Authority, Controversial Topics, Ethics, Peer Review, Reading, Social Role

The Best Mistakes — and Corrections — of 2012

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m probably late to the party, but the site Poynter.org has really caught my attention lately. Dedicated to journalism, smartly written, and brimming with ideas, the site is really on a roll from what I can tell.

Craig Silverman, who moved his Regret the Error blog to Poynter.org in late 2011, recently summed up the best and worst errors and corrections of 2012. It’s a post worth reading in its entirety — Silverman is an excellent writer, and he has a keen eye. For this post, I’ve picked just a few examples out of many to whet your appetite.

Of course, the crowning error of the year went to the news outlets that initially reported that Obamacare had been struck down by the Supreme Court. Silverman heaps special shame on FOX News for not only getting it wrong, but also for failing to apologize — in fact, acting downright defiant — in its correction.

But this is the obvious stuff. The wittier and more interesting errors and corrections come from all over. Here are a few examples.

From the Atlantic:

This post originally referred to Jennifer Grey as “Ferris Bueller’s sister.” As commenters have pointed out, her role alongside Swayze in Dirty Dancing is clearly the more relevant. We regret putting Baby in a corner.

From the National Review:

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.

From the Globe & Mail:

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.

From the New York Times:

A Lens column earlier this month about introverts and extroverts misquoted the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The correct quote is “Hell is other people,” not “Hell is other people at breakfast.”

Perhaps a correction you saw — as it went viral this year — actually occurred on December 30, 2011. However, Silverman includes it because it became famous in 2012. It comes from the New York Times:

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.

Errors come in all shapes and sizes, as can corrections. Obviously, it’s part of life that can be treated with good grace, good humor, and good fun, as well.

(We’re off next week, and will be running our favorite videos to help you enjoy our absence. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Chefs!)

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About Kent Anderson

I am the Publisher at AAAS/Science. Previously, I have worked as CEO/Publisher of the STRIATUS/JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Discussion

One thought on “The Best Mistakes — and Corrections — of 2012

  1. I am never wrong. Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken.

    Posted by David Wojick | Dec 21, 2012, 6:58 am

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