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Here at Entertainment Weekly, we try to be informative, amusing, opinionated, and occasionally outrageous. In rare instances, we cross the line, and outrageous becomes tasteless or thoughtless. That happened in this section recently, in the Jan. 3, 2003, issue, when we used the phrase ”Better dead than defiant” to describe the success of Aaliyah’s posthumous album, ‘I Care 4 U,’ versus the performance of Whitney Houston’s new album. As managing editor, I sincerely regret that we published the phrase, and I apologize on behalf of the magazine to Aaliyah’s family, the Haughtons, and to anyone else who was offended. — RICK TETZELI