AJC editor pissed about beer myth

The story of a man named Richard Kral who drank 60 beers so he could piss his way out of the snow that buried his car in a Slovakian avalanche was too good for the AJC to pass up. So the paper ran it - twice.

Too bad it was an urban myth, exposed on www.snopes.com.

The AJC's Julia Wallace, recently named Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher, wrote readers a lame apology, reprinted here, that appeared on page 2 of the AJC on Feb. 22.

The apology politely skirts the preposterousness of the situation; instead, Wallace's mea culpa read like a Good Housekeeping pledge to do better.

On Feb. 2, a one-paragraph synopsis of the pissing myth appeared in the Atlanta & the World section, "culled from the Web site of a British tabloid," according to Wallace.

Wallace's apology also mentions a subsequent Feb. 11 column about Kral, written "almost verbatim and without attribution" off the Internet. The woman who penned the column was Linda Sharp, who writes about cars - the guy was trapped in a car, OK? - for the paper's Wheels section.

Sharp opened the column with a pecker joke, stating, "only a male could demonstrate this sort of resourcefulness." She then repeated the full myth, writing that she was at first skeptical of the report but had documented how parts of Europe had been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since 1941.

Then she added slyly, "While it is still not advisable to drink and drive, you may want to rethink carrying a brewski or two just for emergencies."


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