Monday, February 13, 2006

The devil is in the details....

Questions of fact

February 12, 2006
by David Mehegan, The Boston Globe

Article: Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California

Wikipedia says: ''His most significant act related to transportation was when he ran over a teenager in the Capitol parking area and refused to stop despite screams from the crowd. He never apologized for the hit-and-run either."

In fact: According to a 2000 story in The Boston Globe, Lantos accidentally pinned the foot of a teenager under the tire of his car, backed off, then proceeded forward. He was not charged with hit-and-run, but fined $25 for ''failure to pay full time and attention."

Article: Cardinal Bernard F. Law, former archbishop of Boston

Wikipedia says: ''The Archdiocese was forced to close 65 parishes before Cardinal Law stepped down from service."

In fact: The large-scale program of parish closures was initiated by Law's successor, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley.

Article: Town of Hingham, Mass.

Wikipedia says: ''The town was named for Hingham, England, . . .the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln's forebearers [sic], including Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln. There are statues of both Pres. Lincoln and Gen. Lincoln located in or adjacent to downtown Hingham Square."

In fact: There is no statue of Benjamin Lincoln, and the two Lincolns were not related.

Article: George Weller, novelist and Pulitzer-winning war correspondent:

Wikipedia says: ''In 1946 he met Charlotte Ebner [sic], when the two were in a group of correspondents held for three weeks in Manchuria by the advancing communist Chinese army. They married two years later. . . . The couple had two childs [sic], a boy, Anthony, and a girl, Ann Tagge, and were married for 42 years."

In fact: Weller's two children had different mothers. His wife was Charlotte Ebener.

Article: Emily Dickinson, poet

Wikipedia says: ''Dickinson toyed briefly with the idea of having her poems published, even asking Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a literary critic and family friend, for advice."

In fact: Higginson, a prominent Boston abolitionist and author, was a stranger to Dickinson when she wrote to him.

David Mehegan can be reached at

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