On money sloshing down the streets, and being misquoted by one of the world’s “premier” newspapers.

[UPDATE: I’ve received an email from an IHT editor assuring me that a correction is being prepared for online and print.]

[UPDATE 2/26: The digital version of the story mentioned in this post has been corrected. Many thanks to the editors and writer who helped the process along. I appreciate it.]

Late this afternoon I began to receive emails from friends pointing out that I’m quoted extensively in a story about Shanghai blogs in today’s International Herald Tribune. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing, something that I’d be proud to hear. Unfortunately, most people were emailing me in response to this passage:

Mr. Minter chose to make Shanghai his home because of “all of the money sloshing down these streets,” a testament to the entrepreneurial vibe that pulses through the city.

For the record, and for what it’s worth, I’d like to point out that I never made that statement. Somebody else did, and I merely quoted it in the written answers that I provided to a reporter’s questions. Below, the specific reporter’s question, and my answer, as copied from a February 16 email:

16. Talk about the changes to the city since you first moved there, physically, socially, economically, etc.

[My answer] The physical changes are dramatic. I’ve watched with real regret as the city’s historic architectural core has been demolished in favor of modern high-rises. That’s a pity.

Economically, the city has become visibly more wealthy. A friend recently referred to “all of the money sloshing down these streets.” I think that’s accurate – and it’s recent.

Shanghai remains the same cultural firmament that I first experienced seven years ago. Constant flux. And yet, despite the flux, I haven’t sensed much change. The Shanghainese still maintain their traditional value and culture – despite tinkering at the edges.

To summarize – I did not move to Shanghai due to all of the money “sloshing down the streets,” and neither am I the author of that quote. What might have motivated the authors of the IHT piece to manipulate my answer is beyond me. But they did it, and I not only noticed, I have a copy of the original emailed interview … you little bastards. [temper, temper, apologies, apologies]

[UPDATE 2/26: My admittedly intemperate comment above (since crossed out) shouldn’t obscure the fact that I’ve been extremely impressed with with the professionalism exhibited by Maile Cannon and the IHT editors. They communicated with me promptly after the mistake was pointed out, and they really did attempt to correct the situation to the best of their abilities. Worth noting, too, that Maile has a self-effacing sense of humor – a good quality in anyone, but especially in a journalist.]

On the bright side, some of the emails that I’ve received as a result of this debacle are keepers, with the best one beginning: “In the years we’ve known each other we’ve been in the presence of money sloshing down the streets on several occasions and you managed to miss all of them.” Uh, thanks.

[UPDATE 2/26: Of the many emails I’ve received in regard to this article – 95% of which reference that quote – this is my favorite: “I did, however, obtain a needed dose of amusement today by imagining you telling some IHT reporter that you moved to Shanghai because the streets were sloshing with money. A modern update to the immigrant tale where the streets are paved with gold, but more tangible and more liquid.” Indeed.]