Monday, October 10, 2011

Silly Sunday: Wrong Organ. Wrong Expert. Wrong Name.

Kicking off an article about intestinal disease with a quote that likens a child to a stomach is bizarre. Selecting that quote from among words attributed to a silent-film era screen writer ("Fighting Buckaroo," 1926) is more bizarre. Rendering the quoted man's name as Frank A. Clark when it's Frank Howard Clark, is most bizarre.

And bizarrest of all, no editor noticed, even when the second graf announced: ...

And diverticulosis, which affects your stomach ... No, it doesn't.

As a general rule, this disease afflicts adults after 40 and is rare in children. So why mention children in the lede?

No editor bothered to check how much the new byline relies on Wikipedia's wording -- dutifully attributed not to the source but to the local doctor:

... the diagnosis of diverticulosis generally is made as an incidental finding during other investigations. A good patient history, he said [Wikipedia said], is often sufficient to form a diagnosis of diverticulosis or diverticulitis. If there is an onset of pain, cramps, bloating, changes in bowel movement, diarrhea, constipation and nonspecific chronic discomfort in the lower abdomen, it may be that the person suffers from inflammation and abscesses, [the local doctor] explained.


  1. On the other hand, it's good to know Wikipedia wording is endorsed by the local docs -- I guess.

  2. OK, so we'll give you the wrong organ, wrong quote. Think the doc might have sent a written response? If so, it's reasonable for any writer or editor to think it actually came from the physician. You must be using one of those online sites like

  3. Online grammar checkers don't identify sloppy references, tautologies, fallacies, and bad editing. For those, human intelligence is required.