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Learn Something New Every Day:

"George Washington ... so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term," says an L.A. Times article, in the course of discussing HBO's John Adams biography. And here I thought he had served from 1789 to 1797, which is to say two terms (though the first was a titch short, starting on April 30 rather than March 4).

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L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for George Washington Error:

Her quite gracious comments:

If you want to know if anyone is reading your stories, make sure you insert a mistake about George Washington.

Oh, if only I could claim it was all a ploy by Calendar editors to gauge readership. But when I wrote in Saturday's story about HBO that George Washington stepped down from the presidency after serving only one term, it was just a stupid, blind error, the sort that leaves you smiting your forehead, literally and repeatedly, the moment it is pointed out to you.

For the six or seven people living in the Los Angeles Basin who did not e-mail to correct me, he served two terms, not one. And my daddy was a history teacher! Ever since the first e-mail hit my box (on Friday afternoon, about two seconds after the story went up on the website), I have been bathed in hot shame. But I want to thank you, well, most of you, for the gentle tone you took -- most clever subject line award goes to: Is a TV Critic Smarter Than a 5th Grader? -- though I certainly deserved all those incredulous exclamation marks as well. And yes, I did go to college. Graduated even.

Also, for the record, we entertainment writers are held just as accountable for flubbed historical references as any other journalist. The correction runs today online and in tomorrow's print edition, and I will try to comfort myself with the knowledge that a good, strong dose of humility is always good for the soul. Especially the soul of a critic.

The Readers' Representative also e-mailed me (and, I assume, all the other readers who wrote in) first thing this morning to respond to my Saturday e-mail noting the error.

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  1. L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for George Washington Error:
  2. Learn Something New Every Day:
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