Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pardon My Correction

As is this column’s custom at year’s end, we look back at the best,
or worse, or most convoluted, or contrived, or outrageous, or
downright silly newspaper corrections.

This is not an exercise in professional self-loathing. We have been
proud to be a member of the honorable company of journalists for
nearly 50 years.

Rather, it is acknowledgment that in a business that operates at a
chaotic pace and is referred to by its practitioners as “the daily
miracle,” mistakes are made. And some are funny.

These corrections, amassed from various web sites and personal
research, represents the winners of our coveted 2012 Mea Culpa awards
which we bestow annually on nobody in particular.

In the past, we have confined our winners to those in print
journalism. But we had to salute our brethren in television for
botching one of the most anticipated news events of the year.

We refer, of course, to CNN and Fox News for breathlessly breaking
the news that Obamacare had been declared unconstitutional by the
Supreme Court. Which of course was not the case.

Both networks eventually recovered but not before being forever
remembered for dribbling the ball off their foot while the entire
world watched. Ah, the pitfalls of “breaking news.”

Other winners:

“An earlier version of this article claimed that journalists at
Bloomberg Businessweek could be disciplined for sipping a spritzer at
work. This is not true. Sorry. We must have been drunk on the job.”
The Economist.

“An article on Monday about Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two
college students with Asperger syndrome who are navigating the perils
of an intimate relationship, misidentified the character from the
animated children’s TV show “My Little Pony” that Ms. Lindsmith said
she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, the nerdy
intellectual, not Fluttershy, the kind animal lover.” The New York

“In the September profile of Chelsea Clinton, “Waiting in the Wings”
by Jonathan Van Meter, Dan Baer was mistakenly identified as an
interior designer. He is deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State.”
Vogue magazine.

“I misspoke this evening on the Special Report panel. I suggested
that Godzilla was less destructive than King Kong. And everyone knows
that it’s the other way around. I apologize for any offense to the
Kong family or to Godzilla’s fans — or victims.” Jonah Goldberg,
National Review.

“Talking about performing in the musical ‘The Who’s Tommy,’ the actor
and singer Michael Cerveris said, ‘I couldn’t sing it all when I got
the job.’ An article on Mr. Cerveris in the latest Friday Journal
incorrectly quoted him as saying, ‘I couldn’t sing at all when I got
the job.’” Wall Street Journal

“François Mitterrand, the former French president, is reported to
have said that Margaret Thatcher had the mouth of Marilyn Monroe and
the eyes of Caligula — not Stalin, as reported in an earlier version
of this article.” The Globe and Mail.

“In a March 2 ‘Future Tense’ blog post, Torie Bosch misspelled the
science fiction award won by writer Bruce Sterling. It is of course
the Hugo Award, not the Huge Award.” Slate

“A column by Glenn Garvin on Dec. 20 stated that the National Science
Foundation ‘funded a study on Jell-O wrestling at the South Pole.’
That is incorrect. The event took place during off-duty hours without
NSF permission and did not involve taxpayer funds.” Miami Herald.

“Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the
number of years E.B. White wrote for The New Yorker. It was five
decades, not centuries.” The New York Times.

“In our story on London Hosts, it was stated that the 'Pub 80'
concept probably appealed more to the younger drinker or those
looking for bad food. This should, of course, be 'bar food'. We
apologize for any embarrassment caused." -Morning Advertiser

"Just to keep the record straight, it was the famous Whistler's
Mother, not Hitler's, that was exhibited at the recent meeting of the
Pleasantville Methodists. There is nothing to be gained in trying to
explain how the error occurred." -Titusville (Pa.) Herald.

“An article on Tuesday about the birthrate of stars in the universe
misstated the sound made by pressure waves coming out of a black hole
in the galaxy NGC 1275. The sound is that of a B flat 57 octaves
below middle C, not 27 octaves.” The New York Times.

Due to a typing error, Saturday’s story on local artist Jon Henninger
mistakenly reported that Henninger’s band mate, Eric Lyday, was on
drugs. The story should have read that Lyday was on drums.” The

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