WSJ Map Graphic, Word Choice Causes Confusion

A column written by Daniel Henninger in yesterday’s print edition of WSJ has raised some eyebrows on the Internet, mostly for the graphic that accompanied it.

Under the headline “Obama’s Divided Nation” (the deck reads: “The nation is more divided than at any time in 50 years”) a map of the United States was printed alongside Henninger’s column. The version of the graphic on WSJ‘s website shows a map with red states and blue states. But a version of the map that went viral on Twitter is much different… All the states are black. “Here’s a REALLY informative graphic in today’s WSJwrote one Twitter user. “Guys, I’m pretty sure this should have been printed in color.” The tweet has been retweeted almost 400 times since yesterday.

BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski picked it up today. “Somebody apparently forgot to tell the WSJ graphics department,” he tweeted.

A competing image, however, emerged showing what appears to be the printed edition of Henninger’s column with the correctly colored map. “Guys, the black-and-white WSJ map pic is fake,” tweeted former Herald Sun Copy Editor Katherine Morayati with the photo attached.

Also his column, Henninger uses the phrase “Obama spokestotum,” in reference to a rebuke from the Obama team against fact checkers who said a claim in one of their campaign ads was false. “What’s a ‘spokestotum’?” Wired columnist Andy Baio asked in a tweet.

A search on Google doesn’t render any results for the word other than in Henninger’s column.

Business Insider‘s Owen Thomas offered one definition: “Spokestotum = combo factotum and spokesperson. Carries suitcase, water,” he said.

We’ve reached out to Henninger to clear up the issue of the map as well as an official explanation of the made-up word “spokestotum.”