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Make history or be history?

My eyes brushed over a headline in Niagara This Week that caused me to do a double-take. The headline is, “Minimum wage hike ‘historical’: Labour Minister.” Damn right ‘historical’ ought to be in quotes, but not for the reason the Labour Minister may think.

For context, here’s the entirety of what the Minister, Yasir Naqvi, said, according to the article:

It’s a very exciting day for Ontario today. Today was, I would argue, an historical announcement, in terms of, one, setting a fair minimum wage in our province and, two, ensuring minimum wage from now on keeps pace with the rate of inflation.

The problem is Mr. Naqvi is confusing historical (of or concerning history or past events) with historic (famous or important in history, or potentially so). And let’s not get into his making the ‘h’ in ‘historic’ silent.

It makes we wonder what responsibility the reporting organization has for correcting a speaker’s error. Here it’s simple to divine the speaker’s meaning, though he looks silly for the error. By leaving it, presumably as spoken, the reader is left wondering if the paper realized there was an error.

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica

    When I worked for the Committee Reporting Service at the House of Commons, my job was to edit the transcripts of parliamentary committee meetings. We editors always trod the fine line between accurately reporting what was said and correcting errors for the printed page. This example is one I might have corrected, but sometimes you just have to let people’s ignorance speak for itself! If you make them look too good, they’ll seem smarter than they really are. And doesn’t the public have a right to know the truth?

    BTW, a few typos in this post, Rick! (wake hike, in our provide, speakers error) 🙂

    • Rick

      Thank you for the corrections! I’ve implemented them.

      I gather that I’m not the only one to wonder what corrections to make. We may have discussed it, but I recall seeing an article about this very same issue. The writer took the original quote from a video of the speaker and he presented quotes from at least a half-dozen printed news sources. None matched what the speaker actually said, and even more surprisingly, they were all different from each other! I was astonished. Each had corrected the speaker differently. None changed the meaning, but still!

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