Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dumb and Dumber at the New York Times

John Hinderaker of Powerline asks whether it is not the funniest New York Times correction ever. Surely, it is a candidate for an award for sloppy writing and  sloppier editing. And let's not ignore the misspellings.

In a correction to a wedding announcement, The Times wrote:

Correction: Jan. 24, 2020

In an earlier version of this article, the given name of the actress who introduced the couple was misspelled. She is Vaishnavi Sharma, not Vaishmavi. The given name of the wedding officiant was also misspelled. She is Gabra Zackman, not Dabra. Also, the author of “Dracula” was incorrect. He is Bram Stoker, not Jane Austen.

Where does the Times find its reporters and editors?

Hinderaker continues:

That’s right: the Times employs a reporter, and presumably at least one editor, who thought Jane Austen was the author of Dracula! As I’ve said before, those who refer to reporters and editors as “elites” are missing the point. Reporters and editors, by and large, are less intelligent and less well-informed than the average citizen.

Perhaps at one time, media people were elite intellectuals. No longer.

Incidentally, if I were to speculate, I believe that the writer confused Dracula with Frankenstein. An easy mistake to make.

The author of Frankenstein was, of course, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, daughter of famed women's rights proponent, and wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

As it happens, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen were more or less contemporaries, so naturally an illiterate reporter and an even more illiterate editor would not know the difference between these two female novelists. They all look the same, don't you know.


trigger warning said...

"Perhaps at one time, media people were elite intellectuals."

Not sure when that time might have been. Certainly not in my lifetime. The term "yellow journalism" was coined around 1900, and Fox Butterfield, Dan Rather, and Helen Thomas continued the Parade of Lackwits. These days we have crotch sniffers like Don Lemon and sidewalk lickers like Brian Williams.

whitney said...

It seems like we're at the point where you can just take random names and terms you've heard before and throw them together and make a narrative.
Napoleon was fighting Henry V at Normandy right?

RNB said...

It occurs to me that this has the makings of a game: Give the title of a famous book. Attribute its authorship to a famous – but utterly inappropriate – person. Like: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Ayn Rand. Or maybe: "The Female Man" by Mickey Spillane

David Foster said...

""Perhaps at one time, media people were elite intellectuals."

Actually, I think much of the problem was created by the idea that they *should* be elite intellectuals, hired in substantial part on college credentials rather than working their way up in the trade.