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November 13, 2008


Chris Blow

Journalists have the capacity to make people sound stupid or smart, it's not just that she's an idiot. Seriously this is a great observation; really great blog too.

Chris Brew

There's some slightly clunky verbatim transcript stuff in a long interview with Obama at

e.g. talking about time in Indonesia

"So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you'd hear the prayer call.

So I don't think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education."

If one were so minded, one could use this to make Obama seem somewhat less articulate than
people see him as. Which would be strange, but this whole thing is strange.

Anonymous Coward

Politicians are often quoted verbatim because their followers shriek bloody murder when their comments are edited.

(For myself, I'd rather get the clunky transcript straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.)

Russell Phillips

This seems like a slippery slope for journalists to go down. When someone misspeaks, and you correct that speech for them as a journalist, then you are no longer really quoting them. The only acceptable way to really do that is to use ellipses. Most people don't do it because it looks suspicious, And rightfully so. Its important that the public understand exactly what their leaders and those who desire to be our leaders are saying.


Of course any public figure is going to have verbal responses which look pretty bad when transcribed directly. But if you watch, for instance, the Palin interview with Couric, there is no doubt that her words were not lazy or trying to find a tense; she simply meandered all over the place. It would have been inappropriate to make any kind of editoral corrections on her rambling.

Matthew Hurst

I agree - somethings cannot be fixed: to quote the current president of the USA

“Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can’t get fooled again.”

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