Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gil slightly rewrites history, at least he's getting better

Not on the back of an envelope on the train to Gettysburg, as you might have learned, but in Washington, with the finishing touches supplied in Adams County, the night before he delivered it.

The Hay Copy, with Lincoln's handwritten corrections.Its existence first announced to the public in 1906, the Hay Copy[25] was described by historian Garry Wills as "the most inexplicable of the five copies Lincoln made." With numerous omissions and inserts, this copy strongly suggests a text that was copied hastily, especially when one examines the fact that many of these omissions were critical to the basic meaning of the sentence, not simply words that would be added by Lincoln to strengthen or clarify their meaning. This copy, which is sometimes referred to as the "second draft," was made either on the morning of its delivery, or shortly after Lincoln's return to Washington. Those that believe that it was completed on the morning of his address point to the fact that it contains certain phrases that are not in the first draft but are in the reports of the address as delivered and in subsequent copies made by Lincoln. It is probable, they conclude, that, as stated in the explanatory note accompanying the original copies of the first and second drafts in the Library of Congress, Lincoln held this second draft when he delivered the address.[26] Lincoln eventually gave this copy to his other personal secretary, John Hay, whose descendants donated both it and the Nicolay copy to the Library of Congress in 1916.


Alright, so it is no big deal that Lincoln wrote the address the morning of instead of the night before. However, it is the little things that add up that can lead to an erroneous conclusion. Like this one. It's called a simple fact check, something that reporters, and certainly associate editors, should be able to do.

Like when Gil posts a link to the Iraqi National Security Adviser saying "NO to permanent bases" when that has been the stated plan and policy all along. All it proves is that you got it wrong.

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