More media mistakes and mishaps

It’s time once again to present some typos and other amusing mishaps that appeared in the media. I don’t poke fun at individuals for making mistakes, but professionals should know better. All three of these examples involve the use of the wrong word. In each, the writer chose a homophone of the intended word, and neither writer, nor proofreader, nor editor caught it. (Of course, few newsrooms have proofreaders and copy editors these days.)

Not very principled

I always hold the Associated Press to the highest standards, so I was quite surprised to see a national story include a wrong word. On August 29, a story about Joe Biden included this sentence: Biden didn’t repeat the assertion while addressing the conference, but promised to restore the separation between civilian and military powers which he called “the bedrock principal of our republic.” Spot the mistake? The word should have been “principle,” as in a concept or tenet. “Principal” as a noun refers to an owner or a person in charge, such as a school principal.

And how did the Italians vote?

Longtime adman and fellow St. Joe Puma Bob Neville called my attention to a problem with a headline in a November 2 issue of the Inside Indiana Business enewsletter: Tracking Wait Times at the Poles. Clearly, they meant to say “polls,” as in places where people vote … unless they were trying to differentiate the wait times for Czechs, Germans, and other Europeans.

Taxing my brain

And a week later, the Indy Star ran a story about a proposed floodwall in Rocky Ripple neighborhood. A caption included this phrase: “… demonstrating the height of a proposed flood wall which would sit atop the levy blocking his access and view …” A levy is a tax. A wall to protect people and land from floodwaters is a levee.