America's Wrongest Television Critic Strikes Again

New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley, whose prodigious error rate has earned her such praise from her own colleagues as "a television critic with a history of errors"—not to mention the assignment of her very own personal copy editor whose sole duty was to try to face down her steady stream of mistakes—has offered up another doozy.

In her assessment of TV weirdo Ann Curry's last day on the Today show yesterday, Stanley rapped the network for playing an "insensitive" clip-reel revisiting some of Curry's goofier moments, which clashed with the farewell's sombre tone:

Highlight reels are the gold watch of television news, and "Today" showed a long, affectionate one of Ms. Curry, from her first days in local news to her trip to the South Pole, where she planted the NBC flag. It included goofy moments clowning on the set, and also a tableau that seemed—under the circumstances—somewhat insensitive. Ms. Curry, ebullient as ever, leaned in to Mr. Lauer, who was wearing an arm sling. "Don't come anywhere near me with a hug," he said, jokingly, but perhaps not entirely so.

NONE OF THAT IS TRUE, AT ALL. Today didn't broadcast any highlight reels yesterday. Ann Curry said goodbye, and that's that. Today did air a highlight reel on Curry's first day as co-anchor, in June 2011. And that highlight reel did feature the moments Stanley referred to—including the "Don't come anywhere near me with a hug" line from Lauer, which he uttered in 2009 and which Stanley seems to suggest actually occurred on yesterday's broadcast.

How could that happen? Probably because if you watch the relevant Today show segment online, as opposed to, I don't know, on television, it autoplays the highlight reel from Curry's first day after the segment ends. This should be obvious to anyone watching carefully, though, since everyone is wearing different clothes and it's obviously an introductory, rather than a valedictory, segment.

As it stands, the clip-reel error hasn't been corrected yet, and a Times spokeswoman hasn't responded to an email. [Update: They have finally corrected the story online.] But two other errors from the same review have been corrected—Stanley wrongly suggested that Curry's replacement Savannah Guthrie showed up on the air yesterday, and a photo caption misidentified Natalie Morales as Guthrie. Maybe one copy editor isn't enough.