Saturday, July 28, 2012

Margaret Wente’s sins

Not ‘original’ sins, mind you (Wente is rarely original).  In fact it is possible that her error today about Episcopalians, whom she describes as “the American equivalent of the United Church”, reflects the New York Times article which perhaps inspired her own version.  Ross Douhat’s earlier OpEd on the collapse of the liberal church (“Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?”) cites the same figures for Episcopalians.

Episcopalians are, of course the American version of Anglicans.  But what the heck – for Margaret’s purposes - a drive-by smear of the United Church - they'll do just as well.

Borrowing from the Times isn’t new for Wente, and errors related to sloppy attribution practices are common.   Best known was "John", but there are more examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.  And another just recently

Update, Error #2:  Wente writes that Mormonism “requires obligatory missionary service”.  “Missions are voluntary”, says its website.

Update #2:  While it took them a day or two (or three) an Editor's Note was finally appended to the online version of Wente's article: 

The Episcopalian Church in the United States is equivalent to the Anglican Church of Canada and not the United Church. Mormons are strongly encouraged, but not required to do mission work. An earlier online version of this story, and Saturday's original newspaper version, were not clear.

 In addition, it's worth noting the gracious 
 from Mardi Tindal of the United Church.   


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