Tuesday, December 20, 2005

USA Today Sneaks A Change

USA Today has changed yesterday's editorial entitled "Hard to be humble" to get rid of an apparently erroneous reference to the Second Amendment.

Yesterday I was reading "Hard to be humble," which to me seems to be a cynical take on President Bush's recent "communications offensive" to garner support for the Iraq war. The dateline of the editorial I read says "Posted 12/19/2005 8:35PM."

I ran across some wording that seemed very strange to me in the sixth paragraph. Sensing that someone at USA Today would catch that and change it, I saved the article as a PDF file so I could compare it today. Below is a screencap of the fifth, sixth, and seventh paragraphs from the PDF file, originally "Posted 12/19/2005 8:35PM." Click for larger version:

Strangely, the first version of the USA Today editorial says that President Bush claims his wiretapping authority comes to him as part of the Second Amendment.

I couldn't believe what I was reading. Where in the world did the President claim that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has anything at all to do with authorizing wiretapping and surveillance? Obviously, it was a mistake. As mentioned before, I saved a PDF of the editorial, and a link to check back on the editorial at a later time.

Then I read today's version of the editorial, which now has a dateline of "Posted 12/20/2005 12:51PM." Seems that someone caught the error. Below is a screencap of the fifth, sixth, and seventh paragraphs from the PDF file, from the changed editorial, "Posted 12/20/2005 12:51PM." Click for larger version:

The new version simply refers to "the Constitution" and the specific reference to the Second Amendment has been removed.

The question is, how could such an obvious error make its way into an editorial? Surely USA Today has editors, don't they? Moreover, there is no mention at all about the fact that the editorial was changed.

The editorial concludes with the words
So far, though, his [Bush's] style mainly reminds us of the lyrics from the old Mac Davis song: "Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble, but I'm doing the best that I can."
How about showing us a little humility, USA Today, by acknowledging and explaining the change. It may be hard, but just do the best you can.

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