Last weekend, there was an Associated Press article that ran on page A6 in The Frederick News-Post with a headline that said: Q&A: Democrats push to overturn ‘Obamacare’ during a pandemic.

Rightfully, that left many of our readers scratching their heads. Why would Democrats be trying to overturn something that they have championed since it became law in 2010? The Affordable Care Act, as it’s more formally known, was a signature piece of legislation by the Democrat-controlled House and Senate that was in turn signed by President Barack Obama — a Democrat.

If you were confused, hopefully you kept reading and soon learned that it is some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who are in fact trying to overturn the law that ensures millions of Americans have health care.

Simply put, we messed up. It was an error on our end when trying to make the headline longer to fit the spot on the page. The original headline sent over from the AP was, “Q&A: Overturning 'Obamacare' during a pandemic.”

There was no mention of political parties in the headline and it clearly states in the article, “Amid a pandemic, President Donald Trump and some red states want the Supreme Court to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Blue states and the U.S. House say the case has no merit.”

Yes, mistakes happen, and we own up to them when we make them. We ran a correction on A2 Monday to report the error.

But this was a pretty obvious and frustrating one. We received more than a dozen phone calls, emails and messages on our Facebook page from readers wondering what happened. We started to respond to them, but we soon realized there were probably others who read Saturday’s article, who may or may not have seen the correction on Monday, and who also deserved a better explanation.

During these very trying times, we have a lot of our staff working remotely and we are stretched thin. This is not meant as an excuse, but simply a part of an explanation.

What it comes down to is proper editing that should have taken place here, but did not. When our team is designing pages at night, they are — rightfully so — focusing their efforts on our local content, because that is the heart of our mission.

But we cannot ignore the other pages. With AP content, we're usually not spending much time with the story because we know it has already gone through an editing process. However, this was a mistake we put into the headline and it should have been caught.

This error reminded us that we need to spend more time looking at pages once they've been designed and that is why we will go back to basics and make sure every page is looked over more carefully each night to catch mistakes like this.

Some readers asked if this was intentional. That was absolutely not the case.

The national news media has taken a hit in recent years. People have used words like slanted, biased, and more. There’s been another term used that I won’t even repeat here.

As the local news source of Frederick County, our reporters, photographers and editors strive to give you the news you need without bias. We take that promise very seriously and would not jeopardize your trust to make some kind of political statement about the national health care law.

I cannot guarantee that you won’t see any mistakes ever again, but I can assure you that we take this particular error — and the feedback we received in its aftermath — to heart.

We will continue to strive to give you fair, balanced and accurate content throughout our news pages each day.

Thanks for reading and we appreciate your continued support and understanding.

Pete McCarthy is a city editor at The Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at pmccarthy@newspost.com.

(9) comments

TomWheatley

The headline error was minor compared to the one on the Sports page several years ago. Alexander Ovechkin, the Russian hockey player, was just starting out and hit the milestone of 200 goals in the shortest time of any player. The little snippet I cut out from the upper right corner with his picture read:

wait for it

"Ovechkin fastest to score 200 girls"

Piedmontgardener

Everyone makes mistakes, thanks for explaining it.

threecents

I don't care much about the headlines. Thanks for giving us some news.

armillary

Pete, thanks for admitting the mistake and correcting it. And speaking of getting back to basics, you referred to a 'Democrat-controlled House and Senate.' The name of the party is the Democratic party, not the Democrat party. A member of the Democratic party is called a democrat. If you meant to say that the Democratic party controlled the House and Senate, you should say, 'Democratic-controlled House and Senate.' If you meant to say that a single democrat controlled the House and Senate, that's just silly. You wouldn't have said 'Obama-controlled House and Senate.' Obama didn't get everything he wanted when the Democratic party controlled the United States Congress, just like Trump didn't get everything he wanted when the Republican party did. The term 'Democrat party' is just a pejorative used by Republicans. It's a dog whistle. It's not used by good journalists.

des21

I don't think you're right Arm- I have been corrected by Democrats on this forum a few times for "erroneously" using the term Democratic. Get your story straight. "Dog whistle?" What, pray tell, does it call us to? Pulease

des21

I read it and thought "that's probably a mistake." No worries Pete.

Dwasserba

Haha *never saw it*

dagcolby

I assume you don't really read the news anyway.

hayduke2

Thank you for the explanation. That was a pretty big error in editing...

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