A friend of mine, another columnist, once observed that a doctor’s mistakes get buried; a lawyer’s go to jail, but a journalist’s run on Page One under the headline: Correction:
Due to a reporter’s error — or an editor’s, or whoever — the something of the something was misstated in Tuesday’s story. The actual facts are, etc.
It’s humiliating. No one likes to admit a mistake, particularly a careless or stupid one, let alone have it displayed to the world, usually on the front page, or at least on the page where the original boo-boo was published. But that’s how we roll, or did. You can’t expect the public’s trust if you can’t admit when you make a mistake. So we do, publicly. Mea culpa. It’s a strong motivator to get it right the first time, although it happens to everyone. To err is human, etc.
This, I should mention, is not true at Fox News. Alan has been monitoring how the fair ‘n’ balanced network is admitting their settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, and calling out how far it’s falling off the main page: “Ten pages in! After Gisele Bundchen doing something!” But that’s what we expect, right? Terrible people are terrible, and their terrible audience doesn’t give a shit that they’re going into the second quarter $800 million poorer. I’m a little disappointed; I was hoping for a settlement with a B in it, if they had to settle at all. I was, truth be told, hoping for a jury foreman who asks, like the one in “The Verdict,” “Are we limited to the amount the plaintiff is asking for, or can we go higher?” On the other hand, I know shit rolls downhill, and one of my former students works for the Wall Street Journal, and a squeeze at the top usually means a bigger one down below, so.
But it’s generally a very good day. Fox News had to take it in the shorts, and that’s just fine, because they’re terrible. A pox on all their houses. And I’m sure they all have several.
I was thinking of Fox before the settlement, reading about the old man in Kansas City who shot a black kid for the crime of knocking on his door. I said on Facebook that Fox, and others, many others, have made their profits on scaring the shit out of old people. For decades. I am absolutely no fan of Michael Moore, but the part in “Bowling for Columbine” where he points out the way TV news relentlessly, endlessly deals in fear? That part was dead-on. And Fox is the worst of the lot, so when that old man saw a black kid on his porch and just assumed he was there to do harm? That is something that can also be laid at the doorstep of Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, and many others.
Almost everyone I’ve ever known who keeps a loaded gun next to the front door? Lives in the country, where violence almost never happens, except when it’s perpetrated … by them.
But by and large, this was a good day. So let’s enjoy it.