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VIEWPOINT: Kevin Martin's Bad Grammar

By: Ted Hearn, Multichannel News

Former FCC chairman Kevin Martin gave up power Tuesday but not before dashing off letters, releasing reports and issuing fines aimed at his favorite target: the cable TV industry.


Leave it to Kevin to think he could get a cheap cable-bashing headline or two out of the varsity media during a slow news period like the Obama inauguration.


In one of his letters-sent Jan. 19 to a few Capitol Hill lawmakers-Martin took umbrage at a slight contained in last month's House investigative report into his management skills while running the FCC the past four years.


The report, issued by staff of former House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell, concluded in one part that an internal FCC document was so "well-written" it could not have been the product of someone on Martin's staff.

"Any implication that `well-written' decisions must originate outside the [FCC] is an insult to the [FCC's] dedicated professionals," Martin complained.


But elsewhere in the letter, Martin himself committed a few high-school-level gaffes with the language, which seem to concede that maybe that snarky House report had a point.


For example, Martin complained that the House probe was "entirely disinterested" in whether certain reports were factually accurate. He meant "uninterested." Disinterested means unbiased, neutral.

He made two mistakes in this phrase: "If a bomb was detonated in San Francisco or a earthquake occurred in Los Angeles ..."

He meant "were detonated." That's called the subjunctive mood, used when speculating.


And he meant "an earthquake." That's called forgetting to use spell check.


Conclusion: Between you and I, Kevin Martin has a grammar problem.


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