Peak, Peek, Pique

Do editors no longer know anything about grammar and etymology?

I was reading this article ( from +CBS News and once again encountered something that just drives me crazy. Homonyms can drive learners of English nuts, I know, but people who are (supposedly) trained with skills in the language should know just a handful of things about certain words. Editors should be lined up and slapped for not catching the mistakes as well. But then, maybe the problem is that 'those who can't write, edit.' I don't know.

Here is the offending line: _"The full audio of transmissions from White House Communications Agency (which captured the tapes) that day includes 42 minutes edited out of the original public version. It's likely to peak the interest of conspiracy theorists who are already asking why this material was cut out of the original._"

Did you catch the problem here? The author said that the information is "likely to peak the interest of conspiracy theorists." The word is _*'PIQUE!' not 'peak' nor 'peek.' Have we become so diluted in our knowledge of our native language that we no longer know how commonly used words are spelled? Someone might ask, "How is anybody supposed to know which word to use?" The answer is simple: context and definition.

How is the word being used? What is it's purpose in that place? Piquing one's interest is to excite their curiosity, such as with a morsel of gossip, or previously hidden information (such as contained in the tapes, subject of the article). That's obviously what the author meant, but completely missed by using the wrong word. If someone's interest were peaked, it would mean the highest point and greatest momentum had been reached and would henceforth die down- the exact opposite of what the author meant! (Another definition of 'pique' would be to offend, but that is not the context here either.)

Here's the problem with a lot of us: We've heard certain words, but we've never really learned those words. I understand how that works with the general public, but when one is paid to write, paid to use the language, and (dagnabbit!) paid to inform the general public, is it not reasonable that they should have even a cursory acquaintance with the words they use to do so?

So, +CBS News where are your editors? Is CBS News content to contribute to the decay of real knowledge in the pursuit of sensationalized headlines? Edit, edit, edit. Rewrite, edit again. It ain't rocket science, it's journalism. Journalism loses (even more) credibility when these errors are perpetrated and propagated into the public. And it happens on a regular basis. What are you going to do about it, +CBS News?

#grammar #etymology #reporting

Chilling tape from Air Force One on day JFK shot – CBS News
Conversations include one between LBJ and Rose Kennedy; Experts say tapes could stoke conspiracy theory fires