tip off

Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: no ‘herniated dick’, but Oz makes the best corrections list

Admirers of those occasional Department of Corrections pieces in Crikey during the year will be pleased to know that The Australian has made an international collection of the best (and worst) media errors and corrections of 2012.

The Oz makes the list. I am sure that admirers of those occasional Department of Corrections pieces in Crikey during the year will be pleased to know that The Australian has made an international collection of the best (and worst) media errors and corrections of 2012. The media training institution Poynter ranked this correction among its favourites:

The Australian:

Due to a production error, a quote attributed to Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Jehlani Shafiq in a report in The Weekend Australian on Saturday (“Afghanistan battles scourge of corruption”, page 16) was altered to change its meaning. Colonel Jehlani did not say: “It’s not like 25 years ago. I was killing everybody.” In fact, he said: “It’s not like 25 years ago I was killing everybody. At that time too we tried not to have civilian casualties.” The Australian apologises for the error.

Operating as I do in a journalistic glass house I am reluctant to go into further examples, like that of the Charlotte Observer sportswriter who reported that an NBA player suffered a “herniated dick”, but I must not allow television to escape unscathed. Hence this entry from Poynter’s “Best Photo Error” section by a Denver TV station that used a doctored photo to illustrate a story about the David Petraeus resignation/affair:

Blaming the microbiota. Having had Fatty Farmer as my primary school nickname and still being very much on the rotund side, it’s no wonder I’m a sucker for diet and obesity stories. Hence the reason that the China Daily captured my attention with its headline this morning.

I was rather taken with the idea that it was not my fault but it was those microscopic living organisms in my gut known as microbiota causing the tubbiness. A research team led by Zhao Liping of Shanghai’s School of Life Sciences and Biology have pointed to a precise link between a particular kind of bacteria and obesity. The findings published in the journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology report that an excessive growth of endoxtin producing bacteria account for 35% of the gut bacteria, in an obese patient whose initial weight was 175kg. After an intervention with specialised nutritional formula, the bacteria decreased to non-detectable amounts and the patient lost 51.4kg.

My immediate reaction was to get hold of this “specialised nutritional formula” but then into my inbox came a note from the National Academies Press of the US pointing to a new report The Social Biology of Microbial Communities:Workshop Summary. It described a somewhat complicated society that lives in my stomach:

The problem is how to kill those obesity creators without upsetting the balance of my complete internal bacterial species.

Sometimes I think I was just not meant to be thin.

News and views noted along the way.

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