So How Does One Submit a Correction Request to the AP?


UPDATE: Just to be clear, the only error that I suggested the AP made is the one noted below: The AP story said that, despite Scalia's allegation that the Herald had called him an "Italian jurist," "The Herald had referred to him as an 'Italian-American jurist.'" In fact, an online version of the article did refer to him as an "Italian jurist."

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on Gesturegate:
  2. So How Does One Submit a Correction Request to the AP?
  3. The AP on the Boston Herald and Gesturegate:
  4. Justice Scalia on Gestures:
Commenterlein (mail):
I may have missed something, but so far we seem to have two contradictory descriptions of the same event, with the alleged "guilty" party denying the offensive act.

Why do you believe that a correction is in order? Do you believe that Scalia is telling the truth by default, or do you have an actual reason to do so?
3.29.2006 2:51pm
Huh. (mail):
Send them a letter, through their general counsel's office, stating that they have made a misrepresentation about your actions that will harm your reputation/whatever and cause damages (e.g., lost speaking opportunities). Demand that they correct the article. My guess, in a case as simple as Scalia's, where the reporter appears to have deliberately misrepresented Scalia's actions, the piece would be corrected in a day, and the reporter will be looking for work.
3.29.2006 3:14pm
PaulV (mail):
The easiest way (bit dishonsest) is to accuse them of anti-Italian bigotry or racism. Find an Italian AMerican front to do it for you. If the paper owns TV or radio properties complaint should to be made to FCC attacking character of owner
3.29.2006 3:15pm
I think the "actual reason" is that Scalia gave a lengthy and detailed explanation of what actually happened.
3.29.2006 3:16pm
Steve P. (mail):
Commenterlein makes a worthwhile point, it seems to me. Justice Scalia says he waved his fingers under his chin, the reporter says he only used his middle finger... any corroborating evidence for either side? We assume the Justice is right because he offers a plausible alternate explanation, and the reporter is seemingly biased. That doesn't mean he's wrong, however.

According to the Herald, a photographer snapped a picture of the gesture in question, and Justice Scalia said, "Don't publish that."
3.29.2006 3:25pm
Commenterlein (mail):

So if someone accused of (say) robbing a bank gives a "lengthy and detailed" explanation why he just happened to wield a gun in a bank, we take it to be the truth and move on? Wouldn't we assume that the accused's version of events is likley to be biased in his favor?

Please don't misunderstand me - I deem it likely that Scalia is telling the truth, and highly unlikely that we would be dumb enough to make an obsene gesture in front of a reporter. But that assessment doesn't change the basic fact, at least as I understand it, which is that we have two contradictory descriptions of the same event by two potentially biased parties.
3.29.2006 3:37pm
Commenterlein (mail):
likley = likely

obsene = obscene

Guess I better get myself a coffee.
3.29.2006 3:39pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Given Scalia's increasingly bizarre and inappropriate behavior, both in public and in his decisions (where he includes barely concealed taunts and insults of his colleagues), why should we give him the benefit of the doubt. I never liked the man much, but I used to think he was at least sane, rational and judicious. I seriously believe he is beginning to show the signs of some kind of dementia and is not fully in control of his behavior. He reminds me of Uncle Leo on Seinfeld.
3.29.2006 3:55pm
Lou Wainwright (mail):
I think Eugene's point is that the AP implied that Scalia had deliberately misquoted the Herald by stating that it actually said 'Italian-American jurist' in contrast to his letter which quoted 'Italian jurist'. In the context of Scalia's argument (that the paper was quick to associate 'Sicilan' with the Sopranos) this is an important distinction. If Scalia had misquoted the paper to try to make their actions seem more ethnicly motivated it would be innapropriate and weaken the entire credibilty of his response. That, to me, is the implication of the AP's article as written.

However, since that clearly isn't what actually happened (I read the Herald's article online on the day of publication and remember noticing the 'Italian jurist' aside) I think the AP does owe Scalia a correction to restore his reputation as someone who doesn't make up words in quotes to improve his arguments. That seems pretty important for a Supreme Court Justice, no? Like Eugene, I'm curious how he could go about requesting the correction.
3.29.2006 4:04pm
raj (mail):
So How Does One Submit a Correction Request to the AP?

Is this a rhetorical question? Found after about a few minutes over the internet from the AP's FAQ file:

"1. How do I send a correction or letter to the editor?
Send an email to and it will be forwarded to the reporter or editor."

It's amazing what one can find out with so little effort.
3.29.2006 4:10pm
Commenterlein (mail):

If Eugene's point is in fact about the 'Italian' vs. 'Italian-American' issue then I do certainly agree with him.
3.29.2006 4:11pm
Steve P. (mail):
In an update, if Prof. Volokh's point was about the gesture, and not ethnicity of Justice Scalia, it looks like the reporter's story was erroneous. A court spokeswoman backed up Justice Scalia's account, he didn't make an obscene gesture.

The Professor's comment about corrections is interesting, because corrections themselves (when a paper mistakenly reports the wrong names or whatnot) usually carry little weight. After all, most corrections are hidden away where no one reads them.

Since Justice Scalia sent that letter, it becomes the news story (eclipsing the previous one), and he successfully corrected the public account. Not many people are in a position to do that. That reporter has a lot to apologize for.
3.29.2006 5:43pm
Mark H.:
Perhaps then RAJ, the question should be rephrased: "How do I get the AP to act on a correction request"

I think the correct answer is most likely: With great difficulty.
3.29.2006 5:47pm
Andrew Hyman (mail) (www):
It's particularly annoying that the AP article does not disclose its author.
3.29.2006 7:43pm
Paul Decker:
Note that the Boston Herald itself does not claim that Scalia misquoted its article:

So, yeah, it looks like the AP made up this "correction" on its own to belittle Scalia. And it may even send a correction if it gets enough heat over this, but I'll bet no one reads it even if the AP does send one.
3.29.2006 7:53pm
Andrew Hyman (mail) (www):
One way to communicate displeasure to the AP is as follows.

Go to Use their 7-day search engine to search for "Scalia." In the search results, click on "Justice Scalia Chastises...." At the bottom of the article, click on "Purchase this AP Story...." Then click on "Content Services." Then click on "Write Editor." That way your letter will be automatically matched up with the article.

So simple.
3.29.2006 8:30pm
raj (mail):
From the update:

In fact, an online version of the article did refer to him as an "Italian jurist." (Emphasis added)

I'm not sure how relevant this is. Which online version referred to Scalia in that way? I have read, from the NYTimes web site, on-line versions of AP articles that used the same title and that covered the same story or incident, but with different posting times. It was clear that the AP was periodically updating the articles as they acquired more information and the editors revised the articles.

It may be that the "online version" that you read was an early version of the article.
3.30.2006 7:51am
Scalia flicked his fingers from under his chin, and suggested his critics "vaffanculo", which is ridiculously vulgar in Sicilian, as it means "go take it in the ass" This is literally minutes after taking communion during lent.

I wonder if Scalia will send a followup letter now that the Herald has the pic and him saying (essentially) "go f* yourself" apologizing for his conduct and his disingenous attempt to both force the photographer not to publish and print the article, and the letter distorting what actually happened.

Boston Herald has the pic here of him doing the gesture

"As for fangooloo (in my neighborhood we pronounced it fongool), I'm afraid you've heard the expurgated translation. According to Kevin Beary's Florentine Locutions (1991), it's properly spelled vaffanculo, a contraction of va a fare in culo, and literally means "go do [it] in the ass," i.e., bugger off, fuck off, fuck you. "Some Italians affirm that the ass referred to is that of one's interlocutor, while others assert that the orifice in question is not yours or mine or anyone's in particular, but rather the universal anus," Beary says."

vaffanculo link here
3.30.2006 11:20am
As to the itallian vs. american issue, when a sitting justice of the Supreme Court acts like this, he may as well have Chef Boyardee's hat on, hold a gun in one hand and a cannoli in the other as to the image it portrays of Sicilians as vulgar, dismissive, and generally Sopranos-like. After communion he tells people to f* off? In church?? I'm Sicilian, and this picture and "vaffanculo" is what people think of when they think "Sicilian". Scalia should rightly be ridiculed for this dumb behavior.
3.30.2006 11:28am