Time for another rimshot here at GetReligion.
Earlier this year, inspired by a laugh-out-loud correction in Newsweek, I wrote what I hoped was a funny column for Scripps Howard asking why so many newsrooms seem to be a few tacos short of a combination platter when it comes to getting basic religion facts right. Then people started sending me other corrections that were just as funny and that led to a second column — built on the now-infamous “crow’s ear” mistake in the International Herald Tribune coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
Well, I can sort of understand someone hearing “a salt ministry” and, if they were inclined to a somewhat negative view of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, hearing “assault ministry.” After all, evangelicals often speak in their own code language and expect outsiders to understand what they are saying. And I can imagine, maybe, someone hearing “crosier” and thinking that they heard “crow’s ear” (although I find it hard to understand that happening with a veteran New York Times reporter who is sent to cover one of the biggest religion events of the decade).
But I’m having trouble understanding what happened with the following puzzler from the Los Angeles Times. The story is about ace pitcher Luke Hochevar of the University of Tennessee (which is, let’s face it, in Bible Belt territory) and his professional agent, Scott Boras. Here is the original passage in the story:
Being selected No. 1 overall affirmed that his decision to shun the Dodgers had been the right move, Hochevar said.
“Scott had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked,” Hochevar said. “It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, Scott has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”
Now, for the record, here is the correction:
An article in Sports on June 7 quoted pitcher Luke Hochevar, drafted by the Kansas City Royals, as referring to “Scott” — Scott Boras, his agent — when in fact he used the word “God.” Here is the correct quote: “God had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked. It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, God has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”
For starters, I’m not sure how anyone would hear the word “God,” which is a fairly common word in mainstream American life, and think they heard “Scott.”
But let’s not linger over that. It does appear that the most powerful newspaper on the left coast has a shortage of copy editors who have ever been anywhere near a chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ or any evangelical church youth group in which people learned what millions and millions of people around the world know as the “Four Spiritual Laws.”
After all, spiritual law No. 1 says: “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”
Diversity, folks. Newsrooms need diversity.