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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Some of the best newspaper corrections ever, including an excellent 2001 apology to Mark Steyn

I'm a fan of newspaper corrections - sometimes they're of the typo variety, but frequently tell you a lot about the writers, as well. That latter explanation seems to be the case with the first of these:

“The Ottawa Citizen and Southam News wish to apologize for our apology to Mark Steyn, published Oct. 22. In correcting the incorrect statements about Mr. Steyn published Oct. 15, we incorrectly published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our initial regrets were unacceptable and we apologize to Mr. Steyn for any distress caused by our previous apology.”
A few more - I've included attributions where I could find them, but in some cases I'm unsure of the sources:

“Last Sunday, The Herald erroneously reported that original Dolphin Johnny Holmes had been an insurance salesman in Raleigh, NC, that he had won the New York lottery in 1982 and lost the money in a land swindle, that he had been charged with vehicular homicide but acquitted because his mother said she drove the car, and that he stated that the funniest thing he ever saw was Flipper spouting water on George Wilson. Each of these items was erroneous material published inadvertently. He was not an insurance salesman in Raleigh, did not win the lottery, neither he nor his mother was charged or involved in any way with a vehicular homicide, and he made no comment about Flipper or George Wilson. The Herald regrets the errors.”

“An article on Nov. 10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups. Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), ”Beginning Again,” by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the eating habits of goats.”

“In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated ‘two flat silver discs’ were seen ‘above the Church of Scientology HQ’. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.”

“There was an error printed in a story titled ‘Pigs float down the Dawson’ on Page 11 of yesterday’s Bully. The story, by reporter Daniel Burdon, said ‘more than 30,000 pigs were floating down the Dawson River’. What Baralaba piggery owner Sid Everingham actually said was ’30 sows and pigs’, not ‘30,000 pigs’. The Morning Bulletin would like to apologise for this error, which was also reprinted in today’s Rural Weekly CQ before the mistake was known.”

“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

“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.

"A headline on an item in the Feb. 5 edition of the Enquirer-Bulletin incorrectly stated “Stolen groceries.” It should have read “Homicide.”"

Related posts and links: 

Here's How You Can Lick Doberman's Leg Sores (and other journalism bloopers)

Paper prints retraction for 1863 article calling Gettysburg address "silly remarks"; retraction written in the style of Gettysburg Address.

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