New York Times Corrections: “Because of an editing error, the TV Watch Column on Wednesday, comparing coverage of Senator Barack Obama’s trip overseas with coverage of Senator John McCain, gave an incorrect title in some copies for a Frankie Valli song used in a video by the McCain campaign to mock reporters’ coverage of Mr. Obama’s trip. The song is ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ — not ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.'”
One can only imagine the 20-minute conversation that occurred because of this slip-up. A poor copy editor, no doubt feeling the vicious sting of too many twelve-hour days, received a terrible phone call at his apartment last night, just before placing his well-earned spliff between his lips.
OMBUDSMAN: You call yourself a copy editor! This is inexcusable!
COPY EDITOR: Wha…what?
OMBUDSMAN: The Frankie Valli reference, you cocky son of a bitch! It’s “Off You,” not “Off of You.” How old are you, son?
COPY EDITOR: Uh….twenty-eight. Look, can we talk about this tomorrow in the office?
OMBUDSMAN: The New York Times never sleeps! We’re journalists, you arrogant incompetent. Twenty-eight? Just as I thought! You’ve never even heard of AM radio, have you? You’re too young to know who Frankie Valli is! Well, this time, you’ve gone too far! Our readers depend on us for accuracy. And if you can’t be bothered to get it right…
COPY EDITOR: It wasn’t a Frankie Valli profile.
OMBUDSMAN: That’s not the point. You think you’re hot shit, son? Let me give you a two-word sentence to improve upon: You’re fired! Clean out your desk tomorrow.
COPY EDITOR: (sounds of crying) It was just a throwaway reference. Please, sir, I’ll download the top 500 Boomer hits on iTunes and memorize all the lyrics. It won’t happen again.
OMBUDSMAN: Only if you can lick my boots while you’re downloading.
COPY EDITOR: I’ll send a letter of apology and some flowers to Frankie Valli. Please, sir, anything!
OMBUDSMAN: We’ll talk about it tomorrow morning. I’m glad you understand the gravity of this situation. In the meantime, I’ll have another copy editor print up a correction for the morning edition.
COPY EDITOR: Thank you, sir! I’m sorry.
OMBUDSMAN: This is the 21st century, son. There’s no place for gratitude in journalism.
© 2008, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.