There is no reason why this list of great apologies/corrections cannot include items from all over the world. Anyone who contributes three interesting or amusing items that a worthy of being published will win a free subscription.

Defective farce

A friend spotted this in a California paper:

“We apologize for referring to Sgt Brown as a member of the defective branch of the police force. He is, of course, a member of the detective branch of the police farce.”

Nifty Sun

“Apology to Mr Wran

In the Sun newspaper on February 23, 1982, a photograph of Premier Neville Wran was published. It was taken from an unusual camera angle. It caught Mr Wran in a pose where he cold be seen to resemble Adolf Hitler and he was referred to as “Neville Hitler” and “Adolf Wran”.”

The photograph and the published article may have suggested he was a person like Adolf Hitler. The Sun did not intend this but intended it to appear as light-hearted comment.

The Sun unreservedly withdraws any suggestion that Mr Wran could in any way be likened to such a person and unreservedly apologises to Mr Wran for any embarrassment that he has suffered.

– Published in the Sydney Morning Herald (why the SMH? Had the Sun folded by this time? I cannot remember.)

Musical deck chairs


A story in yesterday’s editions on a memorial service for John F. Kennedy incorrectly identified a musical selection by the US Navy Band. The band played “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra”, not “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. Navy records show that “Anchors Aweigh” was not played at President Kennedy’s funeral.”

– Washington Post, 18 November 1983

Dead wrong


In some editions of yesterday’s Style section, the late John D. Rockefeller III was listed as a guest at the White House State Dinner. His widow, Blanchette Rockefeller, was the guest.”

– Washington Post, 12 January 1984

Bore, not a whore

“Correction and apology

Due to a transcription error, the article titled “Click here for laughs” published in SYTE on July 12-13 referred to Greg Knauss as a “self-confessed noted whore”. It should have read “self-confessed noted bore”. SYTE regrets the error and apologises for any embarrassment it may have caused.”

– I haven’t noted a date for the above one.

Whacked his thumb, not his son


In an interview by John Mortimer last Sunday, Kingsley Amis was quoted as saying: “As I said then, the only time I got angry was when I hit my son with a hammer.” Mr Amis has pointed out that he in fact said he got angry when he hit his thumb with a hammer.”

– London Sunday Times, 18 December, 1988

Ms, not Mr, Chris Ronalds


The Australian yesterday wrongly identified Sydney barrister Chris Ronalds, who wrote the sex discrimination Act, as Mr Ronalds. She is Ms Ronalds.”

– The Australian (undated)

Get your butch dance groups right


Dai Rakuda Kan is a Japanese Butoh contemporary dance group, not a Butch contemporary dance group, as stated yesterday. This was a typesetting error.”

– Canberra Times, 30 July 1991

Workaholic, not an alcoholic


Writer Louis Nowra confesses to being somewhat of a workaholic, not an alcoholic, as inadvertently stated on Sunday. The Canberra Time apologises to Mr Nowra for any embarrassment caused.”

– Canberra Times, 18 October 1990


From The Daily Mirror, December 16, 2000

By Nicola Methven

THE BBC issued a grovelling apology to Cherie Blair and The Mirror last night after wrongly identifying her as the punk star of a Christmas panto.

They had insisted that the lookalike in the TV library footage taken at a 1985 GLC fund-raiser was Cherie.

But Mrs Blair was not even at the event – and after an extraordinary row with Downing Street, BBC chiefs caved in.

A station spokeswoman said: “I’m so sorry about this. It’s all our fault.

“But we’ve not deliberately had anyone over. It’s just one of those really unfortunate things.”

The clip was to have been included in the Christmas Day edition of hit show Before They Were Famous.

The Beeb released it to promote the programme, hosted by Angus Deayton, and yesterday The Mirror published the pictures in good faith.

Mr Blair’s official spokesman insisted the pictures were not of Cherie but, throughout the morning, the BBC claimed it was saying the clip was first shown on Newsnight.

One executive said: “We’ve been asked by No 10 to take the clip out of the show and we’re not going to. The production team swear it’s definitely her … they are 100 per cent sure.”

But finally BBC chiefs apologised “unreservedly” to Mrs Blair after admitting they had made a mistake.

They said: “The production team believed the pictures to be of Mrs Blair.

“However Mrs Blair’s office have told us it was not her and indeed that she was not at the event so we have removed the footage from the programme. We regret that the mistake was made.”

The spokeswoman added: “We’ve offered our sincere apologies to Cherie Blair and explained it was an honest mistake.”

As a gesture of good faith The Mirror has agreed to make a donation to a charity of Mrs Blair’s choice.

[email protected]

Did this cause a death

“In August’s Great Expectations, published before the late Mitch Snyder killed himself, we stated that Snyder planned to marry a 15-year-old. In fact, the relationship, not his girlfriend, was 15 years old.” — Spy magazine, Oct 1990, quoted in SMH, 9/10/90

Premature obituary

11 November, 1994

Mr Edgar Gray

10 Keith Place

Kiama, NSW 2533

Dear Mr Gray,

In the Chronicles column of The Age today we published your obituary in error.

The mistake was a result of a misunderstanding between the Chronicles editor of this paper and the corresponding editor on The Sydney Morning Herald. We are deeply sorry for the mistake and unreservedly apologise to you, your family and associates for any dis tress this may have caused.

A correction and a full apology will appear in tomorrow’s paper.

Yours sincerely, Michael Gawenda

Deputy Editor The Age

Unfortunately, the we were wrong was wrong, referring to the 1936 Munich olympics.


We think this is from The Guardian

“Yesterday’s report referred to Major Gen eral xxx as a battle-scared warrior. It should have read bottle-scarred warrior.”

Disclosing one’s sources

Prague Post, August 2001

“Last week’s column mistakenly misidentified a source. The European Commis sion president is Romano Prodi, not Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Second Sight regrets the error.”

Apologising to the dead

From the SMH on June 17, 1999

“The obituary for the actress Anne Haddy (Herald, June 9), supplied by The Daily Telegraph, London, contained several errors. Her husband, James Condon, points out that Haddy was 68, not 71, when she died, having been born on October 5, 1930. She had undergone two heart operations, not three. She had two children; the other four of the six who were reported as having survived her were Mr Condon’s, from his first marriage. She went to England in 1953, not 1950, and did not appear in The Young Doctors.”

Mating two-headed toads

Last Monday, Massachusetts’ MetroWest Daily News reported that a 4-year-old girl had found a two-headed toad. “The two amphibians are conjoined, un-identical twins,” said the paper . On Thursday, the Daily News corrected the story, saying it was just a couple of horny toads mating. A local biologist told the paper: “That’s what they always look like (when mating). He’s holding on for dear life.”

Sorry Mr Marsden

This one is hot off the presses from The Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday:

“An article in News Review last Saturday stated that rent boys do not make good witnesses even when they are telling the truth, a fact that Channel 7 has found to its cost in recent years. Some readers may have interpreted this as meaning that some of the allegations made against John Marsden during his defamation action against Channel 7, even though not accepted by the trial judge, were true. The Herald did not intend to convey such a meaning. The Herald withdraws any such meaning and apologises to Mr Marsden for any embarrassment caused.”

When the Guv becomes a footy commentator

From The Age two days in a row:

“We Were Wrong – The Victorian Governor, John Landy, was incorrectly named as Peter Landy in report in The Age on September 18 and 19. The mistakes were made by a reporter and a subeditor.”

Taking the mickey Engish style

From The Guardian, 2 Feb 1999:

“The absence of corrections yesterday was due to a technical hitch rather than any sudden onset of accuracy.”

Just who shot who

From the Sun-Herald on April 21, 2002

In last Sunday’s The Sun Herald under the heading “Streets of fear”, we referred to an incident at Wentworth Park in February. During the attempted robbery, a bandit was shot dead by a security guard, not the other way around. We apologise for the error.

Incorrect sinning

From the Hobart Mercury more than 5 years ago:

Yesterday’s ‘Todays Text’ should have of course read “Sin shall not be you master.”

Parramatta Correction

This one admits that the whole basis of the article was wrong:

“In the Daily Telegraph on Monday, March 25, 2002, we said the Parramatta Eels rugby league team had been beaten 66-12 by Wests Tigers in their match in 2001. That was wrong. In fact, Parramatta beat Wests Tigers 66-12. The Daily Telegraph apologises for the error and acknowledges that the implication in the original article that Parramatta is “jinxed” by Wests Tigers is not sustained.

The Age doesn’t pay for Labor fundraisers

From ABC radio’s PM program in December 1999 after a Mark Willasay report:

Now for a CLARIFICATION about a story we ran yesterday about the big ALP fund-raising dinner in Melbourne on Monday night. In that story we stated that among media organisations prepared to pay the one thousand dollars a head entry fee was the Melbourne Age. The Age has complained about this on the grounds that it chose not to attend the function and paid no money whatsoever. We have established from a copy of the guest list (pinched by Crikey), and from the accounts of three witnesses, that Andrew Clark, Associate editor of the Age, did attend the dinner, and was listed by the ALP as representing his paper. The Age says that Mr Clark attended as a guest of Westpac, and “in a private capacity”, not as a representative of the Age.

Cambodian King cock-ups

“An article entitled “Search for one who would be king” (South China Morning Post, July 1, 2000) wrongly suggested that Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk is not the father of Prince Norodom Sihamoni. The Post accepts that this statement was not correct and apologises for the error.”

Malcolm’s Pauline conversion in The Australian

From The Australian some time in 2000:

“In Malcolm McGregor’s column two weeks ago, the expression Pauline Hanson Conversion was used to describe the ALP response to the Budget instead of Pauline conversion, referring to the New Testament apostle. The error was made in the production process.”

Spell checks and jelly fish in Townsville

Townsville Bulletin, FRI 15 FEB 2002, Page 2

“A report in the Weekender section of Saturday’s Townsville Bulletin, “Turning to Jelly”, may have puzzled readers by not identifying a particular species of marine stinger. The problem stemmed from a spell-check error that deleted the word “irukandji” from throughout the report. The Bulletin apologises to readers.”

Fastidious magazine editors

Courier Mail, SAT 23 FEB 2002, Page 2

Apology to Lisa Wilkinson

“IN the Behind the Seams column on Thursday, February 21, Lisa Wilkinson, pictured, was mistakenly named as editor in chief of Elle magazine which had recently closed. Ms Wilkinson has never worked for Elle magazine and has had a distinguished career in magazines. She is currently editor at large of The Australian Womens Weekly. Ms Wilkinson was editor of Dolly magazine for four years, during which time circulation tripled. She edited Cleo magazine for 10 years, during which time circulation increased by 50 per cent. Ms Wilkinson has trained more than a dozen journalists who have gone on to edit magazines including the current editors of Australian Womens Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Home Beautiful. The Courier-Mail unreservedly apologises to Lisa Wilkinson.”

No relationship overlaps here

Sunday Mail Magazine, 10 MAR 2002, Page 13

“In body + soul February 17, we neglected to say that when Julian McMahon started his off-camera relationship with Shannen Doherty he had been legally separated from wife Brooke Burns for more than six months. They are now divorced.”

Insulting non-lawyers

PRIVATE Eye magazine, in the United Kingdom, has awarded this item, allegedly in The Lawyer magazine, the honour of being The Correction of The Year:

“The Lawyer incorrectly stated that Maurice Millen, who was leaving DAC to join Macfarlanes, was a senior lawyer. Millen was DAC’s head of IT. We apologise to the two firms for any inconvenience this may have caused. We would also like to apologise to Millen for any embarrassment caused by calling him a lawyer.” — The Lawyer

Peter Fray

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