Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tennessean Gives Bredesen More Credit Than He's Due

Posted By on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 11:10 AM

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If you're one of the ever-fewer number of people who read The Tennessean in its dead-tree form, you opened up your paper today to be greeted by this headline: "Bredesen commutes 4 death sentences."

Nice to see our staid moderate governor heaping out the mercy in his last week as an executive. The problem is Bredesen didn't commute four death sentences. He commuted one: that of Edward Harbison, as is made clear in the story. Three other, non-death, sentences were commuted to shorter terms.

Harbison is the third death-row inmate commuted by Bredesen, following Gaile Owens and Michael Joe Boyd, so the folks at 1100 can't claim they were speaking of Bredesen's mercy in toto. The copy desk just flat missed this one.

Oddly, the headline for the story online — because, of course, accuracy is the hallmark of the Internet — was always correct, unlike its ink-and-pulp counterpart.

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