Journalists, the self-described writers of the first draft of history, often have a very tough time remembering it. I've lost count how many times I've heard the phrase "most ever," "biggest in history," "worst X ever" and so on.
The BBC provided the latest example of this historical short-sightedness in a not-exactly condemnatory (the Beeb never once calls him a dictator) profile of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, which as the WSJ's James Taranto noted yesterday, contained a major error:
Last Monday the BBC published a puff piece on Cuba's dictator titled "Fidel: The World Icon." Here's how it starts:
Cuba's President Fidel Castro--the world's longest-serving leader--turns 80 on 13 August. This week, we will be assessing his political life and his impact on the Caribbean island.
After successfully putting the kibosh on a "South Park" episode that made fun of scientology and himself, actor Tom Cruise has expanded his censorship efforts overseas where he's succeeded in getting the same episode pulled in the U.K.:
The South Park episode "Trapped In the Closet," which mocks actor Tom Cruise's rumored homosexuality as well as his belief in the controversial religion Scientology, has finally been seen by the English. The episode had been banned from UK broadcaster Channel 4 after Cruise had complained.
According to the World Entertainment News Network, London's National Film Theater screened the episode on Monday, May 15. After the showing, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker spoke about the necessity of free speech. The event concluded with free copies of the episode being handed out to attendees.
In regards to possible action by the litigious Cruise, a spokesman for the Theater said, "If we were charging [for tickets] there may have been legal problems, but it was a free event, so it should be fine."