Every year around this time I take great delight in bringing to you the best post of the year on regrettheerror.com, the great Craig Silverman’s year-end roundup of the best and most embarrassing newspaper/media mistakes of the year.
I laugh uproariously every year at these partly because I’m a news junkie, but also because as a former print journalist, I’ve had to write corrections on my own screw-ups sometimes, and it’s not fun.
But it’s vitally, vitally important to newspapers to print corrections when they make mistakes, because it’s a major part of keeping the public’s trust. Of course the correction is never displayed in the paper as prominently as the mistake was, but hey, we ink-stained scribes do our best.
So, here are a few of my favorite screw-ups of the year; the full column can be read here.
From the British newspaper The Sun:
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.
From the Wall Street Journal (and man, I’d love to see anyone who made the recipe before the correction):
A Bloody Mary recipe, which accompanied an Off Duty article in some editions on June 8 about the herb lovage, called for 12 ounces of vodka and 36 ounces of tomato juice. The recipe as printed incorrectly reversed the amounts, calling for 36 ounces of vodka and 12 ounces of tomato juice.
From the New York Times, with a nod to “South Park” fans:
The Media Equation column on Monday, about the animated comedy show “South Park” and its creators, misstated a plot point in the show. While the character Kenny was once killed in every episode, that is no longer the case. The column also misstated the circumstances of his repeated deaths. While Kenny met his fate in a variety of ways over the years, he was not routinely “ritually sacrificed.”
(Hey, I’m sure someone was praying to Kenny when he died each week!)
And finally, from the Tampa Bay Times, with a nod to “Star Wars:”
This story has been updated to reflect the following change: A Tampa Bay Times reporter not strong in the ways of the force (or Star Wars lore) quoted the event’s moderator, Croix Provence, as asking: “Are you ready to find love in all the wrong places?” What Provence actually said was: “Are you ready to find love in Alderaan places?” She was referring to Princess Leia Organa’s home world, which appeared briefly in the 1977 film. Regret the error, we do.
**Finally today, as the last item in my last post of 2013 (a pretty great year for me, even if for the rest of the world it might not have been so hot), a replay of my favorite ad of the year: It was a promo for a new book about relationships, and it features little kids having adult conversations. I don’t know why this makes me laugh so much, but it does, maybe because I can only imagine what kids hear when they listen to us adults talk.
Happy New Year. See you in 2014!