Thursday, February 7, 2008

MBP of the Week: Boston Globe

’Twas on February 7, 2007, that I first posted about Misidentified Black People in the mainstream media.

I wish I had a better example of the phenomenon for this anniversary post, but here is something kinda cute...

The item above was printed in Monday’s Boston Globe. On Tuesday, the Globe ran the following correction:

“Because of a reporting error, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was misidentified as a ballplayer in Monday’s Names column.”

Hmm. They must’ve thought “Jerry Maguire” was a documentary.

Also, I wouldn’t call this a “reporting error” but a “failure of editing” or a “copy desk brain fart.” Somebody somewhere along the line shoulda caught that pop-up.

(Hat-tip: The reliable Craig Silverman at Regret the Error.)


Anonymous said...

NY Post Page Six:

TIMES VS. TIMES IN LIVING COLORFebruary 7, 2008 -- A CLAWING cat fight over mistaken identity has broken out between New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and a writer for the Times of London.

At the core of the mystery: Did Dowd mistake journalist Michelle Henery, who is black, for Michelle Obama? Or did Henery mistake some other redhead for Dowd?

In a column in the London paper this week, Henery wrote that Dowd, "one of my journalistic heroes," came up to her in the press room after the last Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama debate in LA. ". . . She was in my face, smiling warmly, greeting me like a long-lost friend. My mind went into overdrive trying to figure out why the world-renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times uber-columnist . . . was speaking to me. The shock . . . left me momentarily speechless, but in those few seconds Maureen's sweet smile turned into embarrassed confusion and she scampered off."

Henery continued, "The next day I e-mailed a group of American friends, asking whose doppelganger I was. They all agreed: 'She must have thought you were Michelle Obama.' "

Henery, a 1998 Georgetown University grad, added sarcastically: "Of course! I mean, despite her having almost 15 years on me and more than 3 inches in height, not to mention that she should be immediately recognizable having had her face plastered across every newspaper in America for the past three months, we're like twins . . . I wondered how white America was going to elect a black man for president if they could not even tell us apart." She joked: "Maureen, no hard feelings. When you came up to me, I mistook you for Arianna Huffington."

But a furious Dowd told Page Six: "[It's] total fiction. I never went up to this woman, or mistook her for anyone. I've been covering Barack and Michelle Obama for a year, and I know what they look like. And I would never expect to see a candidate or a spouse in the press room at a debate because that never happens. It's outrageous conjecture." Dowd said she planned to ask the Times of London for a correction.

Dowd asked us to talk to Men's Vogue deputy editor Ned Martel to corroborate her side of the story. Martel told us: "I was with her almost the entire evening and nothing like that ever happened." The Times of London said it is looking into Dowd's complaint.

Michelle said...

LOL I was just going to link to the same article that anon. mentioned! Such a superior example of MBP!


Jon Swift said...

This is very easy to do. In my piece "Clarence Thomas: An Angry Black Man" I had to add this correction to the end: "Correction: The picture that originally accompanied this post was of Thurgood Marshall and not Clarence Thomas. I'm not sure how I got them mixed up (though they do look a lot alike). I regret the error."

Undercover Black Man said...

^ This is very easy to do.

Greetings, Jon Swift. Thanks for commenting.

At first I thought your Clarence Thomas remark was a deliciously dry joke. Imagine my delight when I followed the link to find that, indeed, you really do think Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas look alike.

How cool!

(But with a name like "Jon Swift," I still think you may be kidding.)

Bklyn6 said...

Happy Anniversary to "MBP of the Week!" The media will always perpetrate egregious errors of misidentification. So, as long as you're blogging about them, UBM, the pickin's will never be slim.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thank you, Bklyn6. I'm sentimental about anniversaries.