New York Sun, 9/24/1897
On September 21st, we published an editorial by Francis Church—our editor—titled “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.” It has been brought to our attention that the editorial contained several factual errors. We at The Sun take our duty as newsmen seriously, and endeavor to provide our readers with accurate information. We heartfully apologize for our error, and pledge to serve you better in the future.
Mr. Church’s declaration that there is a Santa Claus is false. Indeed there is no Santa Claus, and we can definitively say it would be impossible for one man to visit all the children in the world in one night. We wish to extend a personal apology to Virginia O’Hanlon’s “little friends” who were defamed by this editorial.
We also cannot confirm the statement, “In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.” According to our research department, scientists have yet to discover any intellect—terrestrial or otherwise—greater than man’s, let alone any intelligence that would dwarf man.
We disagree with Mr. Chruch’s statement, “[if there were no Santa Claus] it would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.” We at The Sun believe a world without Virginias would be much drearier than a world without Santa Claus which, incidentally, is the world in which we live.
Furthermore, there is no correlation between the existence of Santa Claus and the following concepts: childlike faith, poetry, and romance. Existence is, indeed, “tolerable” without the presence of Santa Claus. Our research staff also has not been able to confirm the existence of an “eternal light with which childhood fills the world.”
Mr. Church went on to write: “Not believe in Santa! You might as well not believe in fairies!” According to our research staff, there is no such thing as a fairy. Technically, based on syntax, our retraction of the existence of Santa Claus corrects this error, but we wish to clarify: there are no fairies.
We thank Virginia O’Hanlon’s father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, for his assertion, “If it’s in The Sun, it’s so.” And we strive to live up to that reputation. It is the policy of The Sun to fact check all of our stories and editorials and, again, we apologize to anyone inconvenienced by incorrect information.