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Hartselle Enquirer

Kerry picks a running mate… or maybe not

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Oops.
Mistakes can occur at any newspaper. A misspelled name, an improperly used word or bad writing – they are things we like to avoid, but sometimes they just happen. Sure enough, however, there will be some retired English teacher in town who will be quick to write and tell you why you are personally destroying the English language because of your dangling participles.
We'd all like to think those mistakes are rare and are mostly of the minor variety. Most people (sorry English teacher) won't notice if your syntax isn't perfect and will forgive the occasional mistake.
We're only human, after all.
But imagine if your mistake was big. Really big. As in front page of one of the country's leading newspapers big.
The Tuesday edition of the New York Post had a picture of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry and his running mate…or at least who the Post thought would be his running mate.
The photo shows Kerry with Dick Gephardt and the headline reads "Kerry's choice."
There's one big problem, though. Kerry opted for North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Kerry's choice was Edwards, not Gephardt.
The Post got it wrong. Really wrong. As in Chicago Tribune-1948- "Dewey beats Truman"- wrong.
The Post was acting on information it had received saying Edwards was too inexperienced with foreign policy and Kerry was more comfortable with the choice of Gephardt as a running mate. And I'm sure at the time the story was written, they fully believed they were correct.
I can imaging the meeting:
"Well, I've got a scoop," some eager reporter said. "Tomorrow morning, Kerry is going to pick Gephardt for his running mate. I heard it from a reliable source, same source who told me about Dick Chaney's most recent heart attack."
"Should we go with it?" an editor asks.
There's quiet in the room, until one person speaks up.
"Absolutely. Run it front page, with a big photo of Kerry and Gephardt and a huge headline. We're right. I'm sure of it."
Every one turns around to look at who's talking and it's Joe. You know Joe. He's the one who, if you've gone backpacking, he's climbed Everest. If you're into archeology, he discovered a dinosaur in his backyard. Tell him you went skiing? He'll tell you about the time he went to Antarctica. Good old Joe.
Buoyed by the support, the editor decides to run with the story, confident they will be the talk of the town when they scoop 'em all.
At least the editor got that right. They are the talk of the town. And don't worry, a letter from the English teacher won't be far behind.

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