Regrets Only: Here Are Picks for ‘Corrections of the Year’

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By: E&P Staff

Craig Silverman, longtime brain behind the popular Regret the Error site, is out today with his annual picks for typos, errors, corrections and apologies of the year.

After opening with a roundup of papers that apologized for not covering the civil rights movement in the 1950s, he moved on to the less serious stuff. “From typos that celebrate Queen Elizabeth and her remarkable egg-laying abilities, to media hoaxes, unreliable sources, the Sago disaster and apologies for mistakes nearly 120 years ago, it was a good year for Regret,” he reveals. “Though not a banner one for our media brethren.

“We would also like to present an Award of Demerit to the Sun newspaper in the U.K. This site simply wouldn?t be possible without you.”

Silverman also continues his plagiarism/fabrication roundup, after this intro: “By our count, this year was worse than last year. In particular, there were a high number of student journalist plagiarism incidents near the end 2006.

“So are media organizations/the public getting better at exposing plagiarists, or are there in fact more incidents? It?s tough to give a definitive answer. Certainly, there’s more scrutiny than ever before and Google has made it easier to catch a thief, but the parade of plagiarists and fabricators seems perpetual. Hopefully, this round-up serves as a deterrent.”

Here is a selection from the corrections winners, but they can all be found at www.regrettheerror.com.

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–Correction of the Year, from the aforementioned The Sun:

“Following our article on Princess Eugenie?s birthday celebrations, we have been asked to point out the party was closely monitored by adults throughout and while a small amount of mess was cleared away at the end of the evening, there was no damage to furniture, no revellers dived into bedrooms in search of drunken romps and to describe the house as being trashed was incorrect. We are happy to make this clear and regret any distress our report caused.”

–Runnerup, from the Delaware New Journal:

“An article in Sunday?s Local section on the estate sale of former Gov. Elbert Carvel quoted Olin Vanaman of Wilmington about his excitement in purchasing 35 of the governor?s decanters during the auction, including one used at Queen Elizabeth?s coronation. Vanaman said he used a slang term when describing Carvel as ‘a big boozer,’ but he did not mean that the former governor was a heavy drinker. Vanaman refers to people who collect decanters as ‘boozers,’ he explained, ‘the same as guys who collect cars are gear-heads.’ No reference to drinking or the consumption of alcohol was intended in the article.

–From The New York Times:

“A film review on Wednesday about ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ referred incorrectly to contestants in the fictional children?s beauty pageant of the title. The critic intended to compare the contestants to underage prostitutes, not to ‘underage fleshpots.'”

–And then there’s this from the Rocky Mountain News of Denver:

“An article and headline on Page 17A Thursday incorrectly stated that James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, believes people who don?t practice what they preach should undergo an exorcism. His quote, in a TV interview about reaction to the firing of evangelical leader Ted Haggard for ‘sexual immorality,’ was: ‘Everybody gets exercised (worked up about it) when something like this happens, and for good reason.’?

–Sharing the award for Error of the Year, a group effort:

“The tale is well known, so we?ll offer one word: Sago. We considered demoting this error to second place, due in large part to the culpability of the mining company. As news of ’12 Alive!’ spread over the wire and airwaves, the company kept silent and didn?t do its part to reveal the correct information. The media, of course, deserves its fair share of blame for turning rumor into fact, but the company had the means to temper the story right away and instead remained silent. So a pox on both houses. Sago will live on as a tragic event made all the more tragic by incorrect reports that spread the world over. That?s a rare phenomenon, so it also earns Error of the Year honors.”

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