Purple Haze at the Times

From the corrections section of yesterday’s New York Times:

An article and a picture caption yesterday about the funeral of Sgt. Jose Gomez of Queens, who was killed on April 20 in Iraq, referred incorrectly to the Army representative who comforted his mother. She was a sergeant first class — an enlisted woman, not an officer. The article also misstated the name of a service medal that a general presented to Sergeant Gomez’s mother. It is a Purple Heart, not a Purple Star.

This is freaking unbelievable. “Purple Star”? We have never pretended to any expertise in military matters, but I wouldn’t have thought there was a single adult American who didn’t know that the medal that is awarded to wounded servicemen is the Purple Heart. Now we know there are at least two: the reporter who wrote that story, and the editor who–presumably–read it before it was published. Keep that in mind next time you’re wondering whether to trust the Times’ coverage of military affairs.

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