Just the facts (today’s Red Pen contest answers)
Easy as pie, right?
I’m sure you blazed through this list and caught every factual error, no problem.
But in case you didn’t, here’s the cheat sheet. Answers in bold.
1. From a staff-written story: “[Name] of Stafford County, who was on the waiting list for a liver transplant at Fairfax Hospital, was admitted to the hospital Thursday in critical condition and received a kidney transplant on Sunday.”
She went in for a liver but received a kidney? Nope. No malpractice occurred—except, possibly, on the part of the reporter.
2. Letter to the editor: “I’m struck by the irony of a women’s conference in Beijing, the only nation that requires couples to have only one child.”
Aside from the fact that no couple is required to have even one child, there’s the little problem of Beijing not being a nation. China is the nation.
3. Sports wire story: “The Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd outscored the Minnesota Timberwolves 18-15 in the pivotal third quarter as Dallas beat the Mavericks.”
Dallas—the Mavericks—beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. When I let a mistake like this get past me, I want to beat myself.
4. Staff-written story: “[Name] graduated from John J. Wright High School in the 1960s, before the days of segregation.”
During the days of segregation, that is. Before integration. But I do believe the schools were still segregated in the 1960s. It took Virginia a long time to get with the program. Google “massive resistance.”
Update, July 10: Oh, wow. It turns out Spotsylvania didn’t integrate schools until 1968, 14 years after Brown v. Board of Education. Here’s a fascinating link to John J. Wright school’s history.
5. Letter to the editor: “To put it simply, soccer has more than 32 billion fans on four continents.”
Total people in the world: About 7 billion. Several readers correctly deduced that the writer meant “32 million.” Several also suggested that soccer has fans on more than four continents. I think this is true; however, it’s possible that the writer was speaking of four specific continents.
6. Science news blurb: “There are two kinds of charges: positive (or plus) and negative (or minus). The particles with a positive charge are called electrons.”
The particles with a positive charge are protons. Electrons are negatively charged.
7. Wire story: “A Clinton administration plan would give Newport News Shipbuilding the go-ahead to build an aircraft carrier but would end the yard’s nearly 90-year tradition of making nuclear submarines.”
It has made nuclear subs for 90 years? Not possible.
8. Wire story: “A Prince George’s, Md., man was arrested after allegedly stabbing his girlfriend, then turning the gun on himself.”
It’s unlikely that he stabbed his girlfriend with a gun, though one reader did suggest that he might have affixed a bayonet.
Today’s red pen winner is Malia Kennedy. She gets a shiny new Sharpie ultra fine point marker, suitable for correcting all wrong things.
Thanks, everyone, for playing along.