This Is One of the Worst Retractions a Newspaper Has Ever Had to Publish


The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, had a story on its front page today that paraphrased a local police official as saying that most cops typically go into law enforcement “because they have a desire to shoot minorities.” Spicy stuff! Only problem: It never happened.

The paper quickly issued a retraction on its home page and updated the online version of the story—ironically headlined “Law enforcement to be honored for service”—to include a formal apology from editor Ben Sheroan. The corrected story now reads: “Hardin County Sheriff John Ward said those who go into the law enforcement profession typically do it because they have a desire to serve the community.”

So what happened? The paper initially called it a “typographical mistake” but that obviously didn’t make any sense. Jim Romenesko reports that it was actually a joke mistake. “One [copy desk staffer] wrote the ‘shoot minorities’ line on the page proof as a joke and the second—in charge of the front page—put it in the story.”

Never joke on the page proofs.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate