Jeopardy! has been at the center of some negative press recently.
The long-running quiz show rejected an 8th-grade player’s technically correct Final Jeopardy! answer, as he added an extra letter to the first word, spelling it incorrectly.
The game show’s Facebook fan page blew up with fan responses after the incident, with the predominant tone being outrage.
One fan posted: “Shame on you Jeopardy & Alex!!”
The question that Thomas Hurley of Newtown, Conn. was given was as follows: “Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, ‘a fit and necessary war measure.’” Thomas’ answer was “What is the Emanciptation Proclamation,” and that extra “t” after the “p” was enough to count as a wrong answer.
Receiving credit for the response would not have won the game for Thomas, but most fans don’t seem to care about that detail. Alex’s response has a note of condescension in it, and he rubs a little salt on the wound when he points out that eventual record-breaking winner, Skyler Hornback, spelled emancipation correctly.
Fans have been castigating the show, as well as Alex, for their meticulous ruling, with one fan stating: “Come on Jeopardy, this is a quiz show NOT! a SPELLING BEE.”
While I don’t feel that it was necessary to be quite so harsh with Thomas, I can’t say that I believe Jeopardy! was in the wrong on this one. Jeopardy! is a game of knowledge and wits; correct spelling included.
After the original Huffington Post article was released, Jeopardy! producers issued a rebuttal: “If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment.”
Makes sense to me.