US paper retracts 150-year-old editorial panning Lincoln

Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 13:07

Washington: In one of the oldest corrections in journalism`s history, a US newspaper has retracted a 150-year-old editorial that dismissed President Abraham Lincoln`s revered Gettysburg Address as "silly remarks".

"Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgement so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives," the editors of The Patriot-News wrote ahead of the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln address to be observed tomorrow.

"Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln`s words silly remarks," the editors of the Pennsylvania-based newspaper said of the editorial published on November 24, 1863.

Back then, the editors of the Patriot & Union newspaper -- an ancestor of today`s Harrisburg paper -- thought so little of Lincoln`s "silly remarks" that they hoped "the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and that they shall be no more reposted or thought of."

While mildly received on its delivery, the November 19, 1863, Lincoln`s speech marking the consecration of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has gone on to become one of the most famous pieces of writing in the American history.

"Four score and seven years ago," Lincoln wrote in the speech`s famous opening line, "our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

The newspaper on Thursday set the record straight and wrote, "The world will little note nor long remember our emendation of this institution`s record -- but we must do as conscience demands.

"In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln`s speech delivered November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognise its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error," the correction issued by the paper said.

PTI

First Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 13:07

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