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December 21, 2009 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Top news errors & corrections of 2009.
posted by Saxon Kane (42 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bear sighting: An item in the National Briefing in Sunday’s Section A said a bear wandered into a grocery story in Hayward, Wis., on Friday and headed for the beer cooler. It was Thursday.

Heheheh.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


A Nov. 26 [Washington Post] article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

. . . Wow. Still, just think what a story that would've been if it were true: Public Enemy sees into the future!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "Public Enemy sees into the future!"

That's not a clock Flav is wearing. It's a control panel.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:53 AM on December 21, 2009 [16 favorites]


Best Photo Fakery

New York Times Magazine:

A picture essay in The Times Magazine on Sunday and an expanded slide show on NYTimes.com titled “Ruins of the Second Gilded Age” showed large housing construction projects across the United States that came to a halt, often half-finished, when the housing market collapsed. The introduction said that the photographer, a freelancer based in Bedford, England, “creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.” A reader, however, discovered on close examination that one of the pictures was digitally altered, apparently for aesthetic reasons. Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com.


Credit where credit is due! *cough*unixrat*cough*
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2009 [17 favorites]


I've enjoyed the Washington Post correction immensely since I heard about it and was baffled how a journalist could report that Public Enemy called 9/11 a joke without noticing that the album came out in 1990. In turns out that the author knew what "911 is a Joke" refers to and her article was correct. A less hip-hop savvy copy editor changed 911 to 9/11.

It's a dumb mistake, but much less so than I originally thought.
posted by justkevin at 11:55 AM on December 21, 2009


Great year-end wrap-up, but not mentioned in the piece is how Metafilter commenters exposed their "best photo fakery" entry (the New York Times Magazine photos of half-finished abandoned housing with obviously-faked symmetry in the photos).
posted by Asparagirl at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2009


mumblecouldhavejustpointedtohuffingtonpostmumblemumble
posted by edgeways at 11:59 AM on December 21, 2009


Asparagirl: yes, it's there. Continue reading.
posted by hippybear at 12:02 PM on December 21, 2009


ON 17 July 2008 in our front page article “Ron the Lash” we falsely reported that whilst recovering from an operation to his ankle Cristiano Ronaldo had “gone on a bender” at a Hollywood nightclub where he splashed out pounds 10,000 on champagne and vodka and threw his crutches to the ground and tried to dance on his uninjured foot. We now accept that Cristiano did not “go on a bender”, did not drink any alcohol that evening, did not spend pounds 10,000 on alcohol, nor throw his crutches to the floor or try to dance.

Details, details...
posted by Spatch at 12:02 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I prefer Cristiano before the correction. If somebody wrote something like that about me, I'd let it stand.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"In referring to activities at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last weekend, the caption read in part, “Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates and other general authorities raise their hands in a sustaining vote. . . .”"

My coworkers love this one.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:09 PM on December 21, 2009


My favorite links at this site so far are the 2009 plagiarism report and the catalog of 2009 "major errors."
posted by bearwife at 12:18 PM on December 21, 2009


hippybear: "Asparagirl: yes, it's there. Continue reading."

That correction is listed. But MetaFilter is not credited, which is what she's bemoaning.
posted by Plutor at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2009


One problem: the Lego giraffe does not have a penis. People were stealing its tail. The confusion arose because the German word "schwanz" commonly means tail, but is also used as a "a vulgar term for the male member."
posted by uncleozzy at 12:27 PM on December 21, 2009


Bear sighting: An item in the National Briefing in Sunday’s Section A said a bear wandered into a grocery story in Hayward, Wis., on Friday and headed for the beer cooler. It was Thursday.

Funny, I don't remember visiting Hayward, but most of August was kind of blur anyway.
posted by The Whelk at 12:28 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is just hilarious. I can't believe no one caught it:

The original article provided the incorrect location of New York University’s new institution. It is in Abu Dhabi, not Abu Ghraib.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:34 PM on December 21, 2009


I am still laughing at "People were stealing its tail." Especially given the amount of detail (and number of euphemisms) that went into describing the giraffe penis...
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 12:39 PM on December 21, 2009


Have had a soft spot for the Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc who was the subject of the winning apology from Murdoch rag The Sun ever since reading of this incident:
CELTIC star Artur Boruc was hailed a hero last night after rescuing a pregnant Pole from racist thugs.
The brave goalie saved Magda Kucko, 27, who is due to give birth within days, after she was attacked by three louts and their vicious Doberman dogs.
Last night, she said: "Artur is a very brave man, a hero. I cannot bear to think what might have happened if he had not been there for us. We will never forget his courage."
The thugs taunted Magda with vile racist abuse before assaulting her as she walked through a Glasgow park with her sister and brother-in-law.
By chance, Artur was nearby. He angrily confronted the gang - one woman and two men who threatened to release two snarling Doberman dogs - in Elder Park, Govan.
Magda's terrified brother-in-law Janusz Lizok, 39, had his ear bitten by one of the men, who then punched him to the ground.
And Magda fell after being struck on the back of her head by a beer can thrown by the female thug, who kicked her in the back.
Her sister Halina, 39, was punched in the face.
But 6ft 4in Artur, rushed to the group's aid after hearing desperate Magda's cries for help during the attack in Govan.
He had been visiting his cousin - a neighbour of the family - and managed to free Janusz, 39, before angrily confronting his attackers, who fled.
The big-hearted star insisted on driving Magda, whose baby is due on Wednesday, to hospital in his car. Last night modest Artur, 27, played down his courage claiming: "I am not a hero. I just did what any ordinary person would have done."
posted by Abiezer at 12:41 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh, yes. dec sure can!
posted by the aloha at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Sweden didn't make the cut?

*ducks*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2009


These are fun. But under "Favorite Apologies" we have:
The Independent (U.K.):
In our article ‘Wikiworld’ (3 February 2009) we repeated several claims about Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder: that he had a company that dealt in “soft porn” and was short-lived: that he had had to defend himself against “allegations from former colleagues that he used Wikipedia as a personal piggybank”: that he faced controversy over his age and “doctored his own Wikipedia entry to knock it down a couple of years: and that there had been speculation and board in-fighting about Wales’s relationship with the organisation. Jimmy Wales has pointed out that we repeated allegations which have no truth and we apologise to him for this.
It is an interesting apology in that it repeats allegations which it does not deny, and then apologizes vaguely for "allegations which have no truth." And it would have to do that, since all of the allegations it lists are actually true. Heh. But of course Jimmy called them and asked them to apologize, so they did.

I think that what's sad is that they clearly didn't fact-check, so they didn't have the balls to stand up for the story even though it turned out to be correct.
posted by koeselitz at 12:58 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am glad to see they caught all the errors in Vogue Knitting.
posted by bearwife at 1:00 PM on December 21, 2009


hee hee
posted by koeselitz at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2009


I apologize for the fact that you are stupid, ugly, and probably aren't even reading this.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Spatch: “ON 17 July 2008 in our front page article “Ron the Lash” we falsely reported that whilst recovering from an operation to his ankle Cristiano Ronaldo had “gone on a bender” at a Hollywood nightclub where he splashed out pounds 10,000 on champagne and vodka and threw his crutches to the ground and tried to dance on his uninjured foot. We now accept that Cristiano did not “go on a bender”, did not drink any alcohol that evening, did not spend pounds 10,000 on alcohol, nor throw his crutches to the floor or try to dance.”

Could've just said "he plays for Real Madrid;" it's more insulting, and it happens to be true...
posted by koeselitz at 1:08 PM on December 21, 2009


Wafergate. This is the best bad journalism Canada can come up with?
posted by GuyZero at 1:10 PM on December 21, 2009


"A story Saturday about Home Hardware signing on with Jim Balsillie’s bid to bring an NHL team to Hamilton got the number of people employed by the chain wrong. Home Hardware has 18,000 workers, not six million. We apologize for the error."

Hahahahah.
posted by yeti at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2009


I'm very happy that this gem of a correction about a Minneapolis City Council candidate made it onto the list:
Editor’s note: Some of the claims made by Charles Carlson included in this article were later found to be untrue. Several months after this story was printed, Carlson admitted he had lied about officiating tennis in the Beijing Olympics, and had also lied about growing up in England and having a personal connection to the Clintons. Hillary Clinton never shared her crème brulee torte with him. Carlson grew up in the United States–not in England. Carlson claims he was a communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but The Minnesota Daily has been unable to independently verify this. See a Daily article about Carlson on March 2 for details about these inaccuracies.
He also claimed to have graduated from Exeter and Princeton, and spoke with an English accent.
posted by miyabo at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2009


The Daily Mail made a memorable correction years ago. In an article about a certain soldier it described the man as "the bottle-scarred Colonel."

The offended Colonel naturally wrote an angry letter demanding an apology and a correction.

The newspaper complied and the following day wrote: "We mistakenly described the Colonel as 'bottle-scarred'. We regret the mistake. The sentence should have read: 'The battle-scared Colonel...'".
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:25 PM on December 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


I really liked that one, miyabo. My favorite line in any of the corrections, in fact, came from there - the stung clarification, fairly dripping with disappointed expectations, that: "Hillary Clinton never shared her crème brulee torte with him." It doesn't hurt that 'sharing your crème brulee torte with someone' happens to sound startlingly like some sort of sexual innuendo.
posted by koeselitz at 1:37 PM on December 21, 2009


(probably Not Safe For Work): Beloved Aunt
posted by stevil at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2009


During the editing of this Review of the Week by Richard Smith (BMJ 2008;337:a2719,doi:10.1136/bmj.a2719), the author’s term “pisshouse” was changed to “pub” in the sentence: “Then, in true British and male style, Hammond met Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, in the pub and did a deal.” However, a pisshouse is apparently a gentleman’s toilet, and (in the author’s social circle at least) the phrase “pisshouse deal” is well known. (It alludes to the tendency of men to make deals while standing side by side and urinating.) In the more genteel confines of the BMJ Editorial Office, however, this term was unknown and a mistake was made in translating it into more standard English. We apologise for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
I love how wildly insulting that is. 'Yes, we're apologizing, but you're going to be sorry you ever asked us to apologize!'
posted by librarylis at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty good place to buy pee, if anyone's been left hanging by the Chester Zoo.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:23 PM on December 21, 2009


I got sad when I got to the point where they withdrew the Jimmy Wales information because Jimbo told them it wasn't true - some of it is true, certainly, and he merely big-dick-swung a retraction/apology out of them. At least they made it clear it was Wales indicating so, and not research on their parts.

The fact that this was the case made me feel that some of the other retractions might have been merely the subjects angrily accusing the newspapers and the newspapers cowing, and then I felt sad.
posted by jscott at 2:31 PM on December 21, 2009


I'm stuck by the thought that papers could probably draw a lot of eyeballs by publishing all their corrections & retractions in a column going down the entire length of their front page.

I mean, think about it. Not only would they be providing an astonishing level of integrity, you would be seeing all these snippets out of context. This would pique interest in the full original story, and possibly attract some regular readers.
posted by Decimask at 4:02 PM on December 21, 2009


Home Hardware has 18,000 workers, not six million.

You should see the correction they had to make on their story about the Holocaust.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:12 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


There was a legend (probably apocryphal) about a local news anchor many years ago where I grew up who never read his copy ahead of time, but while reading it on the air would sort of scan ahead. Anyway, one night his eye fell upon what appeared to be a racial slur against someone of Chinese ancestry, and he edited himself on the fly. And so, out into the living rooms of tens of thousands of Southern Saskatchewan homes was broadcast the following:

"...Lester Pearson has found a Chinaman in the armour of John Diefenbaker..."
posted by evilcolonel at 4:46 PM on December 21, 2009


Needs more passive-aggressive corrections.

We are sorry that some of our readers were offended.
We regret that readers may have misunderstood our noble intentions.
We're so sorry for using such big scary words.

Needs more of that old WaPo/NYT editorial condescension, in other words.
posted by rokusan at 4:46 PM on December 21, 2009


"...Lester Pearson has found a Chinaman in the armour of John Diefenbaker..."

No, that totally happened and man, it was the inter-racial sex scandal of the decade.
posted by GuyZero at 4:51 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am glad to see they caught all the errors in Vogue Knitting.
posted by bearwife


Well that explains a hell of a lot about these socks, then.
posted by Biblio at 4:54 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Sun (U.K.):

SURREY Police have not blamed gipsies for an attack on their force helicopter, no staff in their operations rooms were threatened by gipsies and no gipsy site was being targeted for a raid as we reported on May 14. We apologise for the mistakes and are happy to set the record straight.


Oh yeah, the "mistakes".
posted by atrazine at 9:28 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


While some of the British corrections are entertaining in their thoroughness, it is probably the strict British libel laws that require them to be so, rather than any inherent wit of the British press.
posted by dhartung at 11:42 PM on December 21, 2009


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