Sarah Palin's Twitter feed continues to attract a mind-boggling amount of international media attention, most recently for the act of "favoriting" a tweet from Ann Coulter, which contained a photograph of a church sign with inflammatory things to say about President Obama. Palin, or whoever runs her Twitter account, subsequently "unfavorited" the tweet, and Palin told ABC News that she had no knowledge of the original favoriting. The Telegraph reported:
The fact that she uses a hand-held device to write her Twitter messages without checking by her staff has led to errors before, such as calling on moderate Muslims to “repudiate” plans for a mosque near ground zero in New York.
…except, as we all know, the word that Palin used was refudiate. Mostly likely what we have here is a Cupertino-style miscorrection, in which a copy editor has allowed a spellchecker to substitute the "correct" word repudiate, thus missing the entire point. (This despite the fact that a sidebar of related articles links to the Telegraph's own recent discussion of Palinesque refudiation.)
On Wonkette, one commenter griped about another editorial liberty taken by the Telegraph, "injecting 'u' into a verbatim written quote." This is the quotation in question:
“I’ve never purposefully 'favourited’ any Tweet,” she wrote in an email to ABC News. “I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was travelling to Alaska that day … it was an obvious accidental 'favouriting’.”
Though it's jarring for American readers to see Palin quoted with British spelling, this type of stylistic rejiggering of quotations is hardly unique to the Telegraph. I've run across the same copy-editing policy at The New York Times for my "On Language" columns. The in-house style guide for The Times advises that writers should not "clean up" quotations but adds that "The Times does adjust spelling, punctuation, capitalization and abbreviations within a quotation for consistent style." The Telegraph probably has a similar guideline, though the adjustment of refudiate to repudiate obviously oversteps that line.