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Give the New York Times a Pulitzer for This Magnificent Theater Correction

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By HVmedia on May 22, 2012

Leave it to the always-accountable New York Times to issue a correction that reeks of such high-minded prose it could legitimately win an award for best short story writing.

Check out Tuesday’s correction of an otherwise unimportant item in a review of “Death of a Salesman.”

This isn’t the first time the Times has beautifully corrected a minor error. In 2006 the paper of record issued this correction: “An article on Sept. 17 about the abundance of satire in American culture referred incorrectly to an episode of ‘South Park.’ In it, the character Cartman tricks another child into eating his own parents in a bowl of chili; Cartman himself does not eat them.”

Back in January, we got another one. This correction about a reporter mixing up “My Little Pony” characters might just be the best small-time correction the paper has ever run:

By the way, if you’re looking for the definitive explanation of that awesome My Little Pony correction, media blogger Jim Romenesko has you covered (as always).

Aaron Sorkin isn’t a fan of bloggers. Ordinarily, you’d think someone who loves writing so much would embrace the concept of people sitting down at their computers to add discourse to the world. But Sorkin’s issue with bloggers is about something else: accountability.

In context, his gripe seems fair: “I know when I read something in The New York Times that whoever wrote it had to be very good to get the job that they have,” he once told NYT media reporter David Carr. “But I don’t know anything about the person who is blogging online. It’s an easy job to get. Anybody can be a blogger—you just set up a site and blog. But there isn’t the same kind of accountability. I mean, The New York Times makes mistakes—Jayson Blair, Judith Miller—but when it does, it’s a very big deal.”

That’s why corrections like these aren’t just funny, they’re important. To err is human; to turn that error into the flourishing prose of a well-executed mea culpa is divine.


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