D'oh! Funniest Media Gaffes of 2006

Regret the Error, a blog
about media
corrections has released its annual
list
of funniest mistakes, apologies, frauds, hoaxes, and
embarrassments perpetrated by and on the self-styled arbiters of the truth.

Some of my favorites:

  • Reuters, the news agency that brought you the fraudulent
    photography of
    Adnan Hajj, also makes real mistakes. In an Oct. 25 story about bees,
    it mistakenly said that Queen Elizabeth has "10 times the life
    expectancy of workers and lays 2,000 eggs a day."
  • In the dubious sources category: "Don Spille -- A man who
    told the Tallahassee Democrat that he lost
    everything in Katrina – including his father. Ed Spille Sr.,
    his
    father, later contacted the newspaper to disagree. 'I might be dead to
    him,' he said. 'At 80 years old, I’m dead to a lot of
    people.'"
  • A
    student newspaper at Purdue University had a real scoop about Supreme
    Court justice Samuel Alito during his nomination process: "His motive
    for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains
    unclear," the paper asserted in a caption of Alito being sworn in at a hearing.
  • The New York Times misspelled the name
    of a now-defunct department store, Gimbels, 120 times since 1980,
    turning the store's name into a possessive noun. Only in November of
    this year did the paper finally correct the errors.
  • The Boca
    Raton (Fla.) News, mistakenly reported that Vince McMahon, president of
    the fake wrestling league WWE, was getting divorced from his wife after
    the theme was used in an episode. It refused to correct its mistake.
  • Lost in translation at the Financial Times: "An
    item in the
    Observer column on March 14 reported that Ludwik Dorn,
    Poland's
    minister of the interior, had said some former police officers used the
    services of prostitutes. A more correct translation was that they had a
    'wide social life.'"
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer, in the ever helpful tradition
    of "service journalism" mistakenly told readers that five local post
    offices were remaining open until midnight on Tax Day, April 15th. The
    error caused about 400 people to miss the deadline. Fortunately for
    them, the Postal Service agreed to process their taxes as if they had
    filed in time.
  • Testifying
    in court can be dangerous to your reputation, apparently. At least it
    was in the case of a St. Louis psychologist, Richard Scott, who was
    referred to as the kidnapping and rape defendant who was the subject of
    his testimony.
  • Also noted are TV gaffes from the BBC inadvertently
    interviewing a taxi driver about a music industry lawsuit (see this NB
    post for details and video), and CNN anchor Kyra Phillips's famous bathroom break.
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013