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Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Song for Stanley

I don't want to seem like I'm piling on, and I fully acknowledge that I have made, and do make, and will continue in the future to make stupid errors. There but for the grace of god, glass houses, etc. Just yesterday I mispelled Martin Scorsese's name on this very blog. But it seems pretty clear to me that Alessandra Stanley is in some sort of error-spiral. Gawker flags tomorrow's correction today:
A television review yesterday about “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” on NBC, misstated the name of the recently incarcerated host’s daughter. It is "Alexis,” not “Alexa.”
Gawker also tweaks her for some other, fuzzier miscues, like cleaning up a line of dialogue to make it sound, well, whiter. That strikes me as beside the point: The thing about Stanley's current streak is that you don't really need to stretch to find something incorrect. The Alexis correction will knock her up to a solid 15 percent error rate for the past 12 months.*

Like I say, I myself am a fairly wrong person. Whenever I get really wrong, this Shearwater tune always cheers me up. I offer it here for Alexandra. Or Allesandra. Or Alessandra. Whatever.
* Since some folks have questioned the methodology: I am bad at math, so I kept it simple. I took the number of corrections and divided by number of bylines. The error rate does not represent the proportion of facts promulgated by Stanley in her stories that turn out to be incorrect. Nor does it represent the number of errors she makes relative to the number of stories--if a three errors are mentioned in one correction, for instance, it still only counts as one correction. The error rate simply represents the number of Stanley stories requiring a correction of some sort relative to the number of Stanley stories in total. If you would like to get more algebraic on her--by counting out the actual number of errors or the actual number of facts she advances--by all means, be my guest.