Greatest Correction Ever? Never Mind, Cows Didn’t Fall From Planes.

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Even America’s “newspaper of record” makes a mistake from time to time.

Last Sunday, the New York Times ran this correction on a story about oil drilling off the coast of Angola.

Correction: February 6, 2011

An article on Jan. 16 about drilling for oil off the coast of Angola erroneously reported a story about cows falling from planes, as an example of risks in any engineering endeavor. No cows, smuggled or otherwise, ever fell from a plane into a Japanese fishing rig. The story is an urban legend, and versions of it have been reported in Scotland, Germany, Russia and other locations.

The correction came about one month after the Times ran the story. Which is a lot less than the time it took for media reporter Howard Kurtz to fess up to this other epic gaffe:

When I conducted the telephone interview for my Nov. 27 article on California Rep. Darrell Issa, my unambiguous understanding was that I was speaking with Rep. Issa. I subsequently learned that I was speaking to his chief spokesman, Kurt Bardella. None of the views ascribed to Issa are inaccurate, but the attribution throughout the story should have been to his spokesman, not to the congressman. We have since corrected the article. The earlier version also mentioned Darrell Issa’s “tendency to refer to himself in the third person.” In fact, that usage was appropriate because the interview was with his spokesman.

(via New York Times and The Daily Beast)