Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Media | Oops

June 21, 2005

Corrections 5/30-6/19

Scrabble editorials; a small but important omission; socialist socialites; and other enlightening and entertaining media corrections.

Carl Bialik

Every week, Gelf combs through media corrections for the funniest and most enlightening. Sometimes journalism reveals more in its mishaps than in its success. Gelf makes mistakes, too, and when we do, we'll disclose them here.

The text in italics is Gelf's; everything else is a direct quote from the publication.

Correction Extras

•The Virginian-Pilot called into question much of its own front-page article about a local biker making what he said was a Memorial Day pilgrimage in honor of his Vietnam vet Dad. The father contacted the paper and said he never served in Vietnam, giving rise to this follow-up article/correction (the original article isn't online anymore). All this raises the question: Did the paper attempt to contact the father before running the feature, which included such conclusive, unattributed statements as "Stanley's dad was an Air Force pilot aboard a plane that crashed deep in the heart of 'enemy country.' Of the nearly dozen crew members, those who didn't die on impact became North Vietnamese prisoners. Only those who escaped the camp, including Stanley's father, made it home"? An email from Gelf to the reporter wasn't returned.

•In the last Oops, Gelf wrote about the Guardian's apology for an article linking British army officers to Abu Ghraib. Here's the Guardian's public editor, Ian Mayes, on the libel.

•Palm Beach Post ombudsman C.B. Hanif rounds up recent typos and grammatical errors that apparently didn't rise to the level of demanding corrections but are nonetheless "bum steer." Among the flubs: a tennis headline referring to "whomever wins," a reference to Australia's Sidney Harbor Bridge, and an article about a severed "spinal chord."

•The Miami Herald's Michael Putney has a message for Miami-Dade commissioner Dennis Moss: "Get a grip. The news media in general and The Herald in particular are not out to get you." This is prompted by what Putney says in an overreaction by Moss to a Herald editorial chiding him for an apparent flip-flip but also mistakenly characterizing an aspect of his position. "The Herald acknowledged its error the next day in what the managing editor from my Herald era once described as the paper's longest-running feature, 'Corrections & Clarifications,' " Mr. Putney writes. "The correction, however, didn't stop Moss from going ballistic." Among other things, Moss said, "Do you know that only 19 percent of people in Miami-Dade read The Herald?"

•In a spoof corrections column, the Ballyhoo Examiner writes, "An article in our LifeStyle supplement last Wednesday titled 'How To Really Satisfy Your Lover' had to be left out shortly before going to press due to space reasons. Our apologies to Thomas Clifford from Mooneghara."

More Attribution Problems at Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 3: A review of the Class Notes column that appears on Sundays in Community News indicates repeated instances in which sentences and paragraphs were taken from press releases and included in the column without attribution. The information should have been attributed. Sun-Sentinel policy requires that staff, interns and freelance contributors attribute or credit material from other sources.
In the last Oops column, Gelf wrote about rampant borrowing of whole paragraphs by a high-school intern at the Sun-Sentinel. That may have sparked an internal inquiry into other possible cases of plagiarism. (An email from Gelf to Sun-Sentinel public editor Gail Bulfin wasn't returned.) Meanwhile, South Florida's New Times looked more closely at the teenager's plagiarism. "The story of how it all happened provides a glimpse of how two of the nation's most competitive newspapers can work together if need be—and more important, how the increasing pressure on youngsters to do an adult job can damage newspapers' reputations and the kids themselves," Chuck Strouse wrote.

No Comment

St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 12: An editorial regarding the city of St. Paul's Sales Tax Revitalization program in Friday's Pioneer Press incorrectly indicated that that City Council President Kathy Lantry did not return our calls seeking her comment. In fact, Lantry did return our call promptly and we mistakenly ran an incorrect version of the editorial. We regret that the editorial did not include the comments of Lantry, who was the catalyst for the sales tax compromise worked out between state lawmakers and the city. Under the compromise worked out with members of the St. Paul legislative delegation, the mayor agreed paying off unrelated city debt with STAR funds was a stretch of the legislative intent of the program. The senators agreed these are trying times for the city. The practice will be phased out over the next four years. In addition, the city can use 20 percent of STAR funds—on top of the $3.4 million it has been using for debt—to buy land and expand the city's tax base. "To have a $3.4 million hole in our budget equates to a 5 percent property tax increase," Lantry said. On the related issue of the use of Neighborhood Investment Fund money, Lantry said she understood the concerns being raised by the STAR Board, a group of citizens that makes funding recommendations. The board asked council to use NIF money to pay for four projects that the STAR program lacked the money to cover. The council voted no.
Gelf can see why it would have taken some work to insert Lantry's comments because her no-callback was the editorial's kicker: "City Council President Kathy Lantry didn't return our call seeking comment. That's unfortunate, because we have some good advice for the council: Disband the NIF program. It smells of rank ward politics."

Accepting an Interpretation

Slate, June 3: In the May 26 "Chatterbox," Timothy Noah said Paul Begala received preferential treatment from the Washington Baseball Club in securing season tickets to the Washington Nationals baseball team. In fact, he did not.
Slate includes a more thorough explanation of what happened, based on an email from Begala that reads as follows: "I was assigned not-very-good-seats. I turned them down. Then my wife's friend, Ruth, said her friend Pete (are you following this?) had six good seats and was looking for someone to split them with. Since we have four boys, six was perfect for us. But we did not pull any strings. Instead, I turned to a higher power: my wife's friend Ruth's friend Pete, whom my wife saw at a neighborhood party. I've no idea how Pete got 'em, but I assure you I had nothing to do with it."

Chicago Tribune, June 5: In a main news section article May 29 about the National Weather Service, a bill by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) was characterized as prohibiting agency officials from disclosing information to the public before it is issued via commercial providers. In fact, that is one interpretation of the bill, by its critics.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 7: A headline on Page B8 Saturday incorrectly characterized a new crime-fighting policy in St. Paul. City officials say the policy targets neighborhoods, not black gang members.

The headline in question isn't online, but according to Nexis, it was, "St. Paul's plans to target black gang members is called discriminatory." Yet as the lead paragraph noted, characterizing the plan as such is, "a charge the deputy mayor strongly denied."

Minimizing Our Mistakes

National Post, June 17: A headline in yesterday's National Post suggested that Senator Janis Johnson applauded derogatory comments made about the Maori and Asian immigrants before a Senate committee by New Zealand's High Commissioner to Canada, Graham Kelly. In fact, Senator Johnson is well known for her work in the aboriginal community and the headline in no way reflected her personal views. Although he praised the Maori people in his formal remarks to the committee, in response to questions afterward Mr. Kelly made derogatory comments about New Zealand's indigenous people. In response to further questioning, the High Commissioner was also critical of Asian immigrants to his country. Senator Johnson says she only intended to characterize Mr. Kelly's formal presentation as "excellent," and that she was not referring to his comments afterward.
The correction's wording suggests that the headline was ambiguous and was also the article's only error. In fact, the headline read, "Senator applauds New Zealander's speech insulting aboriginals, Asian immigrants." The article said, "Senator Janis Johnson called High Commissioner Graham Kelly's presentation to the upper chamber's fisheries and oceans committee 'excellent,' immediately after Mr. Kelly told senators the Maori—New Zealand indigenous people—were 'eating each other' when they first arrived in the country." Judging by this correction and the next, the National Post doesn't exactly have a full-disclosure mentality about righting wrongs.

National Post, June 3: In a letter to the editor from Andrew Burrowes in Tuesday's National Post, a quotation from a previous letter-writer, Robert Randall, in Mondays Post, should have read "prejudice against homosexuals ... should not be tolerated in this country, even when masquerading as 'religious freedom.' " A word was incorrectly omitted in Tuesday's Post. The Post regrets the error.

Regret the Error pointed out, "And what word did they omit? Why the most critical one in the quote, of course. Here's how it originally (and incorrectly) ran in the paper: 'Mr. Randall should be thanked for unwittingly exposing the deceitfulness of the Liberal assurance that Bill C-38 will pose no threat to our religious freedoms. His opinion, doubtless shared by most supporters of this legislation, is that "prejudice against homosexuals ... should be tolerated in this country, even when masquerading as freedom of religion." ' "

Deep Mistakes

Washington Post, June 2: A June 1 article on reaction to the confirmation that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was the Watergate source known as "Deep Throat" incorrectly said that Patrick J. Buchanan called Felt a "traitor" in an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball." Buchanan said that Felt had no personal loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon, "so I don't consider him a traitor in that sense."

Baltimore Sun, June 2: A photo caption in the Sun Digest on Page 2A of yesterday's editions erroneously said that former FBI officials W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller were pardoned for convictions in the Watergate scandal. They were convicted for authorizing illegal break-ins during an investigation of the Weather Underground antiwar group.

Slate, June 3: In the May 31 "Today's Blogs," Rachael Larimore wrote that bloggers were "nonplussed" by the outing of Deep Throat. She meant to say bored. Nonplussed means perplexed or bewildered.

Los Angeles Times, June 3: An article in Wednesday's Section A about the disclosure that Watergate source Deep Throat was retired FBI official W. Mark Felt said Felt was later involved in illegal activities. The article should have specified that the illegal activities occurred during the Watergate era of 1972 to 1973 and that Felt was convicted in 1980 of authorizing break-ins without warrants in investigations of a radical antiwar group. President Reagan pardoned Felt.

Chicago Tribune, June 4: In Thursday's main news section, an entry in a graphic timeline of events related to the Watergate scandal erroneously suggested that on July 24, 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to turn over tape recordings of conversations made secretly in his office despite a Supreme Court ruling that he must do so. In fact, the president agreed to comply, but said doing so would take some time.

Detroit Free Press, June 4: In Wednesday's Local News section, a sentence in Brian Dickerson's column referred to the impeachment and resignation of former President Richard Nixon. The House Judiciary Committee adopted articles of impeachment, but Nixon resigned before the full House could vote on the committee's recommendation that he be impeached.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 4: A story Wednesday concerning the Watergate investigation misstated the date of former President Richard Nixon's resignation. Nixon gave a televised speech on Aug. 8, 1974, announcing his intent to resign. On Aug. 9, 1974, he signed the official letter of resignation.

Wall Street Journal, June 6: The Friday editorial-page feature "Deep Secret?" by Leonard Garment stated that W. Mark Felt Jr., recently revealed as "Deep Throat," served time in prison for authorizing illegal break-ins during the 1970s. In fact, Mr. Felt was fined $5,000 but was given no jail time; he later was pardoned by President Reagan.

Oregonian, June 7: A June 2 letter to the editor, "Ethics, morals decay in our nation," incorrectly stated, "President Nixon was impeached . . . because of Watergate." Nixon was not impeached. In late July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment, "charging the president with obstructing justice, misuse of presidential powers and defying committee subpoenas." Nixon resigned the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974.

Guardian, June 7: The 1972 break-in at the Democratic party HQ was at an office in the Watergate building. We mistakenly said, in a picture caption accompanying Bob Woodward's article on Mark Felt, that it had taken place at the Watergate Hotel, which happens to be in the complex ('Secrecy at all costs, no talk about me...' G2, page 2, June 3).

Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 8: A timeline on Page A9 June 1 incorrectly identified the five Watergate burglars. They were Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzales, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis. Indicted later in the burglary were E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy.

Does That Mean the Reporter Misheard the Word Over the Telephone?

New York Times, June 18: Because of a telephone transmission error, a front-page article yesterday about Walt Disney's plans to serve shark's fin soup at its theme park in Hong Kong misstated the species of another Asian culinary delicacy, which had been seized by the authorities. It was pangolins, a type of anteater, not penguins.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 12: A quotation from the Rev. Lawrence Biondi concerning stem cell research that appeared in Deb Peterson's column on June 5 was obtained from a source who was present at a meeting on June 3 with Biondi. The item may have given readers the impression that Peterson was present at the meeting and heard the comment herself. Peterson did not check with Biondi after getting the quote from her source. A story about Biondi's position on stem cell research appears in today's Metro section.

Baltimore Sun, June 1: A brief Associated Press obituary for Andrew Toti, published in the March 29 editions, incorrectly reported that he invented the inflatable life vest known as the Mae West. Instead, U.S. government records show that the late Peter Markus patented the vest in 1928 and sold it to the military years before Toti offered an unpatented design improvement.

New York Times, June 1: An article on May 23 about an appearance by Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, on "Meet the Press" on May 22 included an incorrect reference by the program's host, Tim Russert, to the interview. It was Dr. Dean's second national television interview since his election as head of the party. (He appeared on April 20 on "The Tavis Smiley Show," on PBS.)
The incorrect reference may have come from Mr. Russert, but the original article didn't bother to attribute it, stating: "It was the first national television interview Dr. Dean has granted since he was elected chairman in February, and the appearance is part of the party's orchestrated effort to raise his profile. "

Wall Street Journal, June 7: This article carried a dateline of Bentonville, Ark., implying that the reporter attended Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s annual meeting. The reporter monitored the meeting remotely via a Webcast.

Sacramento Bee, June 16: A news digest item about Alessandra Junious on Page G3 of the June 9 edition contained a quote from Junious that was made to freelance writer Paul E. Pratt. Pratt should have received credit for his contribution to the item. Junious was not interviewed by The Bee.

Washington Post, June 16: A June 15 article about a man who died after waiting 14 minutes for an ambulance in Fairfax County incorrectly indicated that the incident was first reported by WUSA-TV (Channel 9). It was first reported by WRC-TV (Channel 4).

Dallas Morning News, June 8: A story in Wednesday's SportsDay section about the resignation of Oklahoma State athletic director Harry Birdwell incorrectly appeared under the byline of staff writer Keith Whitmire. The story was from The Associated Press.
The error was apparently made only in print, not online.

Great Minds Think Alike

Sacramento Bee, June 6: In the June 5 editorial "Idleness v. employment," The Bee urged the Legislature's budget conference committee to defeat a proposal that would have gutted California's prison industry program. That proposal would have removed the current requirement that state and local agencies buy prison-made products. Committee members deleted that provision from the budget bill last Thursday, according to committee staff. The Bee regrets the error.
The Bee's editorial had some strong language, like calling the already deleted provision "a stunningly dumb idea." As for the editorial's argument that prison work must continue because of its importance in filling state coffers, Gelf will leave it to readers to decide the merits.

Reports of Their Deaths Were Greatly Exaggerated

San Francisco Chronicle, May 29: In last Sunday's Datebook, an article about summer movies mistakenly referred to "the late Eli Wallach." Wallach is alive.

Boston Globe, June 3: Because of an editing error, a Page One headline yesterday on a story about a fourth patient possibly contracting the rare brain disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy after being treated with Bigoen Idec Inc.'s multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri incorrectly referred to the case as ''a fourth death." The patient is still alive. In the three earlier, confirmed cases, two patients died and one is alive.

Chicago Tribune, June 9: A Metro section story in some Wednesday editions incorrectly reported that Matthew Wheeler, 21, was one of three men killed in a fire in the 1400 block of West Barry Avenue. The erroneous information had been released by the office of the Cook County Medical Examiner. In fact, the office had made no final determinations about the identities of the three fire victims, but confirmed Wednesday that Wheeler was not among the dead.

Every Man, Woman, and Child Voted Twice

Washington Post, June 4: The TV Column in some editions of the May 26 Style section incorrectly said that the "American Idol" competition received more than 500 million votes from viewers that week. The series received more than 500 million votes from viewers this season.

Better Late Than Never

New York Times, June 19: An article on May 15 about the growing number of public school teachers who are paid $100,000 or more a year misstated the proportion of such teachers in the Great Neck school district in 2003, the latest year for which figures were available. It was 25 percent, not 24 percent. This correction was delayed by an editing lapse.

New York Times, June 14: A music review on May 12 about the Young Concert Artists benefit gala at Rose Hall in Manhattan misidentified the marimba player for whom Kevin Puts composed the work performed by Naoko Takada. It was Makoto Nakura, not Ms. Takada. This correction was delayed by a miscommunication between the concert publicist and the reviewer.

Bloomberg Comes to Grips With the Limits of His Powers, June 19: A report last Sunday about the wedding of Emma Beth Bloomberg and Christopher Paul Frissora included an outdated reference to the time and place of the ceremony. After the section had gone to press, The Times learned that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the bride's father, officiated on Friday at a small private marriage ceremony at Gracie Mansion. The mayor's spokesman later said the change became necessary when the mayor's office learned that Mr. Bloomberg's legal authority did not extend to North Salem, N.Y., where the mayor performed another ceremony, symbolically, on Saturday.

Somewhere, Crazy Eddie is Laughing Maniacally

New York Times, June 17: An article on May 28 about an Australian woman convicted by an Indonesian court on a drug smuggling charge misstated the original name of a company founded by an Australian businessman who said he was helping to pay for her defense. It is Crazy Ron's. (The name was changed to Mad Ron's in 2003 because of a trademark dispute with a competitor, Crazy John's.)

Unit Analysis

Toronto Star, June 2: A graphic in Thursday's Your Home section refers to using a six-cubic-yard wheelbarrow. Now, that would be one very large wheelbarrow. It should be six cubic feet. The Star regrets the error.
As usual, the Star wins points for a sense of humor, headlining this item, "Giant wheelbarrow unneccessary after all."

New York Times, June 8: An article on Sunday about India's growing need for energy misstated the country's rate of consumption. It is the equivalent of 538 million tons of oil per year, not per day. A correction in this space yesterday included an erroneous reference to the rate. It represents the use of energy from all sources, including wood and charcoal, not just oil.

New York Times, June 8: An article on Sunday about training exercises at Fort Lewis, Wash., that help troops confront situations they might encounter while guarding detainees in places like Abu Ghraib gave incorrect dimensions in some copies for an outdoor compound used at the base. Because of an editing error, a correction in this space yesterday also misstated the size. The compound is 200 feet square -- not 200 square feet or 200 yards square.
What does '200 feet square' even mean? This outmoded measurement term is used to state that the compound is 200 feet x 200 feet—in other words, 40,000 square feet, or a little bit less than an acre.

Globe & Mail, June 14: A graphic on medicare comparing Canada to other countries in June 10 editions incorrectly listed the totals of MRI units and CT scanners in Canada and seven other countries as number of units per 1,000 people. The figures were in fact for the number of units per million people, meaning that Canada has 4.5 MRI units per million people and 10.3 CT scanners per million people.

Dallas Morning News, June 11: In an Overnight article and photo caption on Friday, the height of Mac Whitney's sculpture being installed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was incorrect. Chicota is 107 inches tall, not 107 feet.

We Got a Second Opinion

CBC News, June 12: A CBC News Online story published on June 12, 2005, reported that Manitoba was the worst place in Canada for people to receive emergency heart attack treatment. A report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information suggested more heart-attack patients died in hospital in Manitoba than in any other province. After revising the numbers, however, the organization says Manitoba was fourth among seven provinces surveyed.

They're Not Mutually Exclusive

Dallas Morning News, June 16: Norma Adams-Wade's June 15 column incorrectly called Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk a socialist. She is a socialite.

Court Briefs: Noted Religion Authorities

New York Times, June 4: An article on Wednesday about a Supreme Court decision upholding a law that requires prison officials to accommodate the religious needs of inmates included an incomplete description of the Asatru religion practiced by some inmates in the case. Based on the brief the Ohio attorney general submitted to the court, the article characterized Asatru as advocating violence by the white race against the "mud races." But other Asatru followers say that the use that some violent and white-supremacist prisoners make of the religion is a perversion of its peaceful and nonracist beliefs.

In Related News, There's a Spokesman Job Available in the Classifieds

New York Times, June 4: An article in Business Day yesterday about the possibility that a fourth patient might have developed the brain infection that prompted two companies—Biogen Idec and Elan—to halt sales of the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri included erroneous information from a spokesman for Elan about its chief executive's knowledge of the case. Yesterday the company said that the chief, Kelly Martin, did not know about the case when he told shareholders at a meeting last week that he was confident Tysabri could return to the market.
The original article reported, "Kelly Martin, the chief executive of Elan, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting last week that he was confident Tysabri could return to the market, remarks that caused the company's stock to rise 11 percent in a day. The report on the fourth suspected case went to the F.D.A. on April 18. Mr. McGlynn, the Elan spokesman, said that when Mr. Martin spoke he 'knew that there was an unconfirmed report and it continues to be unconfirmed.' He added, 'Nothing has happened to make us no longer stand behind the statements he made.' "

Fun With Photoshop

Wall Street Journal, May 31: The photograph of the bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge, Mass., accompanying an article about cellphone coverage in Wednesday's Personal Journal was inadvertently reversed. The Longfellow Bridge should have run from the bottom right of the photo to the Cambridge side.

We're Pretty Sure It Was Tennis and Not Golf

Los Angeles Times, June 4: An article in Thursday's Sports section about the Southern Section boys' championship tennis match between two Fullerton high schools, Troy and Sunny Hills, said it was a Division IV match. In fact, it was Division II. Also, the article said Sunny Hills' Jason Choi won two of three singles sets. Choi lost his three singles sets. In addition, the scoreboard results of the match said Troy's Lawrence Wang lost to Choi, 6-1. Wang defeated Choi, 6-0. The results also said that Wang defeated Lewis Hong, 6-1. The score of that match was 6-3. Finally, the results said Troy's Vim Mahader defeated Sunny Hills' Hong, 6-0. Mahader lost to Hong, 6-0.

Keller Thinks the Guardian Is Pretty Stupid

Guardian, June 13: We referred to Helen Keller as being deaf and dumb when she was primarily deaf and blind. The idiomatic term "dumb" when applied to a speech disability is often now considered to be offensive (Anne Bancroft, obituary, page 29, June 9).
The Guardian also called Keller "deaf and dumb" in a theater review in 2002.

An Invaluable Misquote

Austin American-Statesman, June 16: A story about Mike Geeslin, the new state insurance commissioner on Page C1 of Wednesday's Business section misquoted Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the insurance industry. His correct quote is: "The industry looks forward to working with Mr. Geeslin so we can all move toward the goal of making insurance more available."
What was the original version of the quote? You won't find it on the American-Statesman site. But on Texas Watch's mirror of the original article, it seems the reporter may have had a Freudian slip when transcribing: She had Hanna saying, "The industry looks forward to working with Mr. Geeslin so we can all move toward the goal of making insurance more valuable."

And Tony Dungy Is in Critical Condition After a Heart Attack

Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 14: Because of a reporter's error, a story on the front page Monday on motivational seminars incorrectly described Peyton Manning as a former quarterback. He is the current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.

EX is for Extra-Wrong

Akron Beacon Journal, June 19: First, movie critic George Thomas' list of most memorable film quotes is not in the Premier section as noted on the front page of that section. Second, there is no page EX. Sorry for the confusion. An editor erred. The American Film Institute will release its list Tuesday. Perhaps George and the AFI will go head-to-head in Wednesday's edition.

Does Muzak count?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 7: An editorial Sunday incorrectly stated that "zek" and "zak" were recognized Scrabble words. "Zek" is. "Zax" is. "Zak" is not. The same editorial gave an incorrect Scrabble point total for the word "muzjik," which is worth 28 points; make it plural and you get muzjiks, worth 79 points (50 for using all 7 letters and one for the "s").
Gelf isn't sure why this gibberish is considered valid for Scrabble, nor why any of it appeared in an editorial, but if you were wondering, here are some Web definitions of "Zek," "zax," and "muzjik."

But It Was an Understandable Assumption

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 7: NASCAR did not suspend driver Scott Wimmer after his arrest in North Carolina for driving under the influence. A story in Saturday's Sports section about driver Shane Hmiel should have said that Wimmer's driver's license was suspended. A driver does not have to have a valid driver's license to race in NASCAR.

Perhaps GM Doth Protest Too Much

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 16: The headline on an editorial about GM and the United Auto Workers Monday used the word "clunkers" to refer to poor decision-making by the labor union and the auto maker, not to the quality of GM's vehicles.
The headline writer's intentions notwithstanding, the editorial nonetheless stated, "GM failed to make enough cars that consumers wanted."

Too Much Information?

Cleveland Plain-Dealer, June 5: A story on Page One Thursday about a federal grand jury investigation of coin dealer Tom Noe's Republican fund-raising activities incorrectly implied that a reporter specifically asked Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber whether she was a target of the investigation. Thurber issued a statement Wednesday saying she appeared before the grand jury and cooperated fully, but she told a reporter she would not answer any questions, on the advice of her attorney. She was not asked that specific question until Thursday, when she again refused to comment beyond her statement.
Gelf is all for full disclosure, but how does this matter to anyone?

A Fine Line

Wall Street Journal, June 13: Eric Gibson's "Is It Bye-Bye, Bilbao?" (June 3, Taste page), stated that David Levy, president and director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, had been fired. In fact, John T. Hazel, at the time the chairman of the Corcoran's board of trustees, asked for Mr. Levy's resignation the third week in May, and he resigned on May 30.

Incomplete Disclosure

Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 4: A quote from Gov. Tim Pawlenty that appeared in display text on Page A1 Friday included a parenthetical word that could have been misinterpreted. Pawlenty's quote, about his concern that Attorney General Mike Hatch might have a conflict of interest in representing the administration, which Hatch denies, should have said: "Our attorney can't simultaneously be our political opponent."
This clarification fails to make clear what quote appeared. According to Nexis, the display quote was, "Our attorney [general] can't simultaneously be our political opponent." The "general" didn't help because Pawlenty specifically was referring to Hatch as the administration's attorney, not the state's attorney general.

A Corrected Correction

Miami Herald, June 5: A correction on Page 3A in Saturday's editions of The Herald misidentified the people in the cover photograph of Friday's Weekend section. They are, from left, Rafael de Acha, Stephanie Norman and Mario Ernesto Sanchez.

Deal Not for Real

Chicago Tribune, June 5: In the Deal for Real column in the May 22 Travel section, the price for a "Tour de France" two-night package at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris was not converted from euros to dollars. At that time, the dollar price for a couple was $1,991, not $1,580. Though that still represents a savings from purchasing components separately, the difference is only $271, not $682.

Defeating the Purpose

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 16: Locations for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania's Garden Party and Secret Garden Tour were incorrect in a listing June 9. Both events are actually held at undisclosed locations. Information can be found in the June 16 Bulletin Board.

Spot an interesting correction on television, in a magazine or newspaper, or on a web news site or blog? Or see something that should have been corrected but wasn't? E-mail Gelf with your find.

Carl Bialik

Carl Bialik, a co-founder of Gelf, is a writer for FiveThirtyEight.







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Article by Carl Bialik

Carl Bialik, a co-founder of Gelf, is a writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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