Do Not Call a Navy Captain Fat

The Washington Post apologizes for characterizing an officer as “thickset.” By Tom Shoop

The Washington Post has the correction of the day, if not the year, in its print edition today:

“An Oct. 14 Style article about access to the prison camp for terrorism suspects at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, incorrectly referred to Navy Capt. Robert Durand as “thickset.” He should have been described as muscular.”

If this photo on NPR’s website is to be believed, it certainly appears that the correction was warranted. Capt. Durand indeed looks muscular, and the connotations associated with “thickset” --  a certain stoutness or stockiness -- do not apply to his physique.

Poynter’s Craig Silverman notes that the print correction is slightly different than the notation (labeled a “clarification”) placed at the top of the online version of the story. It merely states that the article “incorrectly described Navy Capt. Robert Durand’s physical build” before noting that “muscular” was the right term to describe him.

Still unknown is who requested the correction.  Did someone other than Durand himself take offense at the misguided suggestion that he’s on the husky side?