Are Typos and Grammatical Errors Forgiven in the Fast-Moving Age of Social Media?

The short answer is, “NO!” – especially when the error is coming from a reputable news organization. In this case, the original perpetrator is CNN. Then, Denver’s Fox31 picked it up and ran it as is, as we’re sure many other local news outlets did, too. While reporting about an accident that happened in Florida, involving an officer on a motorcycle in the president’s motorcade, CNN gave details from a White House spokesperson:

The crash happened near the front of the president’s motorcade, and Obama himself did not see it unfold, according to Carney. The White House spokesman said no other vehicles from the motorcade was involved.

Really? We can forgive a misplaced comma or questionable word choice in social media, but subject/verb agreement? That’s something our grade-school children know and understand. There are nuances in language, and certainly there is a lot of gray area, but using “was” when it clearly should be “were” is like adding 2+2 and saying it equals 6. No matter how fast a news organization is posting information, this error is simply inexcusable.

Update: The error was corrected on CNN’s site, but not on Denver’s Fox31’s site.


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