Retract This, Please, Part 2

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Sept. 18 2001 4:42 PM

Retract This, Please, Part 2

In times of national emergency, people can get excited and say or write stupid things. The present crisis being no exception, Chatterbox will keep a running count of these gasp-inducing statements and reprint them under the heading, "Retract This, Please." Please note: lies are not what this feature is looking for. Outright falsehoods will continue to run not here, but under Chatterbox's "Whopper of the Week" rubric. Rather, Chatterbox is looking for statements that any sensible person would regret.

Advertisement

A few readers have pointed out that Slate itself blundered badly last week in its "Breakfast Table" feature with this baseless and fairly loony semi-accusation by John Lahr:

"Perhaps it's eerie serendipity, perhaps it's my paranoia, but an acid thought keeps plaguing me. Isn't it odd that on the day--the DAY--that the Democrats launched their most blistering attack on 'the absolute lunacy' of Bush's unproven missile-defense system, which 'threatens to pull the trigger on the arms race,' what Sen. Biden calls today in the Guardian, his 'theological' belief in 'rogue nations,' that the rogue nation should suddenly become such a terrifying reality. The fact that I could even think such a thought says more to me about the bankruptcy and moral exhaustion of our leaders even in the face of a disaster where any action, in the current nightmare, will seem like heroism."

For the record, Chatterbox does not believe the Bush administration engineered the suicide missions against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Lahr's outburst is a reminder that even great Web magazines can, under the pressure of recent events, blurt out ghastly stuff. And now, with all appropriate humility, let us continue.

No. 4

"The normal work rhythm of a morning newspaper is such that the newsroom can seem almost deserted in the morning. ... At the Tribune, that rhythm was replaced Tuesday by one that was uptempo all day long. In a throwback to the thrilling days of the industry's yesteryear, the newspaper published two extra editions. ... The story budget hammered out at an impromptu editors' meeting had called for at least one wire story to supplement those that would be produced by Tribune staff writers. As it turned out, all of the stories were staff-written, a fact that put a grin as wide asIowaon [Managing Editor Jim] O'Shea's face."

--ChicagoTribune "Public Editor" (and former editorial page editor) Don Wycliff, Sept. 13.

Perhaps regretting this comment, Wycliff wrote a follow-up Sept. 16 column emphasizing the sobriety of last week's events. But this second column made no reference to Wycliff's earlier paean to the joys of covering mass killings.

[Update, Sept. 20: Wycliff apologized  for the column today, calling it "wrong footed" and conceding that it was in poor taste.]

No. 5

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.