Paper Monitor: A radical lurch

Daft Punk
Image caption This band is not Daft Puck or Daft Pink

One of Paper Monitor's favourite annoying facts to drop into conversation, whenever opportunity arises, is that the Economist is a newspaper, not a magazine.

It's never been completely articulated what it is that makes the difference. One notion, ventured by a colleague, was that the presence of staples defined a magazine, but that's clearly now a discredited theory in this post-Metro era. But since the Economist self-declares as a newspaper, that is how Paper Monitor will treat it. And thus it's long overdue inclusion in this column.*

The newspaper writes: "Last week our Bagehot column accused Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, of 'a radical lurch to the right'. The slur was unintentional - we meant to say 'left' but a gremlin intervened..."

Ahh those gremlins - we know those. But what a spectacular example of gremlinisation that is. Not, you'll note, "we have a hunch that Ed Miliband might be veering to the right". No, "a radical lurch".

It's rather more spectacular than the normal sphere of Economist corrections, which are usually along the lines of "Our chart last week was mislabelled. The price series ran from 1950 to 2012, not to 2011. Sorry." (That's a real example, incidentally.)

Still, Paper Monitor hopes the Economist isn't taking this incident too badly. Mistakes happen all the time. Only last week the Evening Standard reported with a straight face that Renee Zellweger had been married, not to Kenny Chesney, but rather to Chesney Hawkes, who is a quite different person altogether. And (whisper it) mistakes have been known to creep on occasion even into these pages.

And while we're at it, spare a thought for the New York Times, which has been spotted with a second Daft Punk correction. Five months after correcting an article in which the band was referred to as Daft Puck and Daft Pink, it has now run this:

"An earlier version of this report misspelled the name of the designer of the bride's dress for the Sept 28 ceremony. It was Lazaro, not Azzaro. In addition, the report incorrectly stated when the groom's father, Philippe Cousteau, Sr., died in a seaplane crash. He died six months before Mr Cousteau Jr. was born, not when he was a baby. And, finally, the report misstated the name of the Daft Punk song played at the Sept 28 ceremony. It was 'Get Lucky', not 'Get Funky'."

Apart from that, though, everything was fine.

*Ever thorough, Paper Monitor has just checked Google for when it last considered the Economist. It seems to have been in 2007. And you'll notice that even then, the "is it a newspaper or a magazine" discussion was alive and well. Call Paper Monitor nothing if not consistent.

You can follow the Magazine on Twitter and on Facebook