Ambinder's bigger blunder

There are a host of sites I visit with particular frequency. One of them is the Politics page over at The Atlantic, edited by Marc Ambinder. In addition to original content, at the bottom of the page is a "What We're Reading" feature that directs you to other articles of interest on the Web. This morning they got sloppy, if not downright irresponsible.

One of the linked articles had this teaser:
Palin's Bigger Blunder

Click on the link, and you'll be directed to an article in the Yale Daily News about Sarah Palin's appearance at the Tea Party convention. Now, being no big fan of Sarah Palin's, I am always happy to read about her various blunders, regardless of size. In this case, however, even she deserves better.

The article castigates her for wearing a black memorial wristband during her appearance to commemorate her son Track's service in Iraq. Black bands should be reserved for those who are mourning the loss of a loved on, not those (like Palin) whose loved ones have returned safely. According to the author, she is callously and carelessly appropriating a symbol of sacrifice her family has not made.

Except she isn't. Way at the bottom of the article is this:
Author's Note: In my column in the News Wednesday, I criticized former
Alaska governor Sarah Palin for wearing a black memorial bracelet with her son’s
name on it, as Track returned unharmed from Iraq last fall. However, Sarah
Palin's bracelet was not black; instead, it was a dark brown "DeployedHero"
bracelet worn by those who have loved ones currently serving in the military.
The bracelet is different from the black one associated with men and women who
are killed in action overseas. Recognizing this, I apologize to the governor and
to any reader who might have been misled by my piece. I hope that this serves as
an important lesson for anyone interested in the importance of these

In other words, the author was mistaken about Palin's wristband, and compounded the error by penning the piece.

None of this is even remotely newsworthy, and an editorial mistake with subsequent mea culpa hardly merits a mention at The Atlantic. But still the link and misleading teaser are there, creating the impression that Palin did indeed blunder in some way. Readers who click the link and don't read all the way to the bottom might miss that the criticism is unfair.

One of my biggest complaints (among many) about the Huffington Post is that the headlines and teasers it touts are often misleading, and misrepresent the content in the linked material to make it seem more controversial, sexy, or otherwise eye-catching. I've learned not to trust them, in other words. I expect better of The Atlantic and its editors.


  1. Slate, too, for misleading headlines. Totally irresponsible.

  2. Agreed, but whose dumb idea was it to have a Black armband to signify mourning and a Dark Brown one for deployed soldiers? Any other color but Dark Brown is fine, yellow as in tie a yellow ribbon, blue, white, green who cares just not dark brown.