Two readers contacted me today about a letter in the Opinion section that contained an egregious error: the statement that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan called for the elimination of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
That's quite far from the truth. In fact, the Ryan proposal doesn't cut Social Security at all, though it does propose changes. The plan does include Medicare and Medicaid cuts, but so does President Barack Obama's. A correction is coming tomorrow, and I've removed the letter from the online version.
One of the callers suggested to me that The Star isn't responsible for mistakes in letters, but that's not true. Letters are subject to the same fact-checking as anything else, and that obviously didn't happen correctly in this case. To be frank, keeping the letters on the straight and narrow is one of the most difficult jobs in the newsroom (and I know this from eight years of firsthand experience working with letters editors).
The age of hoax chain email has been the bane of letters editors everywhere, though today's electronic tools make it easier than ever before to spot some common falsehoods before they make it to print.