By John Toole
CNHI News Service
— NBC News has apologized to New Hampshire for misidentifyhing it as Vermont on a map showing the location of the Canadian freight train disaster.
The train explosion occurred in the town of Lac-Megantic only a few miles from the northeast corner of New Hampshire and the northwest edge of Maine.
The errant map spread New York over Vermont and moved Vermont to New Hampshire, eliminating the Granite State.
Anchor Brian Williams delivered the apology during the Nightly News broadcast Wednesday.
“Mea culpa and full disclosure: New Hampshire was lost by our graphics department,” Williams said. “It has since been found and put back.”
Williams treated viewers to a replay of the wrong map.
“You’ll see what a few of our sharp-eyed viewers saw, including at least one U.S. senator: New Hampshire’s gone, vanished,” Williams said. “It apparently moved to Vermont and then New York took over a bunch of territory. Nobody knew it.”
Williams then paid tribute to “great things” about New Hampshire.
“It’s got the best motto, ‘Live Free or Die,’” Williams said. “And it is home of the first-in-the-nation (presidential) primary.” He also noted the state's all-female elected congressional delegation. And, he added, "while they are all serious people, New Hampshire has also given us Seth Myers and Sarah Silverman.”
Williams went on to say paper towels were invented in New Hampshire and the inventor of Tupperware was from the state.
Gov. Maggie Hassan tweeted her acceptance of the apology: “We forgive you ... this time. Don’t let it happen again @bwilliams!”
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte. R-N.H., brought the geographic error to NBC's attention. She and her Senate colleague, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, both tweeted appreciation for the correction and the good words about New Hampshire.
People on the streets of New Hampshire rolled eyes, shook heads, laughed and tsked-tsked over NBC’s error.
“It’s par for the course,” said George Calligandes of Londonderry. “I’m from New York and when I moved here some of my friends thought New Hampshire was part of New York. I have to tell people I’m from Boston for them to know exactly where I’m from.”
Amanda Butler, a young mother shopping with toddlers, pondered New Hampshire as Vermont, and responded: "I don't hink I’d be too happy living in Vermont."
Sister Juliann Parent of Derry, a retired schoolteacher, had a suggestion: "We’ve got 50 states and they can’t figure that out? They need to get out more.”
John Toole is a reporter for The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.