Stephen Rodrick, writing for Slate magazine, seems to think it is.
Abraham Lincoln began the Gettysburg Address with the words, “About a century ago, the dudes that started it all . . .” Well, ok. Those weren’t exactly the words, but they are “essentially accurate.” That’s the standard that Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mitch Albom imposed upon himself in handling direct quotations for his column. Apparently, some of the editors at the newspaper were willing to live with that standard, too. But that is not the standard that those of us who teach journalism want to pass on to our students. What we want is for our students to be meticulous in their pursuit of accuracy.