Sorry, we messed up again and again and again

The media make mistakes more often than you think. Just ask Montreal-based
journalist CraigWheres_obama_2
Silverman, who
keeps track of their corrections and apologies on his website Regret the Error. His review of 2007 errors includes the egregious, the entertaining and the downright exasperating.

Barack Obama has been the victim of media error several times, including twice by CNN. The first time, to headline a story about the search for America’s most wanted terrorist, CNN asked, "Where’s Obama?" The second time, the network reported that a mall shooting had occurred in Obama, Nebraska. And next year, they’re going to do a story on the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco Obama.

The media haven’t been kind to people with Muslim names. A number of them have been mistakenly labeled as terrorists, particularly in British publications, Silverman writes. Here’s a correction from The Sun:


An article on 2 February "Hate on Shelves" about a police raid at a bookshop wrongly suggested in the first edition that Imran Khan, pictured above, was a US captive held in Guantanamo Bay. In fact, Mr Khan, a photo journalist and film maker, has never been a US captive nor involved in terrorist activities or allegations and is a head leaseholder unconnected with the business of the bookshop. We apologise to Mr Khan for the embarrassment caused.[Link]

Imran Khan is a head leaseholder? I would have thought a former cricketer would be doing something else, perhaps running for office.

Here’s a correction from the Sentinel-Review (Woodstock, Ontario):

In an article in Monday’s newspaper, there may have been
a misperception about why a Woodstock man is going to Afghanistan on a
voluntary mission. Kevin DeClark is going to Afghanistan to gain life
experience to become a police officer when he returns, not to shoot
guns and blow things up. The Sentinel-Review apologizes for any embarrassment this may have caused. [Link]

You can gain "life experience" in Afghanistan — and you can also gain "death experience."

Reuters, the news service, did the media proud last May when it referred to the pro-government Muttahida Quami Movement in Pakistan as the “Muttonhead Quail Movement.” That didn’t win them any favors with Pakistani President Perverse Mushroom.

Not to be outdone, the New York Times also had a Pakistan-related error:

A caption on Saturday with a picture showing a Pakistani
man on his bicycle carrying a painting of his son, who he says was
abducted by Pakistani intelligence agents in 2001, misspelled the name
of the Pakistani capital. It is Islamabad, not Islambad.

The editor who wrote "Islambad" remains in hiding.

The Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand) goofed on a vegetable article:

OUR STORY on the price of tomatoes last week misquoted
Alistair Petrie, general manager of Turners and Growers. Discussing the
price of tomatoes Petrie was talking about retail rate not retail rape.
We apologise for the misunderstanding.

It’s an understandable mistake. After all, as anyone who’s been to a grocery store lately knows, there’s a lot of "retail rape" going on.

The Guardian had this blooper:

Australian cricketer Don Bradman was carried, not
curried, off the field during the Ashes series in August 1938 (Heroic
Hutton leads England to 903, page 12, the archive, November 6).

It was an Indian cricket player, of course, who was curried.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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