CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The only surprising part about last week's "Jeopardy!" drama was that it didn't happen sooner.
For those who might have missed it, "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek was taken to task over controversy that erupted after a 12-year-old contestant on a special children's edition of the popular game show misspelled his answer during Final Jeopardy.
The question was to name the document, which took effect in 1863, that Abraham Lincoln called "a fit and necessary war measure."
The answer was the Emancipation Proclamation, but Thomas Hurley III, an eighth-grader from Newtown, Conn., spelled his response "emanciptation" and his answer was ruled incorrect.
Even if Hurley had spelled the word correctly, he was still too far behind the leader to have won, so while his mistake ended up costing him $2,000, it was not what prevented him from being the champion. Still, that didn't stop the fury from being unleashed, with many claiming the boy had been cheated, including Hurley's parents.
Many of those complaining said the spelling error wasn't that bad, that he was fairly close, that you could tell he knew the correct answer, so that should've been enough.
In a country where every child gets a trophy, where everyone's a winner all the time, regardless of effort or skill, I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that we've reached a point where we're wanting to also reward "close enough."
Some said Hurley clearly knew the correct answer, but not how to spell it, so it should've been accepted. But for the show to accept anything less than correct would mean that from that point forward, a barely recognizable or incomplete answer would have to be considered, with judges having to guess at the contestant's intent or depth of knowledge.