2020 US Election - Current Events

FatPhil

Active Member
This is a tricky one.

In essense it seems like it boils down to whether WaPo, and others like them, were wrong to write:
President Trump urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to “find the fraud” in a lengthy December phone call, saying the official would be a “national hero,” according to an individual familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation.
-- https://web.archive.org/web/2021011...55c7fa-51cf-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html

The confusion lies in the 2 levels of indirection: The paper is reporting... what an insider claimed... about what Trump said.

I agree with the critics that the default implication from the above exact wording would be that Trump said precisely those quoted words, but I don't believe it's the only possible interpretation - it is possible that the quoted words are precisely what the insider said, as he paraphrased Trump. The quote symbols, the claim of an exact quote being presented, aren't the insiders', they are WaPo's. And WaPo is reporting on what the insider claimed tbout Trump. The insider had the right to paraphrase Trump, for simplicity of payload delivery, and I believe the quoted words captured the essence of what Trump said in the call accurately.

WaPo was misleading, possibly deliberately so, possibly more out of incompetence than malice, I don't know, but they could claim they meant other than the default interpretation. The paragraph should definitely have been restructured to remove the ambiguity (having Trump's name or a pronoun within the quote should suffice), a defence of "but we only said it was *according to* someone else" is a very weak one. Slapped wrists, WaPo, you invited this kind of response through your own sloppiness.

Background: I do a fair bit of work copy-editing a wide range of material - everything from academic papers, press releases, news articles, political speeches, marketting fluff, et al. - and the issue of accuracy of claims being made is one that I often have to address.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Frances Watson was the source of that December 3, Washington Post story.

where did you see that? i can't access the WP articles due to paywall (and please no one tell me to clear my cache... it doesnt work on Windows 10).

add: I ask specifically because she will be harassed for lying about Trump and it is doubly wrong if she is not the source
 
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i find that very confusing. the stuff in square brackets are things someone else added and not the actual transcript or what? if they are added by someone else then claiming that's a transcript is bunk.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
i find that very confusing. the stuff in square brackets are things someone else added and not the actual transcript or what? if they are added by someone else then claiming that's a transcript is bunk.

Nope, it's absolutely standard editorial markup on at least 4 continents, and I have no reason do doubt it's standard on the other ones too. ZWW did nothing wrong.
 

Amber Robot

Active Member
I've never seen it.
The most common usage may be for the word “sic”. As in [sic] is inserted in a quote or a citation to indicate that an error (usually spelling or grammatical) being transcribed is in the original and is not an error made by the one doing the quoting.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The most common usage may be for the word “sic”. As in [sic] is inserted in a quote or a citation to indicate that an error (usually spelling or grammatical) being transcribed is in the original and is not an error made by the one doing the quoting.
yes ive seen that. or with one other word in it to indicate they added a word to make the reading make more sense. or if the word is a guess due to mumbling.

but i've never seen commentary, is what i meant. (in a transcript printed by a news source anyway.)
 

Amber Robot

Active Member
yes ive seen that. or with one other word in it to indicate they added a word to make the reading make more sense. or if the word is a guess due to mumbling.

but i've never seen commentary, is what i meant. (in a transcript printed by a news source anyway.)
Ok. Sorry for misunderstanding your comment.
 
yes ive seen that. or with one other word in it to indicate they added a word to make the reading make more sense. or if the word is a guess due to mumbling.

but i've never seen commentary, is what i meant. (in a transcript printed by a news source anyway.)

same here, to me it isn't clear at all what is going on. which was my original comment.

a "[sic]" is common to me, but nothing else would i take as anything other than the original quoted content.

it would have been nice had you quoted the other article instead.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
same here, to me it isn't clear at all what is going on. which was my original comment.

a "[sic]" is common to me, but nothing else would i take as anything other than the original quoted content.

it would have been nice had you quoted the other article instead.

It's so standard, I'd go as far as to say it's universal.

-- https://www.writershelper.com/Editors_Notes-141.html

-- https://www.thepunctuationguide.com/brackets.html

-- https://www.independent.co.uk/news/...se-ones-really-don-t-help-reader-7920609.html

-- https://getproofed.com/writing-tips/brackets-parentheses/

I'm not sure of the capabilities of the markup language used on MB, and it would perhaps have been friendlier to use some stylistic markup such as colour to indicate that the editorial text was somehow meta in addition to just the square brackets, but that may introduce other problems (it may be invisible to some readers, for example, or simply reduce readability). Alternatives are annotating your editorialising with your initials [works for me:FP].
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
you really shouldn't add text that tells others how to interpret something though if you are pasting a transcript. it's like telling people the demon on an EVP recording is saying "Get out". once someone puts something in your head, it's kinda hard to hear anything else. or make an objective determination.
 
you really shouldn't add text that tells others how to interpret something though if you are pasting a transcript. it's like telling people the demon on an EVP recording is saying "Get out". once someone puts something in your head, it's kinda hard to hear anything else. or make an objective determination.

especially if it is reported as news and not marked as opinion or more clearly labelled. in this case the quote was not clearly labelled and so to me that was why i asked what i did.
 
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