(Washington, DC — December 8, 2016) – A team member from WUSA-9, Washington’s CBS affiliate, shares something special with the country’s 44th president.
That’s not necessarily a good thing.
Those who have listened to the countless non-scripted addresses and interviews given by President Obama (D-IL) since 2009 may have noticed his tendency to use an “uh …” to fill his conversation’s natural pauses.
“That’s just not the thing to do with regard to public speaking,” said a public affairs specialist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “When giving a presentation or speech, you simply pause when you need to pause. You don’t say ‘um …’ or ‘uh …’ or ‘mmm …’ or ‘mmm-hmmm …’ to fill the gap. You just make no sound at all.
“President Obama is a great orator, so it’s a shame no one ever coached him on this.”
Never having a formal name, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently “honored” the president by formally naming the condition Uh-bama Disease. The definition of its symptoms is simple:
- The desire to insert one or more instances of the word “uh …” when pausing during a sentence.
Instances of Uh-bama Disease are far from isolated, and it has been revealed that WUSA-9’s Larry Miller is afflicted with the condition. While this has been known for some time, it was on display front-and-center this morning as Miller served as a temporary co-host for the station’s Wake Up Washington program.
“It was a horror,” said a local TV critic, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And this wasn’t a 10-minute horror. This went on from 4:30am – 7:00am. Between the mispronouncing of every fourth word and the non-stop use of ‘uh …’ through the broadcast, it’s a wonder that viewers didn’t just throw their televisions out of their windows. Or just shoot their televisions. Or themselves.
“You’ve just gotta ask the question of WUSA-9 management: What the hell were you thinking?”
WUSA’s decision is even more puzzling when you consider that Miller suffers from an eponymous condition: Larry Miller Disease. Symptoms include:
- The compulsion to refer to something as “breaking news” even though the news was “breaking news” 13 hours ago
- The use the term “kiddos” to refer to children
- As a traffic newsman, the desire to tell viewers to “add a few minutes to your commute” when a “few minutes” won’t matter because normal traffic is the worst in the nation
Indeed, Miller started at WUSA-9 in February 2015 as the morning traffic reporter, presumably because of the early hours – meaning less viewers – and the relatively short segments of air-time.
“It didn’t matter,” said the local TV critic, speaking on condition of anonymity. “People still noticed he was afflicted with Uh-bama Disease. Some days it was worse than others. It wasn’t unusual for him to say ‘uh …’ 10 or 12 times during a 90-second segment.”
But that all changed on March 16, 2016 – the day when Washington’s Metro system shut down entirely for one day due to safety concerns.
“That was just too much for him to handle,” said a WUSA-9 staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The number of ‘uhs …’ increased exponentially while dealing with that catastrophe. I’d say he was doing at least 30 ‘uhs …’ during those 90-second or two-minute segments. It just ruined him.”
Shortly after the Metro shutdown, Miller was moved from traffic duty to being a general assignment reporter, appearing infrequently on the morning TV show.
“I’m sure he a nice guy and a competent journalist,” said a media consultant, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But he should not be put in the anchor’s chair at a television station. And the station’s upper management should know this.
“It’s just a bad idea all around. It’s like putting Jack Kevorkian in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services. Or like putting Donald Trump in the White House. Oh, wait … “