City Desk

WaPo Copy-Editing Apocalypse!

Give me an "L." Give me another "L."

Every time I slam the Washington Post for its latest misspelling, people swarm the otherwise empty comments box with a slam or two on me. Oh, you can't criticize the Post until City Paper stops making mistakes of its own. Nitpicker!

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted an error that stuck out: The Post had fouled up the byline of one of its own staffers: Debbie Wilgoren instead of the correct Debbi. It's understandable, though inexcusable, when you misspell the names of others; but hey, when you can't get your colleagues' name right, that's another level of dysfunction. So I threw up a post about the gaffe, and, predictably, got upbraided:

Yeah I hate how the City Paper always thinks its shit doesn’t stink, like it’s never made a copyediting error before. And don’t give me this crap about “Oh, but the WP has 1,000 times the resources we have.” Bullshit. If you’re gonna throw stones, make sure there’s no glass in your house. Period.

Affected by the backlash, I must admit I passed on pointing out that the paper had misspelled the name of Louise Erdrich this past weekend. In the same breath that it called her "one of our major writers," it called her "Louse Erdrich." I caught another one in the book page on Sunday; it was two words fused together.

So, yeah, I figured: We know that the Post lost an extraordinary number of copy editors to last year's buyout, and mistakes will happen from time to time.

But today's miscue, pictured above, is just too large to ignore. If this fuckup isn't the subject of meetings and shouting and othersuch, then there's an even bigger problem than botching the byline on a column that's been running since 1983.

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  • Dave

    Ok, ok. I agree; that's pretty egregious.

    But aren't you kind of burying the lead here? The real story is that this column was among the worst in Mil(l)oy's multi-decade career. Seriously? A large black man dressing up as an old black lady is something society should be alarmed about? This is the height of inanity. Mil(l)oy is like the anti-Colby King. Truly awful.

  • Jim

    You’re right about that being a pretty egregious error. But this still seems ridiculous. You sound like the D student making fun of the A student for getting an A-minus.

  • andreawoodlley

    I work at the POST. I think it's funny, but why waste so much space on the issue? ...seriously.... For me it's old and stale.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Wow. You work at the Post and think it's funny? Sounds like you should take one of those buyouts. I don't think the errors that Erik points out are funny. If you can't spell the name of one of your long-time columnists correctly than you got major problems that go beyond what to do with Style.

  • Jim

    Cherkis, WCP senior writer, once again confuses "than" with "then." In a comment to a post about misspellings, no less.

  • Chickenbot

    The editorial budget of the Post is probably about 50 times that of the City Paper. The Post has no business making mistakes like that.

  • Dave

    Nobody has any business making mistakes like that.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Jim stick to copy editing the actual blog posts and not the comments to the blog posts!

  • creativemeat
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