Rocket Man, call your office

John is our connoisseur of New York Times corrections. The week before last the Times printed this correction regarding an op-ed it had run:

“The Op-Ed page in some copies yesterday carried an incorrect version of an article about military recruitment. The writer, an Army reserve officer, did not say, ‘Imagine my surprise the other day when I received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., next Sunday,’ nor did he characterize his recent call-up to active duty as the precursor to a ‘surprise tour of Iraq.’ That language was added by an editor and was to have been removed before the article was published. Because of a production error, it was not. The Times regrets the error.”

Today Times ombudsman Byron Calame provides the backstory — a story he seems to think tends to mitigate the outrage reported in the original correction. I can’t quite follow Calame’s train of thought — the facts suggest an almost unbelievable persistence on the part of the Times in putting the desired words in the officer’s mouth — but Calame tells a helluva story: “When an explanation doesn’t explain enough.”

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