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150 Years Later, Newspaper Retracts Gettysburg Address Diss

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Seven score and ten years ago, a Pennsylvania newspaper described the Gettysburg Address as nothing more than the "silly remarks" of President Lincoln. Now, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg would like to take that back.


Silly remarks, that's how a Pennsylvania newspaper dismissed the Gettysburg Address after it was first delivered by President Lincoln. 150 years later, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg would like to take it back.

JOHN MICEK: We committed a bit of a clangor.


A clangor, also known as a blunder, blooper or faux pas. That's John Micek, the opinion page editor of the Patriot-News. He says the clangor took place back in 1863 when the paper went by the name of Patriot & Union.

MICEK: At the time, our predecessors wrote, we pass over the silly remarks of the president. For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that there shall be no more repeated or thought of.

SIEGEL: Ouch. Newspapers in the 19th century did not hide their partisanship. The Patriot & Union was no exception. Well, next week marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's historic address and the Patriot-News editorial board decided it was high time to reconsider its opinion. Again, John Micek.

MICEK: We thought it'd be a sort of tongue in cheek way to add our voice to the anniversary celebrations.

CORNISH: So today's edition of the Patriot-News carries this editorial.

MICEK: Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to his 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.

CORNISH: In case the diction's a little too dense for your 21st century ears, today's retraction ends with this: the Patriot & Union failed to recognize the speech's momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error.

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