Indian paper the latest to offer a cutting pseudo-correction

Journalist Aakar Patel has made a habit of needling Indian politician Shri Narendra Modi.

Just yesterday, Patel's column in the Mumbai Mirror about the Indian elections included a satirical letter of apology credited to Modi.

Then today Patel offered up his own pseudo-apology to Modi in the form of a satirical "clarification." It was spotted and tweeted by Ashish Shakya, a comedian and humor columnist for the Hindustan Times:

The text reads:

A Clarification

For the last 12 years we have been writing about the chief minister of Gujarat as being responsible for the happenings in his state.

We called him a communalist with no grip on his administration. A man unable to curb violence against thousands of citizens, and who showed laxity in prosecuting its perpetrators.

Now that he is clearly ahead in the polls we realise that we have been utterly mistaken.

He is in fact a visionary with total grip on his administration. His revolutionary view on development has made life better for thousands of citizens.

We are shocked by our misidentification and we offer Mr Modi our most sincere and unconditional hypocrisy.


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The pseudo apology is a common enough device. It's often used to acknowledge that an aggrieved party has done something good/correct, in spite of himself. For example, during the 2006 World Cup, U.K. tabloid The Sun offered this pseudo apology to a player on England's team:

SUNSPORT would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt SORRY to Owen Hargreaves.

Over recent weeks we might have given the impression we thought he was, well, rubbish.

But Owen proved against Portugal, with his all-action performance, that he was well worth his place.

Unlike soppy Sven [Goran Eriksson], we’re big enough to admit we got it wrong.

Speaking of Eriksson, he too received a pseudo apology from a columnist at same paper:

RECENT articles in this column may have given the impression that Mr Sven Goran Eriksson was a greedy, useless, incompetent fool. This was a misunderstanding. Mr Eriksson is in fact a footballing genius. We are happy to make this clear.

Along with U.K. tabloids, The Stranger in Seattle is a frequent practitioner of the art. It typically includes a raft of pseudo-corrections/apologies in its annual We Regret These Errors feature. A sample from the most recent edition:

Rob McKenna, the failed Republican candidate for governor, regrets that $80,000 of print ads in the Seattle Times couldn’t buy him the governor’s mansion.

Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, on a related note, regrets this, too.

I'm also fond of this classic 2004 pseudo correction from a columnist with the Lewiston Morning Tribune:

An Oct. 1 editorial referred to Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris, R-Colville as a “classy candidate.” This page regrets the error. — P.M.

  • Craig Silverman

    Craig Silverman ( is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Regret the Error, a blog that reports on media errors and corrections, and trends regarding accuracy and verification.


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