Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RTFS: Hearts and minds

Classic sports tale, isn't it? His heart told him it was time to retire? Too bad it's the exact opposite of what the story says:

Had he not reached 400 victories last season, Osgood would have played again. But he'd secured his legacy, and so an ailing body and sharp mind kept telling him no while his heart told him yes.

"I had a couple buddies tell me, you need to make this decision with your head, not your heart," Osgood said. "I know I've made the right decision. I knew I had as soon as I decided. I feel like I've been real fortunate. Now is the perfect time for me to say good-bye to my playing days."

In other words, the metaphoric body part that was telling him it was time to retire was his head (the "sharp mind" that was telling him the answer to playing another year was "no").

As cliches go, those two -- head says no, heart says yes; heart says no, head says yes -- are pretty much interchangeable. But it'd still be nice to keep them straight within the same story.

That's not quite it, accuracy fans. The correction box on 2A every day proclaims that "the Free Press corrects all errors of fact." So it'll be interesting to see whether future issues make some reference to this from the top of Tuesday's sports front:

The Red Wings have scheduled a conference call for Tuesday to announce that goaltender Chris Osgood will be back for another season.

Well, no. There was a press conference, but the outcome in the Wednesday paper is rather different from what Tuesday's paper suggested. That wouldn't necessarily be a correctible error if the first story had included some sourcing -- even the sort of lame single-shot stuff ("a source familiar with the decision") that crosses the frontpage threshold these days. But it doesn't -- not in the lede, not later in the text. This one can't be deflected onto someone else. We can't even tell if the wrong bodily part picked up the phone when asked for comment, because no one deigns to say where the erroneous information came from.

I suppose the error's technically "corrected" by the appearance on 1A of something to the effect that the previous day's sports lede was complete bollocks, but that's not all a correction is supposed to do. What went wrong, and which levels of gatekeeping waved it through without asking a simple question like "How do you know?"

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