Best of media corrections, 2016 edition

Our annual collection of media corrections is, undoubtedly, an excuse to chuckle at our industry's missteps.

But it's also a recognition of an honorable practice that not everyone follows. Outlets that mark their corrected articles clearly or collect them in one easily searchable section (for example, The Guardian) may be over-represented in this list, but they should be commended.

A note on selection: This is a list of media corrections, not media errors. Barring two errors that were retracted without acknowledgment (boo!), we did not include slip-ups that went uncorrected.

Also read our lists for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The funny

At the beginning of December, The Associated Press had a case of Schrödinger's Hollande (here's the corrected bulletin).

Geography, amirite?

Atlases are underrated. (Mic)

[caption id="attachment_441202" align="aligncenter" width="642"]Screenshot Mic Screenshot Mic[/caption]

Mr. Diller took the reporter for a ride.

Does this correction mean that Pimpin4Paradise786 is still available? (The New York Times)

[caption id="attachment_441183" align="aligncenter" width="613"]Screenshot The New York Times Screenshot The New York Times[/caption]

Can we find ourselves funny? Why yes, yes we can.


The Guardian asks that you bear with them.

[caption id="attachment_441196" align="aligncenter" width="632"]Screenshot The Guardian Screenshot The Guardian[/caption]

We hope that someone has since inquired about Corbyn's position on a cappella groups. (Huffington Post)

[caption id="attachment_441192" align="aligncenter" width="680"]Screenshot, HuffPost Screenshot, HuffPost[/caption]

Captions matter — corrections in GIF form help.

Math is tricky. (The New York Times Magazine)

Those dodgy European court cases. (The Times)

Ted Cruz was late to endorse Donald Trump, but not because he endorsed Hillary Clinton.


The weird

In an alternate reality, both Clinton and Trump will be sworn into office in January. (NPR — h/t @chrishagan)

[caption id="attachment_441179" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Screenshot NPR Screenshot,[/caption]

Not sure we need to know much more about this affair.

Or this matter.

Turd 2020. (The Daily Beast)

[caption id="attachment_441200" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Screenshot The Daily Beast Screenshot The Daily Beast[/caption]

OK then.

The elaborate

Some corrections are so extensive you wonder whether the story should have been published in the first place, like this New York Times correction to an obituary of a World War II pilot. (h/t @vtuss)

[caption id="attachment_441181" align="aligncenter" width="613"]Screenshot The New York Times Screenshot The New York Times[/caption]

That's much clearer, thanks. (The Guardian)

[caption id="attachment_441189" align="aligncenter" width="653"]Screenshot The Guardian Screenshot The Guardian[/caption]

Way to take the magic out of Tetris.

Rai News in Italy had to correct its map of the results of the country's constitutional referendum three times over six hours before getting the names of all 20 of Italy's regions correct.

The revealing

Should you be downloading that widget anyway? (Wired)


Some corrections shed light on how reporters work. For instance, "the critic mistakenly watched the first two episodes out of order" seems inexcusable for a TV critic. (h/t @antoniskalog) But a colleague wrote that it's easier than you'd think to make that mistake.

[caption id="attachment_441186" align="aligncenter" width="607"]Screenshot The New York Times Screenshot The New York Times[/caption]

Pre-writing obituaries of ailing global figures is a logical strategy for newsrooms. However, canned obituaries require close editing, which CNN's note on how many U.S. presidents Castro outlived did not receive.

Perhaps some wishful thinking in action here. (Vox)

[caption id="attachment_441191" align="aligncenter" width="797"]Screenshot Vox Screenshot Vox[/caption]

Poverty can be measured in both absolute and relative terms. Just ask the Financial Times.

[caption id="attachment_441199" align="aligncenter" width="721"]Screenshot Financial Times Screenshot Financial Times[/caption]

Some corrections indicate a certain band may not have been that popular with the author. (NPR)

[caption id="attachment_441205" align="aligncenter" width="714"]Screenshot NPR Screenshot NPR[/caption]

And then there are the corrections that say as much about the corrector as they do about the corrected. For instance:

The journalist should have gotten it right. But would you have called to ask for this correction? (Irish Times)

These dog owners either have an extremely developed sense of humor, or a complete lack thereof.

Just a hint of imperial nostalgia in this error. (The Guardian)

[caption id="attachment_441197" align="aligncenter" width="659"]Screenshot The Guardian Screenshot The Guardian[/caption]

Photos get corrected, too.

The terrible

If you're going to make a whole article out of a four-word quote, better get those four words right. (Politico).

[caption id="attachment_441182" align="aligncenter" width="457"]POLITICO screenshot POLITICO screenshot[/caption]

Was "pro-terrorist" in the charity's mission statement? (Daily Mail)

[caption id="attachment_441198" align="aligncenter" width="487"]Screenshot The Daily Mail Screenshot The Daily Mail[/caption]

Even big-name pundits fall for fake Twitter accounts. (h/t Claire Wardle)


A Colorado paper controversially removed on-the-record comments by a Trump campaign spokesperson, (see the original comments here).

EDITOR'S NOTE: Comments attributed to a Trump campaign spokeswoman were removed from an earlier version of this story at her request after she learned she would be identified by name.

Several Italian newspapers used a photo of an impersonator to accompany news of Bob Dylan's Nobel prize. To this author's knowledge, none has published a correction. (This is not infrequent, unfortunately, but usually it is breaking news stories on terrorist attacks that get wrong photos associated to them).

[caption id="attachment_441209" align="aligncenter" width="584"]Screenshot La Stampa Screenshot La Stampa[/caption]

Revising revisionism.

When dedicating an article to a presidential candidate's foreign policy inexperience, it is helpful to have a good grip on the main cities in the region involved. Otherwise, you may end up having to correct yourself. Twice.

The Express in the United Kingdom ran a error-infested gallery titled "Amazing things we get back if we leave EU." Here's their rendition of the error, our emphasis added:

The gallery was formed of 11 images. Each image carried a caption. The captions for images 3 (eggs), 5 (jam), 6 (water) & 9 (swedes) were inaccurate. In the case of caption 3 (eggs), the caption claimed that "A dozen eggs: In 2010 the EU said that food could not be sold by number but by weight". In 2010 the European Union was considering legislation governing food labelling. In June 2010 Renata Sommer the MEP responsible for steering the legislation confirmed 'There will be no changes to selling food by numbers". In fact a consumer who purchased eggs in the UK would be able to do so by number. Caption 3 (eggs) was therefore incorrect. Given that 4 of the 11 captions were incorrect this gallery has been deleted.

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    Alexios Mantzarlis

    Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He also trains and convenes fact-checkers around the world.


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