April 24, 2004

High-Quality Corrections

Julian Sanchez is happy with the high quality of New York Times corrections these days:

Julian's Lounge: Notes from the Lounge: Radley Balko notes this hilarious correction slated for tomorrow's New York Times:

Yesterday, the Times identified a man on page A21 as a Ku Klux Klan member found guilty of murdering a black sharecropper. Actually, the man was Pete Coors, head of Coors Brewing Company, and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Coors is not in the Ku Klux Klan, and did not murder a black sharecropper. The Times regrets the error.

However, for personal reasons, I want to award the title of "best correction ever" to this one, found by Samizdata's Alex Singleton:

In our report, Life after Living Marxism, page 10, July 8, we referred to the Reason Foundation and said its "leading writer, the syndicated columnist Sandra Postrel, is author of the libertarian book The Enemies Of Freedom and frequently talks at the Hudson Institute". The Reason Foundation points out that no one of that name works at the Foundation or for Reason Magazine. The editor-at-large and former editor of the magazine is called Virginia Postrel. She is a columnist for Forbes and the New York Times but not a "syndicated" columnist. Her book is not called The Enemies Of Freedom. It is called The Future And Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress (Free Press). The Reason Foundation says Ms Postrel has never been to the Hudson Institute and has no connection with the organisation.
Posted by DeLong at April 24, 2004 03:44 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Noooo! They should've said "and has not been found guilty of murdering a black sharecropper".

Posted by: Nasi Lemak on April 24, 2004 06:07 PM

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My personal favourite is:

"Because of an editing error, a front-page article yesterday about diplomatic developments in the Iraq crisis misidentified the Bush administration official who said about the weapons inspectors in Iraq, "At some point it will become obvious that it's time for them to go." It was an administration official speaking on condition of anonymity, not Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser."
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/13/pageoneplus/corrections.html

Posted by: Andrew Kanaber on April 24, 2004 06:57 PM

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The one about Coors made me laugh until my stomach hurt, but the Condi Rice one probably is still the best.

Posted by: Saheli on April 24, 2004 07:45 PM

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About two years ago the Times ran an article in which it mentioned a Chilean political dissident who was "drugged and thrown from a helicopter into the Atlantic Ocean" by Pinochet's agents. Next day: "He was actually thrown into the Pacific Ocean. The Times regrets the error."

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 25, 2004 06:15 AM

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Funnier than fiction. The Onion had a fake correction a couple years back that was just like the Rice one above, something like "A quote on page 1 last week attributed to Defense Secretary William Cohen should have been attributed to a senior defense department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Onion regrets the error"

Posted by: Cheezy on April 25, 2004 06:16 AM

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The soon-to-senator from the State of Colorado was not a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but his father, Joseph Coors, who founded the Golden, Colorado, branch of the John Birch Society. We are still trying to find out about the lynching.

Posted by: masaccio on April 25, 2004 12:44 PM

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The latest corrections lack the key part of traditional NYT corrections. In the preceding sentence I mischaracterized the absence of a part which made traditional NYT corrections wonderful. It was the fact that the original error could not be repeated in the correction.

My favorite correction is "incorrectly described the race of the recently appointed superior court judge Rufus King Jr. He is White.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on April 25, 2004 05:00 PM

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Let's not forget the classics...

July 17, 1969.
"An editorial-page feature of The New York Times dismissed the notion that a rocket could function in a vacuum and commented on the ideas of Robert H. Goddard, the rocket pioneer, as follows:

"'That Professor Goddard, with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react -- to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.'

"Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error."

Posted by: Jim Glass on April 25, 2004 07:30 PM

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Of course, the Times in that last case was definitely making fun of itself (they ran the correction as one of their editorials). In the other instances, the Times HASN'T been making fun of itself, which makes them all the funnier (admittedly in a grisly way where the Chilean item is concerned).

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