Friday, February 09, 2007

This week in media boo boos

I don’t know whether it’s the curse of (my) age, tightening news budgets, or just the general decline of civilization, but I’m noticing more mistakes in the pages of newspapers and magazines. The mistakes I’m thinking of aren’t typos, or matters of interpretation. They’re the commonly known and/or easily checkable. Here’s what I spotted (or was brought to my attention) this week.

Feel free to send any other boo boos to me at (And yes, I am ripping off the style of James Taranto’s “Best of the Web Today” at

You should apologize to Sesame Street!

With abject apologies to Sesame Street, this column is brought to you by the letters “W” and “O.” That’s “W” as in new and “O” as in neo-conservative.
--Jim Travers, “Branding Team Harper” Toronto Star, February 6

Hey, at least they didn’t say he worked for Apple Computers

Mr. Jones, an accountant by training and a former IBM Canada marketing manager, leaped from local politics to the House of Commons in 1997.

He won the local seat as the lone Progressive Conservative MP in Ontario under leader Joe Clark, and served as the party's finance and industry critic.
--Jeff Gray, “Markham's deputy mayor faces sex-assault charges,” Globe and Mail, February 5

Boo boo: Jean Charest was PC Leader when Jones was first elected in the 1997 election – not Joe Clark. (h/t: Richard Ambler)

The fall of advertising and the rise of gullible freelancers

In April, Old Dutch Foods Ltd., the Western-Canadian salty-snack company, plans to smash through the Thunder-Bay barrier and begin distributing its chips on store shelves in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces for the first time.

Some aspects of Old Dutch – which has one-third of the market in Western Canada, second only to the PepsiCo juggernaut Frito-Lay – will never be imported east, however. Notably, the company’s distinct twin-pack chip.
--J. Kelly Nestruck, “Can Dutch this,” National Post, February 8

(On the Post’s website, this article is behind a subscription wall.)

Boo boo: See quotes below, collected from the free excerpts available in the Toronto Star’s full-text archives:

In a struggle for market share, Hostess has been buying truckloads of Old Dutch chips in the Toronto area for the last four months.
--“When chips are down: Old Dutch fights back,” Toronto Star, July 8, 1991

Old Dutch made a brief sortie into Ontario in 1959 but retreated after a few months when supermarket chains refused to stock the chips.”
--“Chip maker takes on big rival in Ontario’s munch market,” Toronto Star, July 28, 1991

P.S. I also remember buying the boxed twin-pack in Ontario. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of chips.

And it’s so rare for Ayn Rand to be misrepresented in the media!

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand Since Lions Gate picked up the distribution rights to the film last year, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been rumoured for the lead roles. Published in 1957, the Russian-born author's seminal novel revolves around the economic collapse of the U.S. sometime in the future. For years, producer Al Ruddy tried to make it into a movie. But while Rand was alive she had script approval, complicating the process. Perhaps it's too late for Brangelina, but adopted children Maddox and Zahara may still stand a chance.
--Matthew Weiner (via, “Great book. Why isn't it a movie?” The Toronto Star, February 3, 2007

Boo boo: “The Fountainhead” is widely acknowledged to be Rand’s seminal novel (though “We the Living” was the first published.)


nomdeblog said...

The Toronto Star said nice things about Ayn Rand???

I gotta get a cloth to clean up the coffee I just spewed.

patsy said...


The bigger boo boo in the Nestruck story is the fact that Old Dutch Chips have been available in Northwestern Ontario for decades. Thunder bay may be a huge barrier, but it's nowhere near the Manitoba border.

J. Kelly said...

Hmmm... I'm probably too late to defend myself here.

"...Thunder-Bay barrier and begin distributing its chips on store shelves in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces for the first time."

Yes, the chips have been distributed in selected places in Ontario before. About a year and a half ago or so, though, the select stores where you could get Old Dutch in Ontario stopped selling them. (Including the place I used to pick them up on Queen St.)

So this will be the first time they're distributed throughout Ontario, not the first time they've ever been sold anywhere in Ontario. I think what I wrote stands without correction for Quebec and points east, but I welcome further corrections.