Friday, February 6, 2009

Alessandra Stanley's Reign Of Error: With Today's Correction, TV Critic On Pace To Shatter Record

Kudos to Alessandra Stanley. With today's correction of her Monday review of "RuPaul's Drag Race," the NYT chief television critic has racked up her fourth mistake of 2009 --putting her on pace for a 50-error year.

And if that's not enough, today's Stanley "TV Watch" column on Super Bowl commercials contains another mistake: Stanley misspells the name of the Jenny Craig weight-loss program as "Jennie Craig."

If Stanley keeps it up, she may even exceed 60 corrections in 2009 -- a record to rival Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak or Barry Bonds's 73 home runs in a single season.

Today's correction reports that Stanley misidentified the famous costume designer for "Dynasty" -- Nolan Miller -- as "RuPaul" guest judge Bob Mackie.

While no public statistics are kept for NYT corrections, we believe this latest string represents a landmark achievement in the history of the newspaper of record. Stanley's last correction appeared just 12 days ago, acknowledging two mistakes in a Week In Review essay on Mickey Rourke.

These stats also don't include a mistake made in a recent review of TNT's "Trust Me," in which Stanley erroneously identified the creators as executive producers of "The Closer." The NYT has yet to publish a correction of that error.

Stanley has famously flubbed numerous facts in her career as an NYT television critic -- including such gaffes as referring to CBS's hit series "Everybody Loves Raymond" as "All About Raymond." A recent change in procedure by Stanley -- in which the critic began checking her facts before filing her reviews -- had resulted in a record-low 11 corrections in 2008. It could not be learned whether Stanley has abandoned that controversial methodology in her quest for a new record high in 2009.

1 comment:

Penniellen said...

It just means that the Times needs to hire copy editors. Stanley is an exemplary writer, and who gives a flaming frying pan (not my choice of "f" words) if she gets the titles of a few TV shows incorrect (even if she watched them to review) or misspells a very common name with an uncommon ending (-ie ending instead of -y)? Anyone would prefer a writer of her ilk over a run-of-the-mill writer who diligently wastes time researching and reresearching every proper noun and title in an article before passing it on to be published. In fact, there is no proof that these ostensible errors by Ms. Stanley weren't actually the perverse work of some ill-educated, incompetent copy editor the Times did hire, instead. In any event, I don't care enough to criticize her (and I'm a damned good copy editor). You certainly are a nitpicker, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if your ire was aimed at the Times due to your own unsuccessful publication attempts there. If that is the case, you might want to look over the more positive aspects of Alessandra Stanley's offerings. You could learn a lot about good writing.