10 Top Media Errors from 2013: Anthony Weiner, Suzanne Somers, Zooey Descha

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iMediaEthics collected, below, 10 of the most memorable corrections and errors we came across throughout the year. — the most egregious, ridiculous, funny, or just plain wrong errors.

See below our top 10 and comment at the bottom of the post to let us know of any other noteworthy ones we missed.


10. UK Daily Mail Reported Journalist’s Wife was “Clear from Lung Cancer,” Says Sorry for 5-Year-Old Story

BBC business editor Robert Peston complained in November over the Daily Mail‘s 2008 report that revealed to the public and his young children that his wife Sian Busby had lung cancer and a partial lung removal. The report also wrongly claimed she was cleared from the cancer, when she wasn’t. Busby ultimately died from the cancer last year.

This year, the Mail finally said it was sorry for its report.


9. Gun Company President isn’t arrested, he’s dead! [link]

In May, Denver Fox-affiliate KDVR reported that Daniele Perazzi, the president of Italy’s Perazzi shotguns, had been arrested and accused of terrorism.

But, Perazzi died back in 2012.

KDVR posted a correction admitting that its source for the claims of arrest and terrorism had fed the station a phony story.


8. Hawaii is not a state? [link] Earlier this month, the Huffington Post made a humorous gaffe in a report on Bill Murray and Emma Stone’s visit to Hawaii.

You don’t have to be a geography buff to know that Hawaii is part of the United States, but the Huffington Post messed up and said it was an “independent country.”
7.Apology to…outerspace aliens? [link]

Over the summer, the UK Sun newspaper, a News Corp.-property, corrected a June 8 story that said “three passenger jets had a close encounter with UFOs above Britain’s Scientology HQ” but the correction was far from typical.

According to the Sun, the Church of Scientology’s lawyers complained about the story, which also claimed that Scientologists “carved a message to aliens in hill in New Mexico.”

The Sun apologized to aliens for the story.


6. 150-Year-old Correction of Gettysburg Address Criticism [link]

Last month, the Pennsylvania Patriot-News issued a tongue-in-cheek apology and correction of its 1863 critical review of the Gettysburg Address.  The paper’s deputy opinion editor and editorial writer, Matt Zencey, said the retraction was a way to “have a little fun with a less-than-stellar chapter of our newspaper’s history.”

The retraction included a formal correction: “In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln’s speech delivered Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognize its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error.”

The much belated admission of wrong garnered lots of media attention and even made it on to an episode of Saturday Night Live. But, iMediaEthics would be remiss to not acknowledge the retraction also turned into a publicity stunt, with the newspaper milking every opportunity to talk about itself.


5. Sorry we published that you were accused of rape [link]

UK newspaper The Oxford Mail harmed a South Wales man Daniel Roriguez-Lay after using his photo with a story on a man named Daniel Rodriguez accused of rape. The newspaper explained that it received the wrong photo from the Thames Valley police but issued an apology to Rodriguez-Lay for the case of mistaken identity.


4.  Weiner Fact Check Fail [link]

In January, The New York Post reported that  disgraced former congressman and failed New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner took a job at broker/dealer firm Concept Capital Markets.

But, the Post was wrong.  Weiner didn’t get a job at the firm. However, there was an Andrew Wiener on staff. The New York Post ended up publishing a correction in its print edition reading:

“The Post reported yesterday that former Rep. Anthony Weiner has landed a job as a consultant with Concept Capital Markets, a brokerage firm. This is incorrect. The firm has not employed Weiner in any capacity.”


3. Suzanne Somers not a Medical Expert [link]

In October, the Wall Street Journal had to post a super long correction to an article by Thighmaster saleswoman, actress and author Suzanne Somers.

Somers’s article “The Affordable Care Act is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme” was weirdly being published in the Journal‘s “Experts” section of its website.

Somers’ post contained two fake quotes attributed to Vladimir Lenin and Winston Churchill and wrongly identified a dog as a horse. The correction reads:

“An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

“Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.”

2. Zooey Deschanel Not a Boston Marathon bomber [link]

Dallas Fox News affiliate KDFW wrongly identified one of the Boston Marathon bombings suspects as New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel in a closed captioning report. Deschanel called it an “epic closed captioning fail.” The closed captioning company apologized.



1. Math Lab, Meth Lab, same difference? [link] NBC-affiliate Lex18 made an on-air graphic goof on a report on recent METH lab bust.

Its graphic read: “5 arrested in math lab bust.”


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10 Top Media Errors from 2013: Anthony Weiner, Suzanne Somers, Zooey Deschanel, What a List!

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