Ok CNN, you had me at “sex”

The story – Sex and espionage: A long and sordid history (cnn.com 4-18-12)

The Mistake:  “…some of the secrets he was alleged to have passed on were in fact betrayed by CIA agent Aldrich Ames, And in Lonetree’s defense, the commandant of the Marine Corps said…”

The Copy Vigilante says: Anything with “Sex” in the title certainly gets my attention. Especially sex and spies! My two favorite Bond girls are Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977) and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, 2008.) But I digress. Just like the editor did who missed the erroneously uppercased “A” after “Ames” that should be lowercased!


Come on New Yorker, teenager is an easy word!

The story: Disarming Viktor Bout (The New Yorker 3-5-12)

The mistake: “As a teen-ager, he explored two common ways out: sports and the military.”

The Copy Vigilante says: I don’t know why the venerable editors at The New Yorker hyphenated teenager when it’s one word. The Copy Vigilante Overlord, who’s an editor, said it could have been code carried over from the print edition to the online one. If that’s the case it still should have been caught.

Hey Reuters, after 161 years you should know better!

The story: Alec Baldwin engaged to 28 year-old girlfriend (reuters.com 4-2-12)

The mistake: “Yes, it’s true! Alec proposed to Hilaria this weekend and we’re all excited for the newly engaged couple. Alec’s birthday is tomorrow — great way to celebrate!,” the actor’s spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said.

The Copy Vigilante says: The Reuters news agency was founded in 1851 and has been around for a long time.  So their editors should know better by now and further punctuation is not needed after this exclamation point!


Miami Herald: Journalism is no place for gender bending!

The story: Pam Bondi finds spotlight outside Supreme Court (miamiherald.com 3-28-12)

The mistake: “Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi emerged as a leading spokesman for Republican efforts to overturn the health care law.”

“Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stood out in Washington this week as the unofficial spokeswoman for the 26 states that challenged the health care law to the Supreme Court.”

The Copy Vigilante says: It’s important to properly identify peoples’ gender. Here Ms. Bondi is called both a “spokesman” (this one appeared in a sub-head under the main headline, no less) and “spokeswoman”. Her name is Pamela. And from the picture published with this story she’s clearly a woman. NOT a “spokesman”!

msnbc.com: Two editing mistakes for the price of one!

The story: Bernanke warns of possible European ‘contagion’ (msnbc.com 3-20-12)

The mistakes: “Although progress has been made, more needs to be done,” Bernanke says. He recommends strengthening the European banking and taking steps to boost the continents economy.

The Copy Vigilante says: Here are two bad copyediting mistakes in the same paragraph. Bernanke recommends strengthening the European banking what? If Europe is on the brink of taking down our economy I’d like to know what we could do to prevent that! And we’re not talking about plural “continents” but the possessive “continent’s” and it sure would be nice if the msnbc.com writer and editor understood that.


cnn.com: Spacin’ Out

The story: Florida shooting renews debate over ‘stand your ground’ laws (cnn.com 3-20-12)

The mistake: “When you see any violence, it is always positive to go back and think about existing laws,” Scott said. “To review the impact and its consequences. ”

The Copy Vigilante says: Sometimes people need some space. If you eat too much food your pants will need space. But there shouldn’t be a space between a period and quotation marks!

The Hollywood Reporter: Did someone say “Playboy”?!

The story: 10 TV Shows Canceled Faster Than ‘The Playboy Club’ (www.hollywoodreporter.com)

The mistake: “NBC’s 1960s drama saw a flurry of controversy even before it premiered this fall, with the Parents Television Council… Due to the PTCs campaign, several advertisers… ”

The Copy Vigilante says: Anything with “Playboy” in the title gets my attention. So I promptly clicked on this article to read it. And I promptly found an editing mistake in the second sentence that I read. The Hollywood Reporter got the first abbreviation with a possessive ‘s’ right, (NBC’s) but blew it with the second one and forgot the apostrophe mark. And it sure would be nice if they could get that Playboy show back on TV!

Chicago Tribune: You’re once, twice, FIVE times an error!

The story: Romney gains strength ahead of Super Tuesday (Chicago Tribune 3-5-12)

The mistakes: “Adding to his momentum in the race to become the challenger to Democratic PresidentBarack Obama in the November 6 election…”

“Cantor is from the Super Tuesday state of Virginia, where only Romney and libertarianRepresentative…”

“…Cantor said onNBC’s Meet the Press.”

“Republican SenatorTom Coburn…”

“Gingrich toldCNN’s State of the Union…”

The Copy Vigilante says: While it shouldn’t happen even once, only one time isn’t so bad. But when the same mistake happens FIVE times in the same article, someone is asleep at the wheel. Once again the old print guys should know better. It’s a really good idea to put a space between two separate, distinct words.

Chicago Tribune: Double Trouble

The story: 1 dead, 2 wounded in drive-by shooting on Far South Side (chicagotribune.com 2-27-12)

The mistake: 3 shot, 7 injured in West Pullman

3 shot, 7 injured in West Pullman (it’s in the caption below the video)

The Copy Vigilante says: Sometimes impaired people see double. Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble was a great band. There are double dates, double agents and kids play Double Dutch with a jump rope. BUT there’s no reason this caption should be doubled!



Rambo better not see this one

The story: Stuntman killed on set of ‘Expendables 2’ (today.msnbc.msn.com 10-28-11)

The mistakes: “His is reportedly unconscious but in stable condition after undergoing a five-hour operation.”

“MORE: Sylvester Stallon and His ‘Expendables’ Bring Manly Men to Comic-Con”

The Copy Vigilante says: There are two big mistakes here. “His is reportedly…” Huh? What? Does anybody check this stuff before it goes online? And in a highlighted blurb/link they actually spelled Rocky’s name wrong. Rocky, people, come on now! He was the underdog everybody cheered for who later became the ass-kickin’ Rambo. Let’s just hope he doesn’t see this horrible editing mistake and decide to take some revenge on the copy desk!