Two things I hate the most are local news anchors trying to chat up stories they don't know anything about, and people who comment on movies or TV shows they haven't seen.
So it's especially galling when both those things happen at the same time.
And it happened last week on KUTV-Ch. 2's 10 p.m. newscast. After reporting on the 17 teen girls at Gloucester High in Massachusetts who got pregnant half of them admitting that it was intentional and part of a pact they'd made Ch. 2 anchors Shauna Lake and Mark Koelbel did what local news anchor people do. They chatted about the story.
Koelbel mentioned Jamie Lynn Spears, the 17-year-old, unwed star of Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101" who gave birth last week. Lake pointed to two popular movies as possible contributing factors.
"Now, some blame the trend on films such as 'Juno' and 'Knocked Up,' arguably pro-pregnancy films that show young unwed mothers," Lake said.
Excuse me, but the only people who could argue that either "Juno" or "Knocked Up" are "arguably pro-pregnancy films" are people who haven't seen them.
Coincidentally (perhaps), Lake's comments echoed those of CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller, who cited "Juno" and "Knocked Up" as movies that "deal with teen pregnancy" and "appear to take away the stigma."
That's just flat wrong on both counts. The title character in "Juno" is clearly stigmatized; the character in "Knocked Up" is a career woman in her 20s. And she has a hard time of it, too.
And neither movie is exactly a fairy tale. The teenager in "Juno" is a smart-aleck who plays tough, but she has a very tough time throughout the film. And it's clearly traumatic for her when she gives her baby up for adoption.
The woman in "Knocked Up" struggles with her unplanned pregnancy as well. It adversely affects her career, her personal life, her family life.
Yes, it's a comedy. And, yes, there's a Hollywood happy ending but that only comes because the guy who got her pregnant manages to grow up before the end of the movie.
Is it possible that "Juno" and "Knocked Up" somehow affected the teenagers in Massachusetts? Maybe. They were, after all, dumb enough to get pregnant intentionally.
Of course, there was no reporting done that any of the 17 girls had seen either of the movies ... so it's just idle speculation.
I know this is going to sound like I'm picking on Lake, but that's not the case. This is just one example of the sort of happy talk that afflicts seemingly every local news anchor in America.
And I'm not suggesting that Lake or any other anchor is supposed to be well-informed about everything. But if you don't know what you're talking about, don't talk.
I don't review TV shows that I haven't seen. That would be not only dishonest but unfair to both the people who produced the show and the people who might watch it.
And it's certainly neither accurate nor fair to say that "Juno" and "Knocked Up" were "arguably pro-pregnancy films."
That's unfair to both the people who produced those movies and the people who might want to watch them.And it doesn't do anything for your credibility.