Payday loans
RedShirts 2 Ad Banner for Kickstarter

The Washington Post Rick Head

July 2nd, 2007 by skippy

Several fans of my website saw this article.
Tom Ricks’s Inbox June 17 2007

Many of them took the time to write to Mr. Ricks to attempt to correct him. He was directed to my site, where it mentions the misconception that I am a woman. Mr. Ricks typically responded to people by saying that “Just because I make a web-site and claim I’m Santa Claus doesn’t mean people should believe it.” And at one point he told somone that the person who forwarded my list to him had stated that I was a woman.

So at this stage we have, incorrect information about me, my copyrighted material being reproduced without my persmision, and a member of the fourth estate publically challenging my copyright. All of this based on the airtight “Some guy on the internet told me” defense. Naturally I was annoyed at his arrogance and at his stubborn resistance to correction.

Now to be perfectly fair, I’m sure he didn’t intend any harm, and it’s even arguable whether or not any serious harm was done. His column wasn’t intended to be investigative journalism, it was just a lighthearted fluff piece. I was a tad concerned that at some point in the future I would hear “Well the Washington Post said a woman wrote it, so you’re a liar!”. Now from his point of view, I’m guessing that it is an official *BIG DEAL* to admit that you printed incorrect information. And to be fair, nearly anyone in the world could have emailed him claiming to be me. So I can understand his skepticism.
So I contacted Mr. Ricks myself, and explained why this relatively small piece of mis-information could cause me some issues down the road, and how reproducing copyrighted information without permission can be bad. I asked that he print a correction in a future column. His brief response was to demand proof that I actually wrote it.

I wrote him again, demonstrating evidence that I did in fact own the material, and that I was the only Specialist Schwarz enlisted during the correct time period, and that I even had witnesses to some of the events on the list transpiring. While I was writing this he responded. He told me my story checked out. This conjured to my mind an image of him using his military correspondent powers to track down Army personel I have served with and grilling them about me until he had enough details to know I was telling the truth. But in reality, he probably just made an underling look up my copyright in the Library of Congress database.

Since “My story checked out” he offered to run a correction in the very next column he wrote. Perfect. Win for the good guys, I get exactly what I asked for. (Granted he could have, I dunno, apologized or something but hey, who am I to correct his manners.)

Well he was true to his word as we can see here:

Tom Ricks’s Inbox June 24

And furthermore he wrote me back to say (Quoted directly from the email)

“I am glad it worked out for you. For accuracy’s sake, that wasn’t a correction, it was a clarification.
Tom Ricks”

Now I can understand not wanting to admit when you are wrong but this kind of silly semantics argument is really unbecoming on anyone who isn’t either a five year old or a politician. But hey, free publicity is free publicty.


Subscribe to Comments for Skippy's List

Next Story: »

7 Responses to “The Washington Post Rick Head”

  1. Surely Serious Says:

    >But hey, free publicity is free publicty.

    ‘Dat’s right, and keep ‘dat in mind!


  2. Kris Says:

    Smitty, you rock.


  3. Diana Says:

    Dude, you got featured in the freaking WASHINGTON POST?

    I could probably get Kim & Carl to fess up on 207 and 209 and I KNOW I can get the rest of “us” to 212!!!



  4. Kel Says:

    I’ve got a buddy that tells me these kinds of stories all the time. His SG asked him to drop and give him twenty, so he pulled out his wallet, got a twenty dollar bill, dropped it, picked it up, and handed it to him. Apparently, this was so funny the guy didn’t even take his money, he just laughed and gave it back to him. Thanks for the laugh, and I’ll be sure to forward all this to my friend.


  5. Dwayne Says:

    So, would this guy fall under 108?


  6. SKIPPY’S LIST: The 213 Things Skippy Is No Longer Allowed To Do In The U.S. Army » Blog Archive » The magnificent space pimp that he is. Says:

    […] to look at my material, for a few reasons. First, it avoids problems like the one I had with the journalist last year, who didn’t believe that I really wrote it. Also because I have advertising on […]

  7. Reader of mil history Says:

    Serious newspapers like the WashPost have style guides their writers and editors must adhere to as part of the job, hence the likely difference between “correction” and “clarification”. The Post does have a section entitled “Corrections”, normally on p. A2 correcting some outright unfactual material recently published. Just FYI.


Leave a Reply