ink-stained wretches

The Times Got a Few Things Wrong in Its Gore Vidal Obit

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Gore Vidal led a colorful and fascinating life, so it’s fitting that his obituary has spawned one of the greatest New York Times corrections ever. On Wednesday, the paper added this note to Vidal’s obituary: “An earlier version misstated the term Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. in a television appearance during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was crypto-Nazi, not crypto-fascist.” There’s more.

It also described incorrectly Mr. Vidal’s connection with former Vice President Al Gore. Although Mr. Vidal frequently referred jokingly to Mr. Gore as his cousin, they were not related. And Mr. Vidal’s relationship with his longtime live-in companion, Howard Austen, was also described incorrectly. According to Mr. Vidal’s memoir “Palimpsest,” they had sex the night they met, but did not sleep together after they began living together. It was not true that they never had sex.

What’s the point of writing these things years in advance if you aren’t going to take the time to properly research the subjects’ sexual encounters and accusations of crypto-Nazism?

Times Issues Gore Vidal Obit Correction