Monday, May 07, 2007

Typo in News Report Causes Chaos in Coaster Community

A copy editing error in an AP story published online on Saturday has caused enormous confusion in the amusement park discussion community. In the original AP story, comments that were in fact made by Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel were inadvertently attributed to Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro.

The trouble started when blogger David Plash posted a detailed criticism of the comments on his CoasterNalysis blog. Believing the comments to reflect Six Flags's strategic plan as laid out by Shapiro, and noting that it included a statement that incurring nearly $2 billion in debt to acquire parks was a wise move, Plash posted a blistering message, describing the use of debt to obtain new parks and to invest in new rides as "ridiculous, insane, moronic, and utterly lacking in business acumen." He further suggested that "Shapiro should learn something from Kinzel, who would never talk about taking on that kind of debt as a smart idea."

Approximately two hours later, the AP issued a correction, noting that the comments were actually from an interview with Dick Kinzel. Plash immediately retracted his post, stating that even with exactly the same comments on exactly the same subjects, Kinzel was brilliant while Shapiro was a moron. He concluded: "Doubleplusgood! War is peace!"