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April 7, 2011


LIFT’s Embarrassing Error Should Have Been Embarrassing

by K. Tsetsi

–by Kristen Tsetsi

A few weeks ago, I received an email requesting an article for AOL as part of the Military Family week the company organized in

collaboration with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

This week was to take place April 4-10.

Mistaking AOL’s Military Family week as an actual Military Family week, I included mention of this Military Family week in an amendment to the original press release announcing LIFT’s new project, LIFT LINK LOVE. (I offer no defense or excuse for this error. It’s easy enough to Google. That it’s the Month of the Military Child, however, did lead me to conclude – logically, I thought – that Military Family week would coincide with the Month of the Military Child.)

This press release was sent to many, many organizations and media outlets.

Website creator and LIFT volunteer TMarie even started including #MilitaryFamilyWeek in LIFT’s tweets. (Again and again. And again.)

Perhaps even more embarrassingly, an email sent to Stephen Colbert began:

Because Stephen Colbert is well known for his support of our troops and, to prove that support, showed us he’s just as dashing with swooping hair as he is with none, we are writing today to bring to the Colbert Report’s attention that this week, April 4th-10th, is Military Family Week.

Much to our surprise, Mr. Colbert didn’t immediately call one of us, and no one was responding to us on Twitter. TMarie even did a search for #militaryfamilyweek, and the only ones she saw belonged to LIFT.

We eventually figured out that people weren’t ignoring Military Family week on Twitter, in Stephen Colbert’s email inbox, and in the news–because it wasn’t, in fact, Military Family week. Military Family Week is in November.

But what dawned on us was that what actually was being ignored were our simple requests to re-tweet the news of this Military Family week.

On one hand, we were relieved we were being ignored, because that meant fewer people were aware of our error. But on the other hand, corrections, calls do do our research, and even angry “What are you TALKING about!?” responses would have given us hope that someone out there is listening, even when we’re wrong.

We WISH we would have been corrected. We WISH someone would have noticed. The fact that no one did means we didn’t have to be so embarrassed, but it also means this goal to spread awareness of what military families have been experiencing for the last ten years is going to be harder than we thought.

While we hope to not make journalistic mistakes of this nature in the future (and will try our hardest not to), this particular mistake, viewed in light of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s upcoming initiative, has led LIFT to declare that from this day on, EVERY WEEK IS MILITARY FAMILY WEEK AT LIFT!

Read the behind-the-scenes (and uproariously funny) side of this story, which includes a look at emails sent back and forth, here.

Please click here to visit on Facebook and “Like” it for TIME.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Apr 7 2011

    As it should be. I did not notice the error about the date, as people seem to claim it’s this week or that week rather off the cuff, and sometimes facebook posts about military appreciation week circle the internet year round. I decided not to repost or spread the word because is seemed like a shameless plug from AOL (not by you but by them, and I use them), so I didn’t feel the need to spread the word. I read all of your FB posts and many of the links. I would agree though, spreading the word about anything is difficult – unless you are a singer, actor, or sports star, sigh. Keep up the good work! HOOAH!


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