To err is presidential. To correct is human

Good to see that even US President Barak Obama can follow the example of journalists in correcting inadvertent errors. The White House has added a corrective note to a transcript of a speech by the president.

From that most useful and enjoyable site, The speech referenced “Polish death camps” in describing the wartime experience of Medal of Freedom recipient Jan Karski. The use of that phrase sparked immediate reaction because it has long been objected to by Polish officials and organizations. Anytime it appears in the press, the news outlet in question finds itself fielding requests for correction, which are usually granted.

So, here’s what a White House speech correction looks like:

“*Note – the language in asterisks below is historically inaccurate. It should instead have been: “Nazi death camps in German occupied Poland”. We regret the error.”

The offending passage:

“For years, Jan Karski’s students at Georgetown University knew he was a great professor; what they didn’t realize was he was also a hero. Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a *Polish death camp* to see for himself.”

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