When Noting Someone Else’s Oopsie, Don’t Make One of Your Own

UPDATE: I’m happy to see this morning that Marc Ambinder fixed his “April 1954” blooper, and I understand it was an embarrassing mistake, so don’t worry about not crediting me. Apparently the larger lesson has flown right by you, though, because I see you didn’t correct the other typo in your post, which I did not point out yesterday. Precision really does matter, doesn’t it, Marc? (Oh, and if you can’t find the typo, just check the comments to this post. Thanks, Dr. Gail!)

Okay, once in a while the blogosphere gives you an oopsie that is so deliciously fitting that it cannot be ignored.

Barack Obama, as everyone knows by now, said in a public appearance that his uncle was part of the unit that liberated Auschwitz. In fact, it was his great-uncle (he doesn’t have an uncle), and that great-uncle (who is still alive) helped liberate Buchenwald, not Auschwitz (Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army).

Now, here is Marc Ambinder, lecturing Obama to be more careful about his family’s connection to historic events:

Late today, the campaign, after getting with the candidate, figuring out what he meant, and then checking with his family, said that Obama’s great uncle — the brother of his mother’s mother — had served in the 89th Infantry Division, which, in April of 1954, liberated Buchenwald. What accounts for Obama’s misstatement? It’s hard to see how it could have been an intentional distortion of history. On the other hand, it’s certainly a reminder that, in talking about, or bragging about, how your family relates to certain historical events, precision matters, and some historical happenings and more sensitive than others.

April of 1954, Marc? I’m sure you don’t really think that Buchenwald was liberated in 1954, Marc. On the other hand, you might consider proofreading your posts before you publish them — especially if the post is chiding someone else for an oopsie.

2 Responses to “When Noting Someone Else’s Oopsie, Don’t Make One of Your Own”

  1. DrGail says:

    Oh Kathy, great catch! (BTW — did you notice the typo? He used “and” where he meant “are” in the very last phrase.)

    I just checked the linked post; he has edited the date, but didn’t acknowledge the edit. Isn’t that also a matter of precision? Perhaps someone hasn’t yet learned his lesson? Hmmm?

    Perhaps being a “professional” journalist doesn’t make you much better than Vinny in a bathrobe. I wonder what Brian Williams might have to say about this?

  2. Kathy says:

    Gail, yes! I noticed the “and” typo, but unfortunately only after I had clicked Publish on the post. I thought about going quickly back in and editing to include the “and,” but it didn’t seem worth it. Wow, that’s really creepy about changing the date; I didn’t see that yet. What a consummate professional….

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