The Gross National Debt

Thursday, June 12, 2014

[insert string of violent words here]

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Few things make me madder than getting something wrong in the paper. Typos drive me around the bend, yes, but it's nothing compared to what happens when I get a mistake of fact in the paper. Typos are like getting your legs chew by briars when you're in the woods. It comes with the territory. A mistake of fact is like being mauled by a bear. You (or in this case me) screwed up badly because you (me) didn't pay attention, were not prepared, etc etc etc. All. Your (My). Fault.

And yes, it happened this week according to our City Manager.

He says I got a quote wrong in a major story on page 1. I do not doubt him. I thought we had this corrected before the paper went to press. Apparently not.

[insert second string of violent language]

Those who know me will tell you I am



But the great majority of the time, when this image is posted in a FB thread, it's done out of fun. Same thing when I point to the errors in logic in my friend's posts. Some call this trolling. The group of people I've known for nearly 30 years call this bustin' some chops. It's done out of fun.

But sometimes, the post is in earnest. Sometimes when I correct someone's presentation of "facts" it is in earnest.

Folks who know me will also tell you a good way to get my hackles rising is to misquote me. If done for chop bustin' it's OK. But if you do it and mean it, as in you are trying to convince others that is what I said, no.

I also come down incredibly hard on another news outlet in my region of Georgia. This outfit regularly, routinely and pretty much with every story they produce, gets something factually wrong. Every. Time.

So, I misquoted our City Manager in a major news article this week. It's going to bother me for a LONG time to come.

[insert third string of violent language]

The other problem is I don't just publish a newspaper. I publish a history book. Yes, I do. Come to my office, and I can prove it to. Go to our courthouse and I can prove it to you. Real. Books.

So, now that I have made this mistake, it will be recorded in the history book of my community. As John Lee once said when I worked at the Apalachicola Times, it doesn't matter that a correction will appear in the next edition. It's wrong forever. People doing research years from now will not bother to check subsequent editions for corrections. They'll pick the error up and it will go forward and be compounded through the years.

[insert fourth string of violent language]

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