An excellent correction from the New York Times, which had reported that Britons coped with the recent heatwave by “jamming into beaches, city parks and swamps”.
We “cavorted by the hundreds” in said swamps, apparently.
What must the Old Gray Lady, founded in 1851, think of us?
It means streams, of course, and we could just move on, were it not for the fact that this error fits a pattern. It seems to regard Britain as a rather backward second world country, bedraggled by crime and dreadful food. And swamps.
A while back it asked readers to share experiences of being a crime victim in London, seemingly assuming it is impossible to get across town without being mugged.
Londoners trolled the NYT in fine style, noting “£6 for a pint! Daylight Robbery” and warning that “During the Olympic Games, people would smile and talk to strangers on the tube. I still have nightmares.”
Two summers ago, a New York Times writer was shocked to discover that it is possible to eat well in London. The absurd headline on a ridiculous piece was: “Beyond Porridge and Boiled Mutton.”
Being a foreign reporter isn’t easy. You miss stuff that is obvious to the locals. And you don’t get the same access you do back home.
Everyone in the UK has heard of the Daily Telegraph, for example. But if you are chasing a story in the US and namecheck that paper, they will assume you are there to mend the phones.
But the NYT is a fantastically well-resourced organisation. Every story goes through a stringent editing process.
So we have to assume that it really does think we’re a malnourished bunch of criminals who only take a break from burgling each other to frolic in marshes.
It’s time they said something nice about us.