Yesterday, I made a serious blunder. One of our regulars had brought my attention to the “fact” that another regular, Dave Crockett, had been in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak.
As I was plowing through a pile of email from the time I was at the beach last week, I passed this along. It was one of five similar posts, all based on emails that interested me and that I thought might interest you.
The trouble is, the fact wasn’t a fact.
Some time AFTER posting it (which is backwards timing), I started wondering about the Crockett post, and did some inconclusive Googling. I wasn’t able to confirm what I was assuming to be true — that the David Crockett in the story was our David Crockett. Finally, I did what I should have done first, which is check with our own Dave Crockett himself. His reply:
Yoiks, Brad! Hell no, that wasn’t me! There is a David Crockett who is a TV reporter out in Washington state and a psychologist by the same name in St. Louis, but I am neither! The wildest trip I’ve made recently was Lake Lure, NC and all I came down with was a hangover one morning. But thanks for asking…
So. I apologize to him, to the other David Crockett, and to all of you for my momentary carelessness. This was a mistake I would never have made in print. But when you’re plowing through tons of email, most of it mind-numbing, it’s just too easy to go, “Oh, THIS one is interesting!” Then copy, paste and share it with the world before moving on to the next email. And not stop to THINK until you’re done with all the hundreds of items in your In box.
What I left out was the actual journalism. And I’m very sorry, and embarrassed, about that. You know that item I posted (based on another email) about everybody needing an editor? Well, this is a far better example of the principle.