Oops, My Mistake
‘Tis the season for the conscientious columnist (in theory, me) to come clean with his or her loyal readers (in theory, you) and cop to various factual errors over the past 12 months.
To be sure, many of you have already pointed out some of these in your comments. To pick just one at random, buzzsaw903 wrote, “Eat **** and die, you moron!” It’s readers like you who keep us bloggers honest and on our toes. Keep those comments coming!
Meanwhile, let me take the opportunity to correct one or two errors I may have made in 2009.
On February 13, I posted an item saying that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “seems to be spending a lot of time with his pal Tiger Woods at the golf champion’s favorite local watering hole, the Blue Martini. According to witnesses, Woods was reportedly 'mortified' when Bernanke 'serially groped several cocktail waitresses’ and then climbed up on the bar, pointed to a part of his anatomy and shouted, ‘Who wants to see my stimulus program?'"
My May 3 post, “Dick Cheney Purchases Four Predator Drones From U.S. Government for ‘Personal Use,’” was not entirely accurate, nor was it technically speaking “true.”
Actually, no such incident took place.
On April 14, I reported—I love that word—that “China will announce on Tuesday it will no longer buy U.S. Treasury securities.” The post caused world-wide financial panic and a 30 percent plunge in the value of the dollar. I regret the error. All right, so I’m human.
My May 3 post, “Dick Cheney Purchases Four Predator Drones From U.S. Government for ‘Personal Use,’” was not entirely accurate, nor was it technically speaking “true” that the former vice president planned to “use the drones to hunt elk on his Wyoming ranch.” Also on the Republican front, my May 27 item, “George W. Bush To Star in Porn Film, Bring It On, Bitch!” turned out not to be the case. According to his office, “The former president plans to raise money for his library by more conventional means.”
My July 13 post, “New Ice Age ‘Imminent,’ Says Government Official,” caused quite the kerfuffle. In it, I quoted an “unnamed dweeb” at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration saying that an “ice mass the size of Saskatchewan” was “hurtling toward the U.S.” and would cause “mayhem on an unparalleled scale.”
In retrospect, perhaps I should not have used the word “hurtling.” Ice masses, especially ones the size of Canadian provinces, do not technically “hurtle.” But I stand by my recommendation that the U.S. government “replenish its strategic reserves of rock salt without delay.”
In August I didn’t post anything, so I don’t have any August errors to correct, unlike, say, certain European leaders, circa 1914. Still waiting for those apologies, ahem.
On September 14, I reported that Pope Benedict XVI had made his pet schnauzer Dieter a cardinal. As it turns out, His Holiness does not have a pet schauzer, so my “well-informed source close to the pontiff” isn’t so “well-informed” or “close to the pontiff” after all. Danke schön for nothing, Schatzi. Meanwhile, I accept the Vatican’s correction and will start in on my penance of 10,000 Our Fathers and 5,000 Hail Marys.
My September 21 post, “Israel to Launch Nuclear Attack on Iran Wednesday Morning, Thursday Latest,” was, I now concede, a bit hasty, but wasn’t the reaction in Tehran kind of worth it?
On October 3, I reported—as it happens, correctly—that the IOC would select Rio over Chicago as host city for the 2016 Olympics, despite President Obama’s personal intercession. As many of you were quick to point out, the committee actually made its announcement on October 2, the day before, so I concede that my story was perhaps not the self-described “scoop” that I made it out to be.
November 14: “Love-Sick Queen Elizabeth II on Verge of Abdicating.” OK, so it turns out Her Majesty isn’t after all “head over heels” in love with a “wealthy, divorced Denver dentist named Murray.” But for a brief, shining moment, four wealthy, divorced Denver dentists named Murray got a taste of a world they could only dream about, so where—really—was the harm?
I’ll try to do better next year.
Christopher Buckley's books include Supreme Courtship, The White House Mess, Thank You for Smoking, Little Green Men, and Florence of Arabia. He was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H.W. Bush, and is editor-at-large of ForbesLife magazine. His new book is Losing Mum and Pup, a memoir. Buckley's Daily Beast column is the winner of an Online Journalism Award in the category of Online Commentary.