Monday, May 24, 2010

Writers, check your facts

To strengthen the credibility of your writing, check your facts. Make sure you are accurately stating and accurately citing the facts you’re using. A significant error in your use of facts can detract from your credibility.


U.S. President Barack Obama, who once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, apparently confused the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence while publicly reading his scripted State of the Union Address, January 27, 2010 (photo).

Mr. Obama read, in part, “We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we’re all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.” (Boldface added.)

In fact, “the notion that we’re all created equal” is not even mentioned in the Constitution.

The notion is prominently stated in the Declaration. The second sentence in the Declaration begins: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal...”

What makes this error so significant is that these facts are common knowledge, even among school children.

Seven weeks earlier (December 10, 2009), Mr. Obama publicly misrepresented the president’s oath of office. The exact words of the oath are prescribed in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

The Takeaway: Don’t embarrass yourself. After you write and edit something, take the time to check your facts.

See disclaimer.

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