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Washington Times Corrections Policy

Thanks to Kos.

Mr. Mueller,

I want to draw your attention to an internal memo circulated by the Washington Times in April, regarding a corrections policy. It is available on-line, in case you missed it: http://poynter.org/forum/?id=Memos#coombs. Now I understand that this is a new policy, and you are still working out the kinks, but your efforts seem to be flagging.

The memo suggests this form for corrections: “The Washington Times in (date or day) editions incorrectly reported XXX (in correct fact.” Now I know that that is not a coherent sentence, but you should have been able to pick up at least one tip from it: when a fact is corrected, you should acknowledge that there was something incorrect in the original piece. Your article on Oceana, available at http://washingtontimes.com/sports/20040518-112102-4405r.htm, has multiple errors, as pointed out to you, and the public, on the Oceana website, available at http://community.oceana.org/displaystory/2004/5/26/115216/347.

It is understandable that you might make these errors, given the rage one naturally feels when actors get involved in politics (except for President Reagan and Governor Schwarzenegger, and overlooking the fact that the actors you identified weren’t involved with Oceana, of course). Nonetheless, when cooler heads prevail, and your mistakes come to light, your new policy clearly recommends acknowledging the error. The entire corrections memo might not have been on line, but I’m pretty sure that it didn’t recommend ridiculing the aggrieved party or issuing non-sequitur, loosely veiled threats, as in your “correction” available at http://washingtontimes.com/sports/20040525-112254-4031r.htm.

Keep trying, I’m sure you’ll get it right eventually.

Dave Meyer


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