For a quick fun read, you can’t beat Poynter’s annual listing of notable media errors and corrections. Heading the list, of course, is the dual CNN/Fox News blown call on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, based on a hasty misunderstanding of the Chief Justice’s initial words in announcing the decision.
The other “winners” range from the hilarious (a misspelling of the word “correction” in a Toronto Sun correction note) to the horrifying (a variety of misidentifications of innocent people as malefactors) to the hilariously banal (a New York Times clarification that Gore Vidal had called William F. Buckley a “crypto-Nazi,” not a “crypto-fascist,” in their famous network television encounter in 1968). The British media seem to be over-represented in the list, though it’s unclear whether that’s because they make more mistakes or because they are more inclined to offer entertaining corrections or rationalizations.
My all-time favorite media error was the report by the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald on the election of John Paul II that he would be the “first non-Catholic” pontiff. But this year we did have a photo caption from the Ottawa Citizen with the surprising news that the Titantic had sunk on April 15, 2012.
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