USAT's Woodyard Incorrectly IDs 1976 Lincolns Used in Kim Jong Il Funeral as 'Nixon Era'

December 30th, 2011 4:55 PM

It's certainly not the most egregious media bias or error story you'll every see. But hey, it's the end of the year and almost GOP primary time, so take a break, lighten up a bit, and enjoy this one.

On Wednesday, as shown here and based on when comments first appeared, USA Today's Chris Woodyard put up an item in McPaper's "Drive On" blog about how the funeral of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il used decades-old Lincolns. The headline: "North Korea's elite use Nixon-era Lincolns." Figures, right? Any chance to get in a dig at a Republican or conservative. What's wrong with just saying "1970s"? Well, nothing, especially when you're proven wrong about the Nixonian lineage.

For posterity, here's what was carried originally at Topix (the Nixonian headline is also in my cars-related USAT email):


Woodyard didn't fully acknowledge the original headline error as he corrected himself (or perhaps his headline writer). His post began with the update noted:

Kim Jong Il's death: North Korea uses 1970s Lincolns

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET, to reflect the car appears to be a 1976 model. As we were watching coverage of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, we couldn't help but notice what the elite consider the epitome of luxury one of the world's most isolated countries: Detroit-made 1970s-era Lincolns.

The body of Dear Leader was strapped to the top of an mid 1970s Lincoln limousine. Jalopnik identifies it as a 1976, and who are we to disagree. (Apparently, food isn't the only commodity in short supply in the desperate Asian nation: It's hard to find a decent working hearse as well.) Another almost identical car was being used for the Kim Jong Il billboard, lest anyone forget that dictators can indeed smile. We suspect one strong breeze or the rush of air from driving a little too fast could have toppled the sign.

Nixon resigned in August 1974. Sales of the 1976 Lincoln would not have begun until a year later in the fall of 1975 at the earliest. Gerald Ford was president. USA Today was not launched until 1982, which for the historical record is roughly when the country under Ronald Reagan finally began to recover from the Jimmy Carter Era-Driven early 1980s recession.

A couple of decades from now, we'll accurately be able to look back and poke fun at "Obama Era Chevy Volts" -- if any are left on the road. Hopefully we'll still be a bit more free -- oops, I said I was going to keep it light.

Cross-posted at