Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Missing Preposition In Times Op-Ed

Amid coverage of the stunning corruption allegations against Illinois Governor and jackass Rod Blagojevich, The New York Times erred in a December 10th Op-Ed column titled "State of Shame." The column mainly details the onerous legal position U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was thrust into by Blagojevich's brazen greed. It's an insightful and enlightening piece.

Alas, the Proofreader regrets to report, the otherwise flawless column contains a copy mistake (probably a typo) in the last line of the fifth paragraph, highlighted - as usual - in the screen shot above. Kindly direct your attention to the phrase "Mr. Libby’s perjury and obstruction justice trial" in paragraph five's last line.

The phrase, which references I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 2007 trial, appears to be missing the preposition "of." Yeah, it's only a two-letter word and it's not a typo Microsoft Word would catch and it doesn't undermine any facts or anything, but the preposition's absence muddles the phrase.

Since the column was written by an attorney, it's possible "obstruction justice trial" could be jargon or slang used by lawyers, but not likely. None of the lawyers the Proofreader has consulted have ever heard of such lingo. Also, in the interest of "readability," Times editors are usually adept at helping Op-Ed contributors avoid the use of gratuitous slang or jargon. Furthermore, a Google search of the phrase yields virtually no results (other than the column in question), meaning it's almost certainly an error. That it was missed by multiple professionals makes it a mistake that shouldn't have happened.

Worse still, the mistake made it into the printed edition of the December 10, 2008 New York Times newspaper. In case you didn't pick up a copy of the paper for yourself, a picture of the published mistake appears below in the second-to-last line of the fifth paragraph. You can click here or on the picture to view it enlarged and here to see it without highlighting.

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