Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time machine

Ahem. Not to sound like a grouchy old copy editor or anything, but:

In the past, Republicans have been elected governor in North Carolina when GOP presidential candidates had strong coattails. Jim Holshouser was helped by the Nixon landslide of 1992, and Jim Martin by the Reagan landslide of 1984.

Post hoc, ergo propter buyout? Even if the Foremost Newspaper of the Carolinas has run slam out of editors who remember the Holshouser days, you'd like to think somebody would have noticed that Tricky couldn't have landslid in 1992. (Surely somebody remembers Bill Clinton? That lady senator's husband? And there's that Watergate movie with, like, that really old printer at the beginning? From 1976? And it's about Nixon?)

Once again, we can't tell from here where the error originated. The story at McClatchy links to the version at Charlotte, which contains the error (and a Stupid Question hed for good measure). But the story originated from Raleigh, where the error doesn't appear. Inserted in Washington? Inserted in Charlotte? Present in the original but deleted by an alert Raleigh desker? If anyone can shed some light, please do. Meanwhile, add it to the folder of potential evidence for the Great Buyouts Trial.


Blogger Andy Bechtel said...


By now you surely know that where a story "originated" no longer matters for McClatchy. I'm almost getting used to seeing those Charlotte bylines and columnist mugs in the N&O every day...

11:25 AM, September 16, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Agreed -- and those of you who haven't read Andy's trenchant posts on the kinds of confusion spawned by these papers' careless tale-swapping should go do so at once.

I've tweaked the post to make clear that it's the source of the error that's unclear -- not the source of the story (N&O).

11:51 AM, September 16, 2008  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

Besides the date, I was a little thrown off by the presidential coattails theory - I'm pretty sure Holsouser and Martin were elected over Democratic candidates who were spectacularly lackluster.

Martin defeated Rufus Edmisten, who had Jimmy Green's burning tobacco warehouses around his neck (five in one year, surely a record). And Holshouser defeated Skipper Bowles, a colorless hack who went on to the now-standard gimme job in the UNC system.

I guess presidential races do influence local votes, but sometimes a crappy candidate is just a crappy candidate. Lauch Faircloth being a prime example.

12:49 PM, September 16, 2008  

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