Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Times Correction Watch (a continuing series)

A while back the New York Times divided its daily corrections column into two types of corrections--"For the Record" corrections to fix misspellings and other minor stuff, and regular corrections. Since then, the Times has consistently buried substantive boo-boos, big-time goofs, in its "For the Record" space.

Two good examples today.

1. A big screwup in a business story: "An article in Business Day yesterday about discontent over a proposed deal by the New York Stock Exchange misidentified the Wall Street firm that advised a rival exchange, Nasdaq, in its proposed acquisition of Instinet. It was Thomas Weisel Partners, not Merrill Lynch."

This is a major error, not a little thing you point out "for the record."

2. The late John Mills was a very prominent actor (I loved him in Ryan's Daughter. Didn't you?) and also very old, so no doubt his obit the other day was written in advance. Plenty of time to check for errors? Apparently not:

"An obituary of the actor Sir John Mills on Monday and in some late editions on Sunday referred incorrectly to one of his films and a character he played in another. "The Rocking Horse Winner" is a dark psychological drama, not a comedy. In "Hobson's Choice," it was Hobson, played by Charles Laughton, who feuds with his daughter. (Sir John's character, Willie Mossop, marries her.) The article also misidentified the actor whose career was significantly advanced by the film "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." It was Robert Donat, who had the title role, not Sir John."

The writer of the obit totally fucked up. These were not minor gaffes, and this correction shouldn't have been buried in "For the Record."
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