Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Old Blind Lady 

Here's what I get for not bothering to read Michelle O'Donnell's New York Times article with the bad caption. The New York Times appropriately issued a correction today, explaining that the soldier in the photograph is a Sergeant First Class, not an officer.

The correction then continues:

The article also misstated the name of a service medal that a general presented to Sergeant Gomez's mother. It is a Purple Heart, not a Purple Star.

Hearts, stars...yeah, I can see the resemblance.

Just how uninformed do you have to be to not make the cut at the New York Times?

Splash, out


Not that it particularly matters to you, Jason, but in the interest of accuracy, the correction ran May 12, the day after the story ran. Not on Saturday, as your post, says.

What were you saying about accurate reporting?
"More rank ingnorance at the New York Times"

The headline complaining about the error says it all.
What Dave says is accurate. It is also irrelevant.
So...accuracy is irrelevant?

When you say such things, it suggests you're more concerned with agenda than with improved reporting.

The New York Times reporter made some boneheaded errors. I agree with you that "Purple Star" is beyond stupid. But that doesn't make it a sign of the Times' bias against the military, or Bush or whatever the hell else you're trying to say.

What the Times did was exhibiting the kind of carelessness and sloppiness as, say, reporting that something happened Saturday when it happened Friday.

Errors are errors. That's why accuracy isn't irrelevant.
Purple Star? At least it wasn't a green clover...Silly Rabbit.

Worrying about a date difference on the correction is not on the order of magnitude of calling the purple heart a purple star, especially in an article about someone's funeral and service to their country.

I do have a theory as to how the journalist made the error:

"with pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers, they're always after me lucky charms!"

Must have had the cereral for breakfast...
On a less flippant note, I disagree with Mr. McLemore. There are errors and then there are errors. If a sportscaster said on the air, in all seriousness, that Barry Bonds was a runningback, he would probably be fired, and rightly so. Now, if a sportswriter said that Bonds had 1866 career RBI, that's a typo, and I run a correction stating that he has 1865 RBI. There are mistakes that you never, ever make if you have any familiarity with the subject area. To me, "Purple Star" is one of the inexcusable mistakes. Also, let's face it, this is not one of those really bad mistakes a reporter might make when writing a "gee whiz" article about some odd subculture like Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts. This isn't screwing up the number of heads Tiamat has; these are ridiculous, unforgivable errors regarding a subject that has been front and center in American life for five years.

p.s. For the record, I know how many heads Tiamat has, and, oddly, that knowledge has not proved overly useful in landing girlfriends.
Guys, I'm not suggesting that the reporting of Purple Star wasn't a stupid error. It marks a failure on the reporting AND the editing side. It demonstrates a level of sloppiness that should be aggressively corrected.

But you have to understand that in journalism Corrections pages, errors are errors. A mispelled name, a botched fact, whatever each indicates an inaccuracy, something unfactual, that made it in print. When that happens, trust me, no one says "Hey, no problem." The writer generally has to explain, in writing, to a senior editor how the mistake happened - and there's never a good answer.

In my example, it's not just about a missed date. Jason raised the issue of the date of the correction as further proof of the Times' error-prone, intolerable - and perhaps calculated - indifference to reporting on the military. He felt it was worth two posts to make the point.

I'm not trying to equate Jason's error with the Times' writer. Or that Jason is error-prone. We all make mistakes. But there is a nice irony at work whenever the judge offers up heated evidence of the sins of others that is contains error.

And listen, good luck with that Dungeons and Dragons things.
Sorry, Dave, but that just doesn't cut it. This is just another incident in a long series of the Time's misreporting of military matters. Jason has done a fine job of documenting them here on the site. And while the irony sign is flashing considering him missing the date, your comments "more concerned with agenda than with improved reporting" and "doesn't make it a sign of the Times' bias against the military, or Bush or whatever the hell else you're trying to say" go to show that you really should do a little research on your own before spouting off.

Oh, and Tiamat has 5 heads, and while I never met a girlfriend during Dungeons & Dragons, I DID manage to find one who didn't MIND the D&D! :D
Dude...What are you talking about?!

My character gets laid all the time!
Tiamat? There's your problem. You should try Gord the Rogue. He's got that bad boy thing, fighting for good the women love.
Ah, yes, what was once a high minded discussion of the military and the media turned into a silly discussion of Dungeons and Dragons, and I have to say...it's pretty much all my fault. Good stuff. Also, please ask Gord the Rogue if he knows where the Half-elf girls hang out.



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