150 years later, newspaper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address
November 15th, 2013
07:57 AM ET
9 months ago

150 years later, newspaper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address

(CNN) – In what might be one of the oldest corrections in the history of journalism, the editorial board of a Pennsylvania newspaper has retracted its predecessor's famous panning of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as "silly remarks."

"Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment 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 Thursday, evoking the opening words and style of Lincoln's most famous speech.

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Ricky McDaniel is going to be upset: someone is retracting something negative about Lincoln.

    November 15, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. Will

    Better late than never I imagine.

    November 15, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    When is the Congress going to make amends on promising "40 acres and a mule" to freed slaves, but never delivering it? The truth of the matter is that Article 4 of the 14th Amendment probably makes it illegal to fulfill the promise, anyway. It was passed to deal with the issue of former slave owners suing the federal government for loss of property, due to the loss of their slaves.

    "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void."

    But, if you look at how the the second sentence is worded, the government cannot pay anyone any amount as a result of "emancipation of any slave." Interesting, huh?

    November 15, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. Norma Vessels

    Finally, some news I can swallow with pride. Something positive for a change.

    November 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    Nonetheless he was a Republican, I respect him very HIGHLY. We need people like him.

    November 15, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Better late than never, I suppose. Thank God for President Lincoln and the abolitionists that gave their lives so people like myself could be free.

    That said, oh boy Rudy, you just opened up a can of worms that is going to get you attacked all weekend. But nevertheless, I concur. But we'll never see anything come of it. Don't you understand, we were just supposed to be happy we were free.

    November 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Data Driven

    Good. Perhaps CNN can follow suit by retracting 90% of their fictitious stories posted on this website.

    November 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The historians change history, over time, to make it to be what they WANT it to be........not what it really WAS!

    That then becomes a LIE!

    November 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Data

    LOL. Keep rolling ...

    November 15, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Data Driven

    @Lincoln,

    "Lincoln would be a left leaning democrat today."

    Indeed. The political parties have not only changed partisan positions between each other, but have even changed smaller positions within themselves over the past 200 years. Lincoln was a Whig before the Republican Party formed. Whigs believed in big government spending (the term then was "Internal Improvements"). The then-Democrats were States Rights' adherents. The Parties kept the names, but flipped positions as the 20th century turned.

    November 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Lincoln would be branded a RINO in today's Republican Party by Tea Partiers and conservative purists.

    November 15, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Silence DoGood

    The GOP should immediately spend taxpayer money and stop the government to do a long draw out hearing on why this took so long! Outrageous! Conspiracy! Obama's fault!

    November 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Data Driven:

    As as historian, I find it very difficult to look back at politics 150 or even 50 years ago for support or inspiration on current issues. Both parties supported " internal improvements" at various times in our past: Jefferson's Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, wrote about the need for canals and infrastructure as something of absolute neccesity to bind the country together, and that only the Federal Government possessed the money to build things on a national scale: this, during a time when the only taxes the Federal Government collected were duties on imported goods. That would never work now, especially in an era of free trade agreements.The parties have morphed and changed, and for one group to claim a president or to derive inspiration from a period of history and present that as a fait accompli is to ignore the bigger picture, which is considerably more nuanced than most people would like it to be. I see more oversimplifcation with regards to history than I thought was possible on these pages, and it comes from both sides of the spectrum.

    November 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    Unfortunately, today, President Lincoln would be less welcome in the GOPT than h.&.rpes.

    November 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Data Driven

    @Tom Paine,

    "@ Data Driven:

    As as historian, I find it very difficult to look back at politics 150 or even 50 years ago for support or inspiration on current issues"

    Well, I guess I'm just the opposite: I find frightening relevance from the problems of the past to today. For instance, I don't see how someone could not see the grim parallels between the Athens of Alcibiades' Athens to American political dysfunction in 2013. As for Jefferson, well, yes, this fantasist who dreamed of a decentralized agrarian republic went on to buy half the continent from Napoleon at a bargain basement price. Contradictions galore. But, that aside, I think it's okay to make a broad brush assertion, as long as you're, as Robert Graves put it, "excitingly right in general rather than dully accurate in particular."

    November 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. resident

    I would have liked to have read the original editorial. Erasing all vestiges of opposing viewpoints (along with their creators) is a Stalinist tactic and has no place here.

    November 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    The historians change history, over time, to make it to be what they WANT it to be........not what it really WAS!

    That then becomes a LIE!
    ************************
    Sounds to me like you're the one intent on changing things because you hate the outcome and can't escape the truth. So, what are you thoughts on Sherman? Wonderful guy, shortened the war by months, possibly years. He also hated reporters.

    November 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Winston Smith

    I'm sure there are many alive today that read the story and are so upset, they are thinking of changing their party affiliation. Someone in the news room must be in danger of losing a job, and they are trying to look as busy as humanly possible. Good Luck.

    November 15, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "Lincoln would be a left leaning democrat today."

    Well, he always did have a penchant for rational thought, recognizing practical realities and basing his decisions on facts.

    November 15, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -Data Driven

    @Tom Paine,

    "@ Data Driven:

    As as historian, I find it very difficult to look back at politics 150 or even 50 years ago for support or inspiration on current issues"

    Well, I guess I'm just the opposite: I find frightening relevance from the problems of the past to today. For instance, I don't see how someone could not see the grim parallels between the Athens of Alcibiades' Athens to American political dysfunction in 2013. As for Jefferson, well, yes, this fantasist who dreamed of a decentralized agrarian republic went on to buy half the continent from Napoleon at a bargain basement price. Contradictions galore. But, that aside, I think it's okay to make a broad brush assertion, as long as you're, as Robert Graves put it, "excitingly right in general rather than dully accurate in particular."
    **************
    I understand what you are saying: I just think that drawing too close a parallel is dangerous, since it leads to oversimplification. I don't think you are guilty of it, its just a friendly word of caution. In other words, don't go overboard.

    November 15, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |