We made an error, but...
Then the apology proceeds to delegitimize the subject of the report, questioning his sociological understanding. Longueira's "distorted view of reality" is related to a long-past claim that an assassinated senator, Jaime Guzman, the ideological founder of UDI, had appeared to him in a dream. At the time, Longueira's story became the butt of many jokes.
The story doesn't end there. On May 29, a new letter to the editor appeared, this time signed by Cristian Bofill, the paper's director. It read in part: "Yesterday, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding and without any ill will on the part of La Tercera or its director, we published an Editor's Note, which referred to the minister of the economy in an inappropriate tone."
Then the apologies began again: "La Tercera regrets and apologizes for the misunderstanding." It goes on to say there were two versions of the reply, one for regional publication and one for national publication.
Below Bofill's apology the paper reprinted Longueira's criticism as well as the Editor's Note, minus the personal attacks on the minister of the economy.
Sometimes explanations aggravate the error. In this case, the director aimed to avoid taking responsibility, as evidenced by the phrase "unfortunate misunderstanding, without any ill will on the part of La Tercera or its director."
It wasn't a "misunderstanding." It was a grave error that merits a better explanation. Who wrote that the initial Editor's Note? What sanctions were placed on that person? And what filters will be applied in the future to avoid such errors? The director cannot argue that neither he nor the paper is to blame, no matter whether he was informed about what was to be published.
When we journalists make errors, we should apologize and not lash out those who, legitimately, feel affected. Each media organization must take precautions to minimize errors, strengthen its fact-checking protocols, and never violate the principle of protecting sources - something Chile guarantees by law.