It was a simple slip of the ear - a person says one thing, the listener hears something quite different - but oh what fuss it caused!
The kerfuffle arose from our reporting of a fiery little speech by Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery at Monday night's council meeting, in which he addressed the community response to the council's budget proposals.
Cr Bradbery was making the point that no matter what council did, some members of the community would never be satisfied.
"That percentage or section of our community will never be satisfied," he said, and "we'll always be a pack of bastards."
Unfortunately, what our reporter thought he heard was: "That percentage or section of our community will never be satisfied" and "will always be a pack of bastards."
In other words, our reporter misheard we'll as will.
Stop the press (or in this case: update the Mercury's website)! The Lord Mayor just called some members of the community a pack of bastards!
That was how the story ran on Monday night, and by Tuesday morning our website was alive with dozens and dozens of comments pouring in (and you can well imagine their tone).
It didn't take long for the council's press office to call either and, naturally, we took the story offline immediately.
As one of our readers commented later: "Ah, the difference a couple of vowels and an apostrophe make."