A couple of days ago, the Toronto Star completely screwed up its explanation of the IELTS English proficiency test, by presenting as "an example of Part 1 of the writing test" some badly-designed material from a training booklet not even published by the test designers, asking questions of a kind that are apparently never found on the test.
Arnold Zwicky reminds me that the same newspaper did essentially the same thing a little more than two years ago, as Arnold documented in "Do you speak Canadian?", 6/4/2008.
It's shocking how badly some major newspapers sometimes misrepresent basic matters of fact — and how little attempt the editors apparently make to correct these errors and to prevent the same thing from happening all over again a short time later.
[Update 8/1/2010 -- Brett R offers the following amelioration:
Although the claim about the Star being a serial distorter is likely right, it doesn't apply in this case. The graphic in question is from the 2008 story, not the new one. I don't see anything in the July 20, 2010 story which is a distortion except perhaps that it links to the uncorrected 2008 story.
This is a fair comment. I got the link to the Star's .pdf from another commenter, and didn't notice that it dated from 2008 (when there was also another misleading explanation of the test, discussed at the time by Arnold Zwicky) rather than from 2010.
So I owe the Star an apology for the "serial" part -- especially because (at least as of this morning) the 2010 story doesn't actually link to the misleading 2008 description.]