happen.
1) CNN will see its core older demographic shrink.
2) "Wack" and "ill" will be excised from the vocabulary of every 17-year-old on the continent. Assuming 17-year-olds still use those words anyway, which I kind of doubt.

I kind of wonder if this isn't just an internal CNN joke, reported by the newspaper as serious. I mean, "Please use this guide to help all you homeys and honeys add a new flava to your tickers and dekkos"?
posted by ramakrishna at 7:51 AM on October 3, 2002


Word.
posted by SiW at 7:54 AM on October 3, 2002


maybe their newscasts will be more like this now (once again the Onion is ahead of the pack...)
posted by stifford at 7:57 AM on October 3, 2002


Anytime anybody uses the word "lingo," you know there's gonna be trouble.
posted by JanetLand at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2002


I would hope that this is a joke, too. But if that's the case,
The Washington Post has been duped, too, yo.
posted by pfafflin at 8:07 AM on October 3, 2002


oh Snap!
posted by fatbaq at 8:12 AM on October 3, 2002


Maybe they should just speak more naturally, as opposed to newscasterly. Slang is just common speech. It sounds absurd when you use slang words in non-slang speech. "Excuse me, Tom, but I believe your opinion is wack."

Actually, the most entertaining news-type language thing is when the show has its own slang. The Sport Junkies are a radio show with fun slang. Various TV shows (NYPD, West Wing) have some of their own slang, and it makes for good entertainment.
posted by callmejay at 8:14 AM on October 3, 2002


And the news ticker will be presented in IM style:

"Shoe bomber 2 pleed gil-T ... Huricane Lili hits LA :( ... But cane loses strength on land :) ... Suicide blast in Philipines leaves ppl rof, not lol ... Your watching CNN Headline News"
posted by eatitlive at 8:14 AM on October 3, 2002


I'm very sorry for even referencing GYWO. I can't help it:

"Our top story tonight: Operation Enduring our Freedom to Bomb the Living Fuck out of you is in the house!"

Again, sorry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:19 AM on October 3, 2002


"News-Speak" = "Newspeak?"

Let the institutionalized destruction of language begin (or perhaps accelerate)!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:21 AM on October 3, 2002


old Larry King: "Oshkosh, Wisconsin Hello!"
new Larry King: "yo yo Oshkosh, Wisonsin wattup beyotch!"
posted by pallid at 8:30 AM on October 3, 2002


Dayum, that crazy cracka mus' be frontin sumpin' hardcore, yo.

AACK!! I need Holy Water -- FAST!
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:32 AM on October 3, 2002


Free ODB! Give him an anchor spizzot!
posted by bivouac at 8:42 AM on October 3, 2002


/rotflol at all the funnies!
posted by ericableu at 8:42 AM on October 3, 2002


What? A corporate executive making a half-assed, clueless attempt to make his stale product more relevant?

Never thought I'd see the day, first the fat boys break up and now this!

Ps. I notice alot of the mocking slang being posted here is of the yo wazzup beeeotch! variety, which is MTV/Whiteboy slang and not hip-hop or urban, real slang of all types is actually often melodic and poetic, which is why people use it. This is what CNN wants, but is not going to get.

peace and love on the playground and I'm audi 5000.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:43 AM on October 3, 2002


[on CNN tonight]
Talking Head A: "Bush announced that Saddam Hussein will get his ass kicked real soon."
Talking Head B: "Word!"
A: "And that if he doesn't get UN support he will put a cap in Saddam's ass on his own."
B: "You da man!"
A: "Damn straight!"
B: "And now for our weather forecast...Carl?"
C: "It gonna rain!" (obscure Family Guy reference)
posted by grum@work at 8:44 AM on October 3, 2002


How utterly exhausting! I can see it now "A chicken-head and her chiquita were involved in a fatal crotch-rocket accident early this morning... " I grew up in the inner-city and moved to the burbs when I was 17 and a junior in high school. It wasn't until then that I realized that if I wanted to be taken seriously and have anyone believe I had any amount of intelligence, I needed to realize that there was a time and a place for everything. The news is no place for slang. Foo.
posted by foxyfoxinsox at 8:46 AM on October 3, 2002


"what going on with the weather, Ted?"

"there's a 50% chance of drizzle, my schnizzle..."
posted by stifford at 8:48 AM on October 3, 2002


Never thought I'd see the day, first the fat boys break up and now this!

The Fat Boys may break up, but you know they can never be wack.
posted by soyjoy at 8:51 AM on October 3, 2002


first the fat boys break up

That's fine.. 'cause the surviving original FBs will be returning to do the news on Headline News. Sadly, the late Human Beatbox will not be able to bust out the Headline News theme.

"Brrrr. Stick'em! Ah-ha-ha-stick'em!... and now this message..."
posted by tittergrrl at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2002


CNN is already doing this. I shit you not, but a few weeks ago I, during a story about someone who died of encephalitis brought on by West Nile virus, the headline was INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE. I am not kidding you. I couldn't believe my eyes. GREAT!
posted by luriete at 8:57 AM on October 3, 2002


luriete, last summer, CNN titled their stories about the Midwestern states' wildfires as "Blazing Arizona."

They can't get worse than that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:59 AM on October 3, 2002


This just in
CNN.com: Gangsta Edition
posted by fatbaq at 9:16 AM on October 3, 2002


When'd Fark start writing CNN-HN's headlines? Dude! Sweet!
posted by cinematique at 9:22 AM on October 3, 2002


I notice alot of the mocking slang being posted here is of the yo wazzup beeeotch! variety, which is MTV/Whiteboy slang and not hip-hop or urban, real slang of all types is actually often melodic and poetic, which is why people use it. This is what CNN wants, but is not going to get.

Slang might sound poetic to the people who use it often, just like German sounds beautiful to Germans. To the rest of us it sounds ridiculous. CNN-HN has made a lot of bad decisions recently. I wonder what's next?
posted by Hildago at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2002


I want my GoogleTV.

Hopefully they would be immune to the seemingly inevitable morphing into self-parody.
posted by canucklehead at 9:42 AM on October 3, 2002


To attract younger viewers, CNN might do better to look at content rather than presentation. If younger people don't watch the news, it's because they don't feel it affects their lives. CNN might frame stories with the implications of what is being reported on the lives and futures of young people, even in a time period geared toward younger viewers (between their two primary channels, they have 48 hours a day of programming--can there really be no room for this?).

Also, rather than offering a series of reports absent of context, perhaps CNN could look at offering at least the major stories framed in historical, policital, or social contexts that allow one to grasp the complexity of a subject. Without this, we see that many people assume that once they have heard the headline or the 30 seconds of reporting on CNN, they have a grasp of a story and can offer an opinion; not only do they offer an opinion despite a poor understanding of the subject, but public relations organizations use this fact in strategy. I think the news channels in general have gotten off too easy with the perception that they are offering a great deal of news and information, when actually they offer the viewer the illusion of a quick and easy way to grasp what are often complex issues. Also, they are not particularly honest about the limitations of the TV medium; they propose that all we need to know can be offered within the time and format constraints of TV. CNN's website is little more than the same superficial coverage we find on the channel (with polls added, again stroking the viewer's self-perception of knowledge sufficient to make an informed decision). At least PBS, even with stories given in-depth treatment on television, will offer Internet links that foster a deeper understanding that can't be gained on TV alone.
posted by troybob at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2002


Foxyfoxinsocks: It wasn't until then that I realized that if I wanted to be taken seriously and have anyone believe I had any amount of intelligence
Don't laugh, my girlfriend is finishing her masters in speech pathology and they are trained (in the case of children) to reinforce their speech the way its spoken at home. Including "ebonics" and a whole host of vernaculi.


We haven't seen the last of this.
My peepz.
posted by dr_dank at 9:55 AM on October 3, 2002


New CNN anchors?:


posted by byort at 9:58 AM on October 3, 2002


nigga pah-leeze.
posted by fuq at 10:08 AM on October 3, 2002


woah, my bad dawg, forgot to peep my spizz-ellin'!
niggah pah-leezze.
posted by fuq at 10:09 AM on October 3, 2002


Bogus!
posted by jonmc at 10:48 AM on October 3, 2002


dr_dank: Indeed. Surely children need to feel validated BUT I would still argue that there is a time and a place for everything. In the real world, stereotypes run rampant. It's been my experience that slang and improper English do make people take you less seriously and doubt your intelligence.
posted by foxyfoxinsox at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2002


ABC news late at night used to do this. There was a two-hour news broadcast from 2:30am to 4:30am every weekday. The anchors were pretty funny, too. I don't know if they still broadcast news late at night anymore - I don't stay up till all hours drinkin' like I used to. But it was pretty entertaining, in an incredibly lame way, back then. Better than infomercials, anyway.
posted by acridrabbit at 11:54 AM on October 3, 2002


It's just a pity that this happened after Bernie Shaw and Lynne Russell left.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:01 PM on October 3, 2002


Yes, using slang in the workplace makes you look like an idiot to your peers. I can't count the number of times we've quietly made fun of co-ops whose every second word was "Yo". "Yo, dude, yo your yo printout yo is yo ready yo." What a bunch of yo-yo's.
posted by timbley at 12:03 PM on October 3, 2002


This is simply reason 14,942 not to get your news from TV, particularly not from CNN or Headline News. Never has so much been said about so little; 24-hour-a-day news does nothing but encourage sensationalism and rampant speculation. Combine that with a context-free approach, as was remarked earlier, and a screen layout seemingly designed for a kid with ADHD, and I'll take my news from print sources (not Gannett, though), thank-you-veddy-much.
posted by UKnowForKids at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2002


"Dum as hell" is slang isnt it?
posted by shamelesselitist at 1:36 PM on October 3, 2002


Hell of a good joke though. You get "news" from TV? There's a load of codswallop. Sitting there with their Phrase Finder:
http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/meanings/235250.html

Should we be greatful CNN hasn't decided to go UK?
http://www.krysstal.com/ukandusa.html

And Connie Chung, there's a marshmallow. Don't get me started.
posted by alicesshoe at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2002


let's get jiggly with it!

Dang! Does this mean I have to stop saying, "I'm jiggy with that"? Oh you krazy kidz.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:42 PM on October 3, 2002


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