Does “the reporter could have gotten it right” count? Mistakes happen, I know that I failed a few assignments in J-school for [major factual errors]. And I understand the editor’s need to protect his reporters. But attempting to immediately pass the buck on the mistake was a bit gauche. Even more so when you considered that I met the man, and I reminded him who I was when I called. If he thought that a guy with degrees in journalism and library science wouldn’t do the research, well, I don’t know what that says about a person. I suppose picking up the phone to hear, “Hi, your paper just accused me of attempted homicide” might throw a guy off. I haven’t checked the online story yet, but at the time the correction was printed, the brief had not been corrected, nor had an updated correction page been posted to the website. [Note: As of this writing, the brief remains uncorrected.]

One thing that stood out to me in your e-mail was the subject line: “Not really noteworthy, but at least the newspaper isn’t charging me with attempted homicide anymore.” Obviously there’s a bit of dark humor there. But it also suggests that you feel as though what happened to you with the error isn’t really something you expect people to notice or care about. Almost as if there’s a sense of futility about the whole thing. Is that true or am I off on that?

I like gallows humor, it works for me. Compared to everything else that happened, this was just icing on the cake. My name wasn’t included in the brief, so they got to dodge their own bullet there. I try to make it a point not to assume malice when ignorance is an option. The main point of the subject line was that I know the blog tends to cover bad reporting of regional or national issues. But crime reports tend to be like obits, a few people read them very, very closely.

So, seriously, do you live in a really bad neighborhood or was this as crazy as it sounds?

We moved the day after the burglary and shooting. We were in a bad neck of the woods and the place had already been burglarized once since we’d moved in. So yeah, a bad neighborhood, but that doesn’t stop it from being just as crazy as it sounds.

Correction of the Week

An obituary of Professor John Hospers stated that he was the first openly gay candidate for US president. However wide the currency of that belief, his family has asked us to make clear that it strenuously denies that he was gay (14 July, page 35). — The Guardian

Craig Silverman is the editor of RegretTheError.com and the author of Regret The Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech. He is also the editorial director of OpenFile.ca and a columnist for the Toronto Star.