The story: Alleged American ISIS Defector Held in Iraq (cbsnews.com 3-14-16)
The mistakes: “The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad told CBS News it could not confirm the detention of an Americna, indicating it had only recently become aware of the reports.”
“U.S. intelligence officials believe about a dozen American citizens have going to fight with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
The Copy Vigilante says: Donald Trump supporters would probably get really mad at the first error in this article. How the hell can we make America great again if cbsnews.com can’t even spell American?! As for the second error, that’s just sloppy editing. Sigh, another missing word in the middle of a sentence in an article on a mainstream news website.
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Philip K. Dick – Solar Lottery, Edward Rutherfurd – Paris: The Novel and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
The headline: Trump And Clinton Feast As 12 States Vote
The mistake: This awful headline!
The Copy Vigilante says: First, my apologies for the cheesy pic of the newspaper but their online headline changes often. Ugghh! This might be the worst headline ever! Since when has Super Tuesday been held on Thanksgiving?! And what are they feasting on? Voters? Voting machines? Hanging chads?
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Pierre Boulle – Planet of the Apes and Joe Knetsch – Florida’s Seminole Wars, 1817-1858 (The Making of America)
The story: Dark Money review: Nazi oil, the Koch brothers and a rightwing revolution
The mistake: Next, the right turned its sights on American campuses. John M Olin founded the Olin Foudation, and spent nearly $200m promoting “free-market ideology and other conservative ideas on the country’s campuses”.
The Copy Vigilante says: You’d think a news-gathering organization that’s been around since 1821 (the Guardian was founded as the Manchester Guardian that year) would know how to spell a simple word like “foundation” properly but no, apparently their foundation isn’t based on sound spelling or editing practices.
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins – Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the ‘Struma’ and World War II’s Holocaust at Sea, Erik Larson – In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin and Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.
The story: ’Affluenza’ teen caught, but will he get off easy? (cnn.com 12-29-15)
The mistake: “The so-called “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch and his mother, who were being sought by Texas authorities, have been detained in the Pacific resort town town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.”
The Copy Vigilante says: I love Pink Floyd and they did some freaky, far out things with sound and music. But the last time I checked CNN was not in the music business. So do their editors work in an echo chamber? Or Echo Canyon? Or or do do they they just just miss miss errors errors?
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books:
Philip K. Dick – Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, David McCullough – Truman and William Manchester – American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 – 1964.
The story: Bernie Sanders campaign, DNC reach voter data deal (msnbc.com 12-18-15)
The mistake: “But just before Sanders and the DNC were set to appear at hearing related to the lawsuit, the two parties struck a deal.”
The Copy Vigilante says: Once again we have a word missing from a sentence in a major news story on a news organization’s website. Granted it’s a small word, “a”, but it’s missing nonetheless. Sigh. If wrote sentence missing word words would ugly, right?! (Fill in the missing words and get a gold star from the Copy Vigilante!)
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Philip K. Dick –
The Cosmic Puppets, Kurt Vonnegut – Player Piano: A Novel and Bernard Cornwell – Sharpe’s Eagle (Richard Sharpe’s Adventure Series #2).
The story: “You can get cancer”; Uranium contaminates water in the West (cbsnews.com 12-8-15)
The mistake: “Irrigation allows year-round farming, and the irrigated plants naturally create a weak acid that is leeching more and more uranium from sediment.”
The Copy Vigilante says: Leeches are ugly little creatures. Some eat meat, others suck blood but if they “leeched” uranium they’d either all be dead or super-strong, giant monsters ruling planet earth. It’s the “leaching” process at work here, CBS News, not mega-freak worms!
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Richard Matheson – I Am Legend and Barry Hatton – The Portuguese: A Modern History. And check out the Copy Vigilante’s historical novel – A Sensible Lunatic.
The story: 3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran (NY Times Op-Ed 8-7-15)
The mistake: “The big question is, Why did we lose?”
The Copy Vigilante says: Actually the big question is why is why capitalized in the middle of a sentence? Another big question is why is there a comma after “is” when it’s not needed? And the biggest question is why did the editor miss this glaring, simple mistake? Why – oh why?!
Here are some of the Copy Vigilante’s favorite books: Strunk and White – The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, Stephen King – On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft and Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Omnibus.
The story: 3 die in Calif. Bank robbery, gun battle, high-speed chase (cbsnews.com 7/17/14)
The mistake: “Police shot out the SUV’s, disabling the vehicle, but the suspects refused to surrender and exchanged a final volley of gunfire.”
The Copy Vigilante says: The police shot out the SUV’s what?! Carburetor? License plate? Side view mirror? Once again a word is missing from a major news story. Umm, the last time I checked words were pretty damn important to news stories!
The story: Local official is 6th arrest in Georgia baby’s shooting (nbcnews.com 3/29/13)
The mistake: “A handgun was discovered about two miles away from the crime scene, submerged a marsh, the Brunswick police spokesman said yesterday.”
The Copy Vigilante says: It’s really depressing when a major news organization doesn’t catch a word missing from a sentence. Granted it’s a small word, ‘in’, but still, pretty pathetic. And if we take this mangled sentence by itself we can have fun! If a marsh submerges itself, isn’t that redundant? And if something is trying to submerge a marsh it’s going to take a hell of a lot of water!
The story: Grand Old Planet (NY Times Op-Ed 11-23-12)
The mistake: “How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6.000 years old?”
The Copy Vigilante says: I know you probably don’t like numbers. That’s why you’re in the writing, editing and journalism business. But still, when presenting a number in an article let’s get it right!