Thursday, March 31, 2005

To Err Is Human - But To Screw Up Even the Simplest Facts -- You Absolutely, Positively Have To Be The LA Times!

Getting back to David Shaw's diatribe on bloggers and our inability to perform up to the LA Times' high standards - not to mention how the LAT's many layers of editors and filters protects them from getting their facts wrong... well... just look at Slate's Jack Shafer PRESS BOX column today at

In this article Shafer beautifully dissects an article in this Tuesday's March 29th LA Times and its staggering array of bonehead errors that make Jayson Blair look like Brenda Starr. And even after the LAT published a retraction in its print edition - after a stinging critique in another newspaper - the LA Times had still failed to correct the story in its on-line edition! And even tonight - the article is STILL uncorrected!

But this is hardly an unusual case for the LA Times. Besides the typical incorrectly spelled names, misidentified photos and errant facts in stories that are written on the fly, where one can understand errors happening, the types of errors that daily appear in the Times are at times, inexplicable.

Take, for example, the Sunday Calendar section a week ago. Among the things the LA Times got wrong are such fast breaking news stores as where Mozart's Magic Flute was premiered... in 1791, the correct color of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society wristband, the last two films of Vincent Price, and the premiere date of a 1935 piece of music. The Times also reassigned the tuba to the... woodwind section - and prematurely retired dancer Stanley Holden.

Not bad for a single days work in just ONE of the paper's many sections.

At least, though, the editors and proofreaders at the LAT can be expected to know who works for the LA Times, if nothing else. Well... actually, no:

Sunday, February 27, 2005 For the record Lipari, Italy: A Feb. 20 article on Lipari identified writer Susan Spano as a contributor to the Los Angeles Times. Spano is a Times staff writer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 For the record Pesky plants: In last week's Outdoors section, the byline for an article about trail plants misspelled writer David Lukas' last name as Lucas.

But saving the best for last - there are the endless errors that any sentient, breathing person should be able to spot.

Tow Truck Operator Uses City Bus to Tow Cars in Carpool Lane!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 FOR THE RECORD Gasoline prices - An article in Monday's Business section on rising gasoline prices attributed the following quote, about how driver behavior would change once the price of gasoline topped $3 a gallon, to tow-truck driver Jesse Gurrola: "That's it - I think I'd have to carpool or maybe take the bus." In fact, that statement was made by motorist Gladys Paz

Bait Licking New Fishing Fad! Or... Sudden Onset Dyslexia Strikes LAT Writer!

Tuna fishing - An article in Tuesday's Outdoors section about tuna fishing referred to an angler as Rusty Johnson. His name is Frosty Johnson. The article also said Jack Nilsen caught a 24--pound fish using a tuna-catching device called a kite; Nilsen did not catch the fish using a kite. In addition, Gayle Johnson was quoted as saying, "Fish hard, lick the bait, and don't think you know more than the crew." In fact, she said, "Fish hard, pick the bait, and don't think you know more than the crew."

San Gabriel Valley City - Vanishes!

Friday, March 25, 2005 FOR THE RECORD Restaurant review - A review of the New Concept Restaurant in Wednesday's Food section indicated that the San Gabriel Valley city of Covina was located elsewhere in Southern California.

The New LAT Mini/MAXI Car! Wider Than It Is long!

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 For the record Auto review - An article about a new Honda pickup truck in the Feb. 2 Highway 1 section included incorrect specifications for the Ridgeline's wheelbase and overall length. The box accompanying the Ridgeline review listed the wheelbase as 122 inches and the overall length as 106.8 inches. The correct figure for the wheelbase is 122 inches, and the overall length is 206.8 inches.

Finally... Proof That Even The LAT's Proofreaders Do Not Read The LAT! Tom DeLay Is Now A... Democrat!

Thursday, March 24, 2005 For the Record Schiavo case - In a commentary Tuesday on the Terri Schiavo controversy, Rep. Tom DeLay's party/state designation was incorrectly given as D-Texas. It is R-Texas.

Lastly, admitedly, it is a high standard that David Shaw wants us bloggers to aspire to, but, somehow, I think that with a lot of work and a lot of effort on our parts, we can all achieve that standard!

PS -- The truly wonderful irony is that almost all of the errors in the above articles could have been discovered in seconds... by fact checking them on the internet.

April Fool's Update -- Now Infamous, Error-Ridden Chico State Story Still Not Corrected on LAT On-Line Site! Will Shortly Be Posting Official Vegas Odds on When LA Times Finally Notices This!

BREAKING NEWS!! LA Times Finally Corrects Chico State Story This Friday Morning!! Or -- does it? Increasing suspicions about other aspects of story now being rumored on the web.