The Croton Republican Committee recently issued a news release detailing the results of an election of officers and inviting registered Republicans to attend their monthly meetings. It was first published on another blog favored by a small, inbred breakaway group of Crotonites unhappy with Crotonblog. Because it was news, Crotonblog picked it up and posted the news release as written. Here’s what it said about the election of the committee’s top officers:
The Croton Republican Committee elected a new slate of officers including District Leaders to serve for the upcoming year. The new officers include Chuck Trendell (Chairperson) and Bob Wintermeier (Co-Chairperson).
It isn’t clear from this whether the Co-Chairperson of the Croton Republican Committee is a partner or associate of equal rank and responsibility (like a coauthor or cofounder) with the Chairperson. Or is the Co-Chairperson intended to be a subordinate or assistant to the Chairperson (like a copilot)?
Following Crotonblog’s publication of this item, Bob Wintermeier, Co-Chairperson of the Republican committee, anxious to disavow the impression of a connection with Crotonblog or even to acknowledge our existence, published the following disclaimer on that other blog. He apparently failed to notice an error in the news release or the inconsistency in references of himself his disclaimer. The following is what appeared on that other blog as an addendum to the news release. The boldface emphasis is Mr. Wintermeier’s. Here’s what he wrote:
I’ve been informed that the preceding article [the news release] about the Croton Republican Committee election results was also published on the Croton Blog. As Vice-Chairman of the Croton Republican Committee, I want to assure Croton residents that we did not publish the Croton Blog article. Anyone has the right to copy and post a Public Notice so long as it does not contain errors! Free publicity is always appreciated.
The wording ”I’ve been informed” shows an amazing lack of curiosity or journalistic zeal on Mr. Wintermeier’s part. All he had to do was to log onto Crotonblog.com to verify that the news release was there and that we had made no changes to it. Crotonblog assures him that neither he nor his computer will get a virus or a social disease if he logs onto Crotonblog.com.
Speaking of errors, Mr. Wintermeier apparently is unsure of the exact title he now holds. His disclaimer above says that he is Vice-Chairman of the Republican committee. The news release says his title is Co-Chairperson of the committee. We’d venture to say Vice-Chairman is not the same as Co-Chairperson. It sounds like a somewhat different designation from the job title in the news release. Aside from being sexist, the title of Vice-Chairman seems to mean that Mr. Wintermeier’s role (as Vice-Chairman or Co-Chairperson) is subordinate to the Chairperson or Chairman.
So, Crotonblog’s question is: What are you, Mr. Wintermeier? Co-Chairperson, as the news release stated? And if so, which of the two kinds of Co-Chairperson are you? Or are you really the Vice-Chairman, as your disclaimer states?
Unfortunately, these confusing inconsistencies diverted us from the news release and the kind of gross error it cautions editors not to make. The following is the paragraph of the Republican news release that contains an error. Can you detect it?
The new officers want to invite Croton registered Republicans who are interested in running for Village offices, serving as District Leaders, or participating in local political events to join the Committee by contacting any of them or attending the Committee’s monthly meeting which is held at the Croton Public Library on the Fourth Thursday of each month from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.
Readers who spotted the error get a gold star on their foreheads. Croton’s library is not named the Croton Public Library. It’s the Croton Free Library, of course, and always has been. Obviously, whoever wrote the news release doesn’t do much borrowing of books from the Croton Free Library. Nor do they write many checks for membership in the Croton Free Library Association.
Speaking of errors, we would like to remind Mr. Wintermeier that our name is Crotonblog (one word). The usage in his disclaimer, Croton Blog, was the name appropriated by the little-used and later abandoned NCN blog. The Republican committee’s breakdown in communications stems from the practice initiated by Mayor Gregory Schmidt and Republican trustees. Electronic communications from Crotonblog or from residents get equal treatment: They are all ignored and go unanswered.
The confusion over titles and errors leaves Crotonblog in a quandary. Our own policy is not to correct errors of fact or grammar in letters to the editor. Queries about facts or grammar in our editorial contributions are referred to the author. Should Crotonblog have refrained from publishing the news release in question because it contained an error—their error? As editors, what are we to do when a local Republican Party news release and an associated comment both contain errors, and there are no lines of communication open between us and the Republican Party?
We don’t know about you, but just trying to separate truth from error in this situation has given us a great big headache. Does anybody out there have a couple of aspirin tablets?