Back in May it was really hard to ignore just how many news outlets were mixing up the first name of the world's most wanted terrorist with the last name of the president who green-lighted the operation to kill him. That gaffe now takes the no. 1 slot in Poynter's list of the top media mistakes in 2011. As we noted at the time, there's some linguistic science that says the particular confusion of those two names is hugely difficult to avoid. But another school of thought holds that it's old-fashioned racism causing so many people to mix up two guys with a darker skin tone than them. The slip-up topped Poynter's list (compiled by Regret The Error's Craig Silverman) because it was so widespread. But we were a lot more entertained by the runner-up: An embarrassingly omitted letter in a headline about "clocks."
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