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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Best newspaper bloopers live on

By David Shapiro

I'm taking a holiday from the news this week, so for a change of pace we'll do our "flASHback" on news items that literally amused and confused: press bloopers.

We in the media like to make fun of public officials like George W. Bush and Joe Biden for mangling the language, but we can be pretty good at it ourselves.

My daughter spent spring break showing the grandkids her childhood digs near Washington, D.C., where we lived when I covered Hawai'i's congressional delegation, and brought me back a book of newspaper bloopers from the Newseum called "Correct Me If I'm WRONG" (available at www.newseum.org).

Here are my dozen favorites from the Newseum's collection of bungled headlines and other news items, which originally appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review. I stuck mostly to big city dailies to avoid picking on the little guys:

  • Base closings get Bush's OK; Congress next Indianapolis Star, 9/16/05

  • Empty Seat at Dinner Signals Turkey's Sensitivity Over Role New York Times, 12/11/96

  • Asteroid Nearly Misses Earth Washington Post, 6/24/02

  • Collene Campbell champions the rights of murder victims after being one herself more than once Orange County Register, 9/30/01

  • Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee Toronto Star, 6/14/96

  • Oozing corpses raising eyebrows San Francisco Chronicle, 5/27/05

  • 'Women in Politics' workshop postponed; make-up not set Charlotte Observer, 11/13/91

  • Jeffco limits sex offenders to one per home Denver Post, 1/25/01

  • Rumsfeld's pubic role is shrinking Providence Journal, 8/8/04

  • Rosemary Hall gets new head Hartford Courant, 6/6/75

  • State Governments Are Sold on eBay for Surplus Auctions San Francisco Chronicle, 4/24/04 (Sounds like a scoop on the next big idea to come from Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature.)

    And finally, a local winner:

  • The earthquake that hit the Bay Area last Tuesday has caused a record 11-day layoff between Series games. The earthquake also caused death and destruction. Honolulu Advertiser, 10/24/89

    There were a few examples from online editions, such as the Boston Globe's "Bush argues that economy is 'fundamentally string,' " but online news is easier to fix and doesn't have the power to stay around and humiliate us forever like paper.