The Year’s Most Epic Music Journalism Corrections


Remember fact checking? Now that the print media apocalypse has hit, it basically doesn’t exist anymore. And that has resulted in some truly incredible corrections in all journalistic niches. But ever since a certain Sri Lankan rapper met a certain New York Times magazine writer, we’ve had flawed music reporting on the brain. After the jump, check out the six most epic corrections of the past year and remind us of any we missed (due to our lack of staff researchers, no doubt) in the comments.

Six Finger Satellite: not heroin addicts The New Yorker said:

After majoring in English at N.Y.U., Murphy set up a recording studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn. In 1996, he became the live-sound engineer for a band called Six Finger Satellite. He developed an approach to live sound that he called Death From Above, and became close to a band member named John MacLean, now know professionally as Juan MacLean. MacLean recalled that “we all had raging heroin addictions, and James was the guy caught in the middle of the chaos, the straight guy hanging around with these people who were a mess.”

The correction: “In ‘Let’s Dance’ (May 10th), Juan MacLean’s comments about heroin use were wrongly used to characterize the time period when James Murphy was working for Six Finger Satellite. MacLean’s remarks referred to a period of time several years earlier, and were not meant to exclusively describe that band or its members.” [via The Daily Swarm]

M.I.A. didn’t mention Bono and the Grammys and 50,000 people dying in the same breath The New York Times said:

“I wasn’t trying to be like Bono,” Maya told me. “He’s not from Africa — I’m from there. I’m tired of pop stars who say, ‘Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ‘Give war a chance.’ The whole point of going to the Grammys was to say, ‘Hey, 50,000 people are gonna die next month, and here’s your opportunity to help.’ And no one did.”

The correction:

The cover article in the Times Magazine on Sunday profiled the singer and political activist M.I.A. While discussing her efforts to draw attention to the civil war in her home country, Sri Lanka, she was quoted as saying: “I wasn’t trying to be like Bono. He’s not from Africa — I’m from there. I’m tired of pop stars who say, ‘Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ‘Give war a chance.’ The whole point of going to the Grammys was to say, ‘Hey, 50,000 people are gonna die next month, and here’s your opportunity to help.’ And no one did.”While M.I.A. did make those remarks, she did not make the entire statement at the same point in the interview, or in the order in which it was presented. The part that begins, “The whole point of going to the Grammys,” up to the end of the quotation, actually came first. The part that begins, “I wasn’t trying to be like Bono,” and ends, “Give war a chance,” came later in the same interview. The article should have made clear that the two quotations came from different parts of the interview.

Roxanne Shante is a fraud, plain and simple NY Daily News said: “Twenty-five years after the first queen of hip-hop was stiffed on her royalty checks, Dr. Roxanne Shante boasts an Ivy League Ph.D. — financed by a forgotten clause in her first record deal.” The correction:

It has come to the attention of the Daily News that a number of statements in this article written for the Daily News by a freelance reporter are, or may be, false. Cornell University has told us that Shante did not receive any degree from it under either her birth or stage name. We have confirmed that prior to the article, at least four publications on Cornell’s own website reported that Shante had earned a Ph.D. from the university. Those references have now been removed. And in response to an inquiry today, Marymount College stated that Shante attended there for less than one semester. Numerous e-mail and telephone inquiries by the freelance reporter to Marymount during the preparation of the article to confirm Shante’s account were not responded to. Finally, there have been recent media reports that there never was an education clause in Shante’s recording contract. When the reporter contacted Warner Brothers Records about the contract before the article, its only response was that it was having difficulty finding someone within the company who could “talk eloquently” about it.

Public Enemy does not think 9/11 is a joke. 911, however… The Washington Post said: Originally, an article on the group stated that Public Enemy called 9/11 a joke. A corrected version tells a different story: “Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 911 was a joke. The group has joined forces with Virgin Mobile USA to combat youth homelessness as part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.” The correction: “A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.”

The Washington Post: Not so great at reporting on indie rock, either The Post said: “World-gone-wrong rage courses through ‘American Gong,’ the first release in seven years for the Pacific Northwest band Quasi. The opening song, ‘Revulsion,’ hints at the darkness and seething despair to come… This is their seventh album as Quasi…” The correction: “This review of the album ‘American Gong’ by the band Quasi misstated the name of the album’s first song. It is ‘Repulsion,’ not ‘Revulsion.’ Also, the album is the band’s first in four years, not seven years, and it is the group’s eighth album, not its seventh.” Washington City Paper‘s take: Don’t trust Allmusic to do your fact checking for you.

Le Tigre may be queer, but that doesn’t mean they hate men The Village Voice said: “In the battle between Xtina’s titantic, firehose voice and the 2010 zeitgeist — in the persons of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and now Le Tigre, whose songwriting shows up on Aguilera’s newest, ‘I Hate Boys’ — her singular bellow is winning handily, but that’s not a bad thing. Regardless of what you think of her, recognize that it takes a strong artist indeed to make Kathleen Hanna sound like window-dressing.” The correction: “Right, mea culpa: that Xtina song that leaked earlier today, supposedly co-written by downtown New York femme punks Le Tigre? Not actually co-written by Le Tigre! This according to someone who has seen the liner notes to Christina’s new record. Nor does the song feature Canadian electro-pornstress Peaches, as has also been bandied about today; instead, both guest on ‘My Girls,’ which you’ll know when you hear it, because Peaches raps on it, and Christina shouts out all three members of Le Tigre, by name. This is something else — a vaguely Bikini Kill-sounding something else, but something else nonetheless. Apologies for adding to the internet disinformation vortex!”