This is either very clever, or evidence of serial incompetence.

The Associated Press (a noun used for lack of a name of one person) writes, “Maria has been placed in temporary care since last week after authorities raided a Roma settlement in central Greece and later discovered that girl was not the child of the couple she was living were not her parents.”

That confounding string of words that looks like a sentence is repeated by the Christian Science Monitor (10/25), Huffington Post (10/25, 10:16 AM), Los Angeles Times (7:53 AM), Time, Yahoo and countless other new outlets.

And Youtube.

Since no author is identified, here is the name of the “Senior Vice President – Executive Editor” of the AP: Kathleen Carroll. Perhaps she signed-off on the article.

The gobledygook is also on the website of the AP, itself (10:16 AM ET). It occurs on pages in the domain, which have newspapers’ names at the top of each.

However, an item with some identical sentences as the first item, on, states: “Maria has been placed in temporary care since last week after authorities raided a Roma settlement in central Greece and later discovered that girl was not the child of a Greek Roma couple she was living with.” (10:40 AM EDT)

Astoundingly (as it comes after the nonsense in the first article) the next word string is “The couple has been arrested, and who have been charged for allegedly abducting Maria and document fraud.”

That story contains a by-line, and its gibberish is repeated by the Washington Post, Fox News, CBS and the Times of Mumbai. There are no corrections (or “correctives“) associated with those items on the AP’s correction page.

The news agency also maintains a story, dated June, 2012, that simultaneously identifies (impossibly so) both Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the U.S. Senate majority leader.

record of American history by the Senate indicates that only Senator Reid is Majority Leader of that body. The Onion identifies Senator McConnell as “Senate Minority Leader” (emphasis added).

Meanwhile, another inaccurate AP story, on Yahoo, falsely gives Senator McConnell the title, “Senate Majority Leader.” Unlike gibberish or a misspelled name, that is an error of fact.

Second time around – Rupert Murdoch’s error and correction

In 2012, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal MarketWatch website reported, inaccurately, “Increasingly, your score can help you land, or lose out on, a job, an apartment or utilities.”

Of course, as you can see (by using the link in that quote), Murdoch made an honorable correction.

But now, under the same author’s byline, the News Corporation brand gets it wrong again, saying (in the first two sentences, and in boldface, no less): “We’d all like to land lower-interest mortgages, higher-paying jobs and nicer apartments. And we know that getting and maintaining a good credit score is essential to attaining those goals.

The writer’s social media handle is included.  Here is what happened next.

Definition of insanity onus

In 2011, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, inaccurately, “The definition of insanity, Albert Einstein once famously put it, is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.”

There is no evidence that Einstein ever said that, and Senator McConnell offered no source for his misattribution.  He bears the burden of proof; the onus is on him.  Besides, Einstein was a physicist, not a psychiatrist.

Leaving the whole, nasty, majority/minority thing out of it, and replacing the subordinating adjective with his party name, this video of that statement is on the “official YouTube channel of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.”

When New York Magazine tried to explain the screw-up, it screwed up in the process, calling McConnell, inaccurately (in its first sentence, no less), the majority leader.

American history aside, the mere notion of the claim about insanity, is nonsense, itself.  It is akin to saying, “Happiness is… ” take your pick: A no-hitter, retail therapy, grandchildren.  But those are just people who–and things that–make you happy, not happiness itself.

It is heresy to attribute the silly pop definition of insanity to a great person like Albert Einstein.  Unfortunately, he is not around to defend himself.  He never said it, and Mitch McConnell is not Majority Leader.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you disect the news, first, do no harm.