Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Newspapers that Don't Retract Errors

From: "chris graves" caliron@cwnet.com

From the San Francisco Estate Circular, March 1874, page 4:

"Several of the papers here follow the rule of never taking back anything they say. Malice and stupidity have them at constant war with the truth, and of this fact they are frequently overwhelmingly convinced, yet they never retract. In this respect they are as culpable as the Texas editor who announced that a prominent citizen had been hung the previous day for horse stealing. The citizen, in a fury, called the next day to have the utterly groundless report contradicted, but the editor, though convinced of his error, declined. Said he: 'We never take back anything here; but, if it will be any obligement to you, I will state in tomorrow's paper that, after you were strung up, a party of your friends rushed in and cut you down! This is the best I can for you.' Why an editor's pen – but too frequently overshadowed by a donkey's ears – should be considered infallible, and the writer be ashamed to correct lies born of his own malice or stupidity, is one of those conundrums the study of which has done so much to make polished skating-rinks of heads once clothed with bushy locks."