Forget Jayson Blair’s flagrant plagiarism and Judy Miller’s tireless flacking for the Iraq war in the news pages. The New York Times has now committed its most hideously glaring factual error in recent memory, if not the history of the world: it misstated the model of Jerry Brown’s famous ride from his first term as governor.
As every California school child knows, Brown in his first days in office in 1975 sent powerful signals about his frugality, first by choosing to live in a rented apartment instead of the governor’s mansion and, most famously, by rejecting an executive limo in favor of a 1974 blue Plymouth.
Yet the so-called newspaper of record, on Sunday’s A1 no less, got the whole thing bollixed up in describing Brown within a piece about former governors in four states who are seeking to return to the office they once held. Here’s Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer on the subject:
A third, Jerry Brown of California, has traded in his groovy blue Valiant that he drove as governor for a Toyota Camry hybrid, which thieves recently removed the wheels from.
“Groovy?” “Blue Valiant”? Really? Apparently The Times no longer publishes stories that copy editors remove the errors from.
For the record, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s state auto was a powder blue 1974 Plymouth Satellite, a 150 hp, 318 cu. in. V8 (list price $3,342). The Valiant was Chrysler’s Plymouth division play in the compact class and manufactured from 1960 to 1976; the Satellite, unveiled as the top model in the mid-size Belvedere line in 1965, was produced until 1975.
No wonder newspapers are going out of business.
Yo, wussup washpost? Making its bid to capture the prize for the second most moronic mistake of the year, the Washington Post ran this correction on Dec. 3:
A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.
The article in question was headlined “A note of hope from voices of experience – Public Enemy reaches out to homeless youth in D.C.” In it, local reporter Akeya Dickson reported about Flavor Flav, Chuck D and posse touring a homeless shelter to raise awareness of the problem, then playing a concert to benefit the district’s Sasha Bruce House:
Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 9/11 was a joke.
Well, actually not. As Jason Linkins reported in his “Eat the Press” column:
The important distinction between “911” and “9/11” could have been made a number of different ways — by either listening to the song, or reading the title of the song or simply noting that the song “911 Is A Joke” was on an album released on May 26, 1990.
To his credit, Linkins did not put the last words of that sentence IN CAPITAL LETTERS. For the record (again!) the lyric in question is:
So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown
Ow, ow 911 is a joke
In more ways than one.
Is that a puppet in your sock or are you just glad to see me? Inside Baseball Alert: For Calbuzz, the big kerfuffle over Steve Poizner campaign cash finding its way into the wallet of a conservative blogger who spent his days writing posts that gushed praise for Steve Poizner raises one very fundamental question:
You mean people get paid for blogging?
A quick refresher for those who got drunk and slept through the day: Chip Hanlon, CEO of the right-wing blog Red County, put up a post Wednesday informing his readers that he has banned from the site the blogger formerly known as Sgt. York (who in real life is Placer County GOP activist Aaron Park). Hanlon, it seems, belatedly discovered that the Sarge was receiving payments from a consultant called Steve Frank who was himself receiving payments from Team Poizner; Sarge, it seems, neglected to mention this sort of significant, um, fiduciary relationship to Hanlon.
For more on the facts of the case, see posts by Joe Garofoli and Martin Wisckol. Here’s our take:
1-We just love this whole Orange County Republican rat-fucking political culture and the steady stream of sleazy soap operas it produces.
2- HT to Hanlon for canning Sgt. York and disclosing the matter to his readers. At a time when ethical blogging is too often an oxymoron, it’s nice to see somebody step up to defend his credibility.
3-Team Poizner’s response which amounts to “everybody does it and besides, we didn’t know anything about it” doesn’t pass the smell test.
4-Hanlon’s secondary claim that Poizner’s camp froze him out and ignored his requests for e-mailed campaign info is over the top, as this would mark the first time in the history of American politics such a thing happened.
5-There are not enough facts in evidence for us to adjudicate the bitter exchange between Hanlon and Poizner flack Jarrod Agen about whether the site is in the tank for eMeg because she buys a lot of advertising. Did we mention we’re not getting paid?
6-The whole dispute returns us to some broader issues we raised a while back about using partisan web sites as third party validators in campaign material:
In other words, does the singular fact that something is published on a web site, any web site, qualify that information to be employed by a serious contender leveling a serious charge in a big statewide race?
If it is, what is to prevent candidates from using campaign cut-outs, perhaps clad in pajamas and tin foil hats, from posting all manner of web-based vitriol beneath all manner of screamer headlines, and then featuring those posts in TV attack ads as evidence that neutral parties think ill thoughts about their rival?
Where, exactly, is the line to be drawn? Or is the very notion of a line self-incriminating evidence of discredited MSM-style thinking?
As Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said, “You sure do ask a lot of stupid questions.”
Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: The Silicon Valley Insider reveals hidden secrets of AOL bloggers.