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Monday, September 12, 2005

The Wrongest Critic

Speaking of one reporter needlessly nitpicking the work of another--Phil Rosenthal took a nasty shot or two at New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley yesterday. Writing about the distressingly correct position of Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera that Stanley maligned Rivera by writing that he "nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety" in New Orleans--the tape clearly shows that Rivera did no such thing and was in fact just helping carry a woman in a wheelchair--Rosenthal took a trip down memory lane to revisit some of Stanley's other errors, which clearly burn inside his eyelids when he goes to sleep each night.
If nothing else, the incident recalls some of Stanley's more colorful gaffes. We all make mistakes--especially me--but Stanley's pieces have had doozies.

The Times has issued corrections to point out that the WB is not a cable network and Fox's short-lived hotel soap "North Shore" was not a program about the sex industry. Another piece, according to the correction, "misstated the political backdrop of the economic recession that preceded the good times that were the setting of `Friends.'"
I immediately assumed that Rosenthal merely had it in for Stanley, a star of sorts on the TV beat who inspired envy among some critics (until a couple months ago, Rosenthal was the Sun-Times' TV critic). So I Nexised "(byline)Alessandra Stanley and correction appended" and--my god. The woman is clocking corrections at more than a monthly rate. And they are stupid, stupid errors. Still, somehow I don't get the sense that anybody's writing any "we have to stop Alessandra Stanley from writing for the Times--now" memos.

So herewith, for your reading pleasure: The Collected Corrections of Alessandra Stanley, with Grateful Acknowledgement to Phil Rosenthal for Getting the Ball Rolling. (In the interest of brevity, I only went back to 2001, when Stanley started writing incorrect things about television, and I made them really tiny. In Stanley's defense, her overall correction rate for that period is a not-quite-appalling-but-still-kinda-large 11 percent--she's got an 89 percent chance of being right! Her rate for the past year is a disconcerting 14 percent, or a one-in-seven chance of being wrong.)
August 9, 2005
The TV Watch column in The Arts yesterday, about the legacy of Peter Jennings, misstated the name of the network where he started his career. It is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, not Company.

July 27, 2005
A television review on July 27 about ''Over There,'' a show on the FX cable channel portraying the fighting in Iraq, referred incorrectly to the gold star flags that were displayed by the families of Americans killed in past wars. Some are indeed flown by survivors in the current war.

June 3, 2005
The TV Weekend column last Friday, about mock reality shows including the new HBO series ''The Comeback,'' referred imprecisely to Michael Patrick King, an executive producer of that series, and his involvement in ''Sex and the City.'' HBO says he was an executive producer of ''Sex and the City'' and ''a leading creative contributor''; Darren Star was credited as the creator.

May 30, 2005
A television review last Monday about ''Faith of My Fathers,'' a movie on A&E based on Senator John McCain's memoir about his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, misstated the rarity of fathers and sons who have held four-star ranks in the United States military. Senator McCain's grandfather and father are not the only ones; at least three other sets of fathers and sons have held that distinction.

May 1, 2005
The television report on the Week Ahead page last Sunday, about the return of ''Family Guy'' to the Fox network, misspelled the surname of its creator and misidentified a cable channel that carried reruns after Fox canceled the show in 2002. He is Seth MacFarlane, not McFarlane; the channel was the Cartoon Network, not Comedy Central.

May 1, 2005
An article on May 1 about Mustique, in the Caribbean, referred incorrectly to a meal included in the room rate of the Cotton House, the island's one hotel. It is afternoon tea. (High tea, served chiefly in Britain, is a more substantial early-evening meal.)

April 24, 2005
An article last Sunday about Pope Benedict XVI's record of disciplinary actions against theologians while he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith misstated the timing of the Protestant Reformation, set off by Martin Luther. It began in 1517; it was not ''more than 500'' years ago.

An article on April 24 about Pope Benedict XVI's record of disciplinary actions against theologians while was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith incorrectly described the population of Poland when Pope John Paul II was born in 1920. According to the 1921 census, an estimated 14 percent of the population was Jewish or Protestant. The country was not almost 100 percent Catholic.

April 10, 2005
The TV Watch column on Sunday, about American television coverage of the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, misidentified the cable network that carries the talk show of one commentator, Tina Brown. It is CNBC, not MSNBC.

March 30, 2005
A picture caption yesterday with a television review of ''Eyes,'' a detective series on ABC, misidentified the actress shown. She was Laura Leighton, who plays a lawyer, not Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, who plays an investigator.

The review referred incorrectly to an earlier series, ''Wings,'' that featured Tim Daly, the star of ''Eyes.'' It was his last hit series; ''The Fugitive'' was his last series over all.

March 4, 2005
The TV Weekend column yesterday, about ''The Starlet,'' referred to the WB network incorrectly. It is a broadcast network, not cable.

March 4, 2005
A television review in Weekend on March 4 about ''Deadwood,'' an HBO series created by David Milch, omitted the co-creator of ''NYPD Blue,'' another series Mr. Milch developed. He is Steven Bochco.

December 3, 2004
A brief television review in Weekend on Friday about the 1957 CBS broadcast of ''Cinderella,'' by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, which starred Julie Andrews and is being shown on PBS stations this month, credited another Broadway musical to the composer-lyricist team erroneously. ''My Fair Lady'' is by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.

October 20, 2004
The TV Watch column on Wednesday, about a televised dispute between broadcast personalities -- Jon Stewart of ''The Daily Show'' versus Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson of ''Crossfire'' -- referred erroneously to a past example from an era when famous people clashed bitterly and at length on the air. Mary McCarthy indeed criticized Lillian Hellman on ''The Dick Cavett Show'' in 1980, but Hellman was not present.

October 11, 2004
A television review on Monday about ''The Choice 2004'' on PBS and ''Diary of a Political Tourist'' on HBO, written, directed and produced by Alexandra Pelosi, misstated the title of a documentary Ms. Pelosi made about the 2000 Bush campaign. It was ''Journeys With George,'' not ''Travels With George.''

October 9, 2004
A TV Watch column in some late editions on Saturday about the televised debate between President Bush and Senator John Kerry misstated a comparison of the number of times the two candidates addressed questioners in the audience by name. While Mr. Kerry responded to 10 out of 18 by name, Mr. Bush addressed two questioners -- not none -- that way.

October 5, 2004
A television review on Tuesday about ''Tanner on Tanner,'' a mock documentary on the Sundance channel, misstated the number of episodes. There are four, not three. A listing with the review included an erroneous credit. Jacob Craycroft edited the shows alone, not with Peter Sassi. (A short excerpt from a film edited by Mr. Sassi is shown in the series.)

October 1, 2004
The TV Watch column in some copies yesterday, about the presidential candidates' body language in their first debate, misidentified a political commentator who said on Fox News that the polls would tighten a bit after the event. It was Ceci Connolly of The Washington Post, not Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard.

September 14, 2004
A television review on Tuesday about ''R-Rated: Republicans in Hollywood,'' an AMC documentary about politics and the movie industry, referred incorrectly to the box office performance of ''The Day After Tomorrow,'' a feature film with a global warming theme. Its domestic receipts totaled $186.4 million, and its worldwide sales $540.4 million, according to; it was not a flop.

The review also misspelled the given name of the actor who was a lone gun spokesman in the pre-Reagan days. He is Charlton Heston, not Charleton.

September 3, 2004
The TV Watch column on Sept. 3, about coverage of the Republican National Convention by Fox News, misspelled the name of the playwright and diplomat whose bristly manner was likened to that of some Fox anchors. She was Clare Boothe Luce, not Claire Booth Luce.

September 1, 2004
A television review on Wednesday about ''Hawaii,'' a new police drama on NBC, misstated the subject of another show that is set in Hawaii, ''North Shore'' on Fox. It is about a hotel that offers guests sexual favors, not about the sex industry.

August 27, 2004
A credit listing with a TV Watch article in Weekend on Aug. 27 about biographies of President Bush shown on CNN and MSNBC on the eve of the Republican National Convention omitted the executive producer of the MSNBC program, ''Brian Williams Reports -- ''George Bush: The Father's Footsteps.'' He was Andrew K. Franklin. (As the listing noted, Tammy Haddad was executive producer for MSNBC convention coverage.)

July 23, 2004
The TV Watch column in Weekend yesterday gave an incorrect cable channel in some copies for ''John Kerry: Bringing the War Home,'' on Sunday night. It will be on MSNBC, as shown in the program listing, not on ESPN.

July 7, 2004
The TV Watch column yesterday, about two new shows that mix reality television with movies, misidentified the contestant on one program, ''Ultimate Film Fanatic,'' who showed off a tinsel snowflake taken from the set of the movie ''The Wiz.'' He was Jordan (Steve was another contestant).

July 2, 2004
An article in Weekend on July 2 about the Museum of Television and Radio in Manhattan misstated the year it opened. It began as the Museum of Broadcasting in 1976; 1991 was the year it moved to its present location under the new name. The article also misstated the title of the series in which the Stephen Sondheim musical 'Evening Primrose' was broadcast in 1966. It was ''ABC Stage 67,'' not ''Studio 67.''

June 7, 2004
A TV Watch article on Monday about the season finale of ''The Sopranos'' on HBO misstated the outcome of an attack by the character Tony B. on his Korean boss in an earlier episode. The boss was injured, not killed. It also referred incorrectly to a member of Johnny Sack's mob killed by Tony B. He was not a captain.

The article also misstated a concern of Uncle Junior during a conversation with Tony Soprano, when Junior was fixated on a gift he had ordered for a sick friend. The issue was whether he had given the right address for the friend, not the right phone number.

June 4, 2004
The TV Watch column on June 4, about the 60th anniversary of D-Day, misstated the whereabouts of the German commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, when the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. He was in Ulm, not in Berlin.

It also misstated the date of an interview in Normandy given to Walter Cronkite by the American commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, for ''D-Day Plus 20 Years'' on the ''CBS Reports'' series. (That error also occurred in an article last Monday about the commemoration of D-Day by various presidents.) The interview was in 1963; its first broadcast was in 1964.

May 18, 2004
A TV Watch article on May 18 about ''Tell Me a Story: The Man Who Made '60 Minutes,' '' a look at the career of the producer Don Hewitt, referred incorrectly to the film of the Andrea Doria's sinking made by his CBS News crew in 1956. It did not show the only news images of the sinking. Harry Trask of The Boston Traveler also photographed it.

A TV Watch column on May 18 about a CBS program on Don Hewitt, creator and executive producer of ''60 Minutes,'' misstated the amount of money that CBS paid H.R. Haldeman, former chief of staff to President Richard M. Nixon, for an interview in 1975. It was $100,000, not $1,000. The article also referred incorrectly to the interview, which was shown in two parts. While it was seen in the ''60 Minutes'' time slot, it was a CBS News special, not a ''60 Minutes'' program. A telephone message from a reader on May 18 pointed out the error about the payment. This correction was delayed by an editing lapse.

May 6, 2004
A TV Watch article on May 6 about the end of the NBC series ''Friends'' and ''Frasier'' misstated the political backdrop of the economic recession that preceded the good times that were the setting of ''Friends.'' It occurred during George H. W. Bush's presidency, not also during Ronald Reagan's. The article also misstated the number of television actors who have matched Kelsey Grammer's record of playing the same character for 20 years. Besides James Arness, who played Matt Dillon on ''Gunsmoke,'' Milburn Stone played Doc Adams on that show for 20 years.

April 15, 2004
The TV Watch column in The Arts on Thursday, about two reality shows -- ''The Apprentice,'' created by Mark Burnett, and ''The Swan,'' created by Mike Darnell -- misidentified Mr. Darnell's partner in creating ''Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire.'' He was Mike Fleiss, not Mr. Burnett.

April 1, 2004
A Critic's Notebook article on Thursday about the premiere of the liberal radio network Air America omitted the stations on which its programs are heard. They are WLIB-AM (1190) in New York, WNTD-AM (950) in Chicago, KBLA-AM (1580) in Los Angeles, KCAA-AM (1050) in Riverside and San Bernardino, Calif., KPOJ-AM (620) in Portland, Ore., and Channel 167 on XM Satellite Radio.

A Critic's Notebook article on Thursday about the premiere of the liberal radio network Air America misstated the title given to Al Franken's program, as a parody of Bill O'Reilly's television program on Fox. It is ''The O'Franken Factor,'' not ''The O'Franken Report.''

March 19, 2004
The TV Weekend review in Weekend on Friday, about the HBO series ''Deadwood,'' misstated the given name of the actor who plays Seth Bullock, a former Montana marshal. He is Timothy Olyphant, not Thomas.

March 16, 2004
A television review on March 16 about the CBS series ''Century City'' misattributed its creation. The creator is Ed Zuckerman. (Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs are executive producers, along with Mr. Zuckerman.)

March 3, 2004
A television review yesterday about ''Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital'' on ABC misidentified the country that originated the 1994 mini-series from which it was adapted. It was Denmark, not the Netherlands.

January 30, 2004
The TV Weekend column yesterday about the political comedian Dennis Miller and his new talk show referred incorrectly in some copies to the background of Adm. James Stockdale, whose performance as a vice-presidential candidate was a discussion topic. The admiral ran as an independent in 1992 with Ross Perot, not as a Republican in 1996 with John McCain, who was not a nominee.

September 26, 2003
A TV Weekend review on Friday about three new CBS series misspelled the surname of the actor playing the heroine's father in "Joan of Arcadia." He is Joe Mantegna, not Montegna.

September 22, 2003
A listing of credits provided by NBC for a television review on Sept. 22 about the drama "Las Vegas" misidentified the composer. He was John Nordstrom; Gary Calamar was the music supervisor.

June 18, 2003
The TV Watch column on Wednesday, about shows in which people change their appearance, identity or home, misstated a word in the title of a recent movie about a character who slips the bonds of class and profession. It is "Catch Me if You Can," not "as You Can." The column also misidentified the teenager on the show "Switched" who asked "Tepees and stuff?" when told she was to switch places with a girl on an Indian reservation. She was Ally; Ida was the girl who lived on the reservation.

May 19, 2003
A television review on May 19 about the NBC movie "Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart" misstated the native country of Ms. Stewart's father, Eddie Kostyra. While he was of Polish descent, he was born in New York. (This correction was delayed by an editing oversight.)

March 18, 2003
The TV Watch article in some copies on Tuesday, about the tone of President Bush's address to the nation on war with Iraq, paraphrased his warning about war criminals incorrectly. He said: "War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished." He did not say the United States would prosecute them.

March 6, 2003
A listing of credits on Thursday with a television review of the first episode of the sitcom "Oliver Beene" misidentified the director and included an actor erroneously. The director was Michael Spiller; Jeff Melman has directed other episodes. Amy Castle was in the pilot film but not in the first episode.

February 6, 2003
A television review yesterday about a "20/20" program on Michael Jackson misstated the time and date of the broadcast on ABC. It was 8 p.m. last night; the "20/20" program at 10 tonight is about women who batter men, and other topics.

January 12, 2003
An article last Sunday about reality television shows misstated the given name of the author of "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," who confided his reluctance to publicly embarrass the impoverished farmers he was assigned to study. He was James Agee, not William.

December 14, 2002
The TV Watch column on Saturday, about Al Gore's appearance as the host of "Saturday Night Live," referred incompletely to the role of Steve Higgins, who said the former vice president had been game and affable behind the scenes. Besides writing skits, Mr. Higgins is the producer.

November 7, 2002
An article on Nov. 7 about the background of Ted Savaglio, executive director of the Voter News Service, misstated the affiliations of two news executives who testified before Congress with Mr. Savaglio about the Florida presidential vote. The executives, Roger Ailes of Fox News and Andrew Heyward of CBS News, testified on behalf of their networks, not as members of the news service board.

September 2, 2002
An article in The Arts on Monday about "Martin and Lewis," a movie about the comedy team to be shown on CBS in November, misstated the title of a Lewis film. It is "The Bellboy," not "The Bellhop."

July 25, 2002
An article on Thursday about NBC's fall schedule referred incorrectly to the phrase "gay mafia," which arose in a discussion of the absence of new gay characters in the networks' lineup. The term came to prominence recently when the Hollywood agent Michael S. Ovitz, in an interview in Vanity Fair, blamed a "gay mafia" for his own professional downfall; he did not say such a group ran the entertainment industry.

June 12, 2002
A front-page article on Wednesday about memoirs written by servants and office assistants about their former employers misspelled the given name of a Hollywood producer who is working on a romantic comedy involving a haughty boss. The producer is Lynda Obst, not Linda.

A front-page article last Wednesday reported a surge in the publishing of books written by subordinates about their bosses and cited the example of Richard Blow, who worked for John F. Kennedy Jr. at George magazine. The article said that immediately after Mr. Kennedy's death, Mr. Blow barred the magazine's staff members from talking to the media or writing about him.

The article should have described a disagreement over Mr. Blow's version of the events. He says that when he instructed employees not to discuss Mr. Kennedy, he told them that he was doing so at the request of the family. But four staff members dispute Mr. Blow's account. Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for Senator Edward Kennedy, said it was "highly unlikely" that such a request had been made.

January 15, 2002
An article in Business Day yesterday about efforts by television networks to tailor news programs to young people misspelled the surname of the president of ABC News, who said he had learned from experience about overcatering to them. He is David Westin, not Weston. The article also misidentified the CBS News program on which Rebecca Rankin, a reporter for the music network VH1, has appeared. It is "48 Hours," not "60 Minutes."

October 12, 2001
An article yesterday about President Bush's manner during his news conference on Thursday night misstated the surname of the CNN commentator who drew a Shakespearean analogy to the president's growth. The speaker was Jeff Greenfield, not Greenberg.