Taking One’s Medicine

If you are at all interested in taxes, and by that I mean interested in the US tax system, how it works, who pays, who doesn't, etc., then you've likely read David Cay Johnston's work.  He's a writer who covers the tax beat and I've read his stuff for years and found that, especially considering the subject matter, his work is easy to read and that he has the great ability of taking a very complex subject and boiling it down to the bare essentials so that even a layman can understand it. Reuters thought enough of him to take him on as a columnist, and unfortunately he chose his inaugural column to make a doozy of an error.  Here's the correction. He's right when he writes:

I often write tart notes at the Romenesko blog for journalists, the Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Reports and elsewhere about what I consider flawed reporting by others. I lecture to young reporters around the world on the duty of care they need to take with facts and teach how to check and cross check. Until now I have never made a big mistake, but this is a painful reminder that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. The measure of character, I say in my posts and lectures, is whether when an error is found you forthrightly and promptly correct.

I've had to make my share of trips down the hall to report to my boss (or client, or spouse) that I've made a whopper of a mistake and I can't recall it ever being fun, and I do recall it always being a bit frightening, but I've also found that I sleep well at night, the sun always rises the next day and I'm usually a better man for it.

I still hate it though.

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