On Friday afternoon I wrote an open letter to Cardinal Dolan here at Coming Home. As has been our working practice, Steven Ertelt at Lifenews.com reposted my piece at his site almost immediately that afternoon (changing the title, as is his custom). What Steven neglected to do was give me attribution as the author of the piece. As a result, the piece carried Steven Ertelt’s name as the author, and it did not appear under my column.
This caused me no small amount of heartburn, as it has happened a few times before, and over the next 18 hours I sent Steven several emails asking him to correct the error, telling him that people were beginning to question the attribution: did I take the piece from him?!
Steven said my emails were buried in a mountain of emails to him, apologized, and corrected the error as soon as he saw my email some 24 hours later. However, by that time the damage was done and there was no public statement on his site explaining the error. After an exchange of emails today (Monday), Steven placed an editor’s note at the bottom of the original article after changing the name. It evidently was sufficiently buried to escape the notice of a reader from Irleand who sent me the following email:
Hello Dr Gerard Nadal,
I read your statement on Obama’s Mandate. I’m totally in agreement with it. However, the byline was “by Gerard Nadal”. Now if you care to look, I had a link to the same article published a few “Comments” above the lady who gave your link and it was to Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog on http://www.archny.org/ . This statement was on http://www.lifenews.com/ and I think you should have credited this organization with the statement. I’m going no further with this as we all must stick together. However, it is good to give credit where credit is due.
Steven Ertelt is a good man who is doing a great work at Lifenews. However, I have not been able to succeed in getting him to make a statement placed in a noticeable position on his main page that would clear the air. It’s unfortunate, as I have allowed my writing to be published on his site free of charge. However, such an egregious error, however innocently made requires more than a private apology and a note buried at the bottom of the original article (which nobody is going to re-read!).
So absent a separate article at Lifenews explaining the error, an explanation which would have cleared the air and restored my good name for those misled by the error, (people who may not be inclined to write) I’m publishing this correction and explanation 72 hours later in my more limited sphere of influence and consequently no longer writing for Lifenews.com.
Though I would have preferred that the explanation come from Steven, I honestly wish Steven all the best.
Coming Home is moving forward.