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Old 04-22-2019, 09:27 AM
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Politician strategies to avoid being quoted out of context


With "You didn't build that" and other such things being taken out of context, I wonder just what politicians could do if they didn't want to be misquoted.

One strategy would be that one should never play devil's advocate, because that creates a snippet which can be cropped out of context and presented to the media - i.e., "We may think IED bombings are wrong, but in the eyes of Iraqi insurgents, they are freedom fighters fighting against foreign US occupation" can immediately be snipped out and presented as "Iraqi insurgents are freedom fighters fighting against foreign US occupation."

Another would be that one should take great care when comparing two things, especially two evils, because that again can be snipped out - "i.e., Compared with Stalin and Mao's death tolls of 30-50 million, suddenly Pol Pot's 2 million killed aren't much" can then be misquoted as "Pol Pot's 2 million killed aren't much."

But at a certain point, it becomes impossible to safeguard against quoting out of context. With Obama's "You didn't built that" comment, there was pretty much nothing that he could have done to prevent that misquote, unless he twisted himself into an utter verbal pretzel.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:46 AM
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:54 AM
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Stick with your talking points. Don't speak off the cuff.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:57 AM
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Perhaps the candidate can hold up paddle with the words "See the whole quote!" That should take care of any videos.

And vocally, for audio only, perhaps they can do an exaggerated high-pitched snark/snide voice?

Other than that, I got nothing.

Bad faith actors are going to use quotes out of context, and even engage in specious manipulation of existing audio and video. Frankly, there is an entire industry built on these practices.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:59 AM
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The OP states correctly in his OP that this is impossible to achieve. Where can we go from there? What is the purpose of this thread?
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The OP states correctly in his OP that this is impossible to achieve. Where can we go from there? What is the purpose of this thread?
Well there is always skimming the thread and posting whatever ideas we had from reading the thread title alone. And we could include some out of context quotes from the OP to bolster whatever claims we wanted to make.

I'd write an example, but it would probably be taken seriously by at least some, or used as a starting point by someone who didn't take it seriously, but who really wanted to argue against a joke position.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
The OP states correctly in his OP that this is impossible to achieve. Where can we go from there? What is the purpose of this thread?
Well, it's impossible to prevent people from quoting one out of context if they really want to, but there are measures that can be taken to make it more difficult to do so. Make them have to work harder at it, and provide less juicy content to work with.

So, avoid stringing words together in a way that could be snippeted-out. Politicians would have to sound like reading from a prerehearsed script, unfortunately.
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:31 PM
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Attack and discredit the media so nobody believes them when they quote anything, in or out of context.
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:50 PM
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So, avoid stringing words together in a way that could be snippeted-out. Politicians would have to sound like reading from a prerehearsed script, unfortunately.
Fine, it's not impossible, just unreasonable. It's like hiring Pearson test labs to do all school math tests. It's the only way to prevent all cheating, but it's not going to happen.
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Old 04-22-2019, 01:26 PM
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Well, it's impossible to prevent people from quoting one out of context if they really want to, but there are measures that can be taken to make it more difficult to do so. Make them have to work harder at it, and provide less juicy content to work with.



So, avoid stringing words together in a way that could be snippeted-out. Politicians would have to sound like reading from a prerehearsed script, unfortunately.
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Old 04-22-2019, 01:27 PM
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You can't prevent yourself being misquoted etc so it's incumbent upon news consumers to check multiple news providers. If two very different providers (e.g. Telegraph and Guardian) agree then the story is likely accurate.
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Old 04-22-2019, 02:59 PM
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You can't prevent yourself being misquoted etc so it's incumbent upon news consumers to check multiple news providers. If two very different providers (e.g. Telegraph and Guardian) agree then the story is likely accurate.
Sure, but reporters are notorious for picking and choosing what they want to write; I was once interviewed for a newspaper article about the utility of MBA degrees that I thought was for my local paper, and it ended up being published nationwide. I wasn't exactly MIS-quoted, but I was paraphrased and the author took pieces of what I'd said without the explanatory commentary.

What I had said was something very close to "Nobody in my MBA class has fessed up to having a job lined up so far, but that could be because they just aren't talking, or maybe I'm talking to the wrong people." This was immediately after graduation.

It was written in the article as "And at graduation, no of one in his class about 40 - not even the best students - had a job." Which isn't quite the same thing. And in another quote, I basically said that the job market was discouraging, and that I had hoped it would be better by the time I graduated (I started in 2002 immediately after the Dot-Com crash), but that I wasn't surprised that it hadn't recovered just yet.

It got quoted in a way that makes it sound like I'm not surprised, because MBA degrees aren't useful any longer (the contention of the article).

I wouldn't be surprised if it's absolutely impossible for someone like a politician who's constantly speaking in the public arena to avoid that sort of thing.
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:49 AM
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There are plenty of examples of FoxNews and their ilk contriving blatant misquotes of Democrats. Are there similar examples of Republicans being misquoted by the "Lamestream" or by D politicians?

Last edited by septimus; 04-23-2019 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
Perhaps the candidate can hold up paddle with the words "See the whole quote!" That should take care of any videos.

And vocally, for audio only, perhaps they can do an exaggerated high-pitched snark/snide voice?

Other than that, I got nothing.

Bad faith actors are going to use quotes out of context, and even engage in specious manipulation of existing audio and video. Frankly, there is an entire industry built on these practices.


Even those actions can be overcome by just printing the quotes on the screen, or having them read by a narrator over a still photo. That lets them eliminate any such indicators of sarcasm or humor.

Probably the best defense is to just dumb-down your message. Do not use any rhetorical flourishes, no analogies, no metaphors, nothing. Aim your message at about a third-grade reading level. Simple declarative statements, kept short and to the point.

Take a look at how Trump talks. How often have you seen him misquoted? So, talk like that, but with good ideas instead of shitty ones.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:51 AM
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That isn't proof that talking like that would prevent misquoting, because the CFSG doesn't need to be misquoted to sound bad so there's no need to try to do so.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:54 AM
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I do however remember one instance where he was indeed misquoted: the "They're rapists" line was actually a member of a parellel construction accusing Mexico of sending "their" people rather than accusing a whole swath of people of being rapists. The line contained 3 inaccuracies which for a normal politician would be incredible given the shortness of the sentence, but people had to construct it to be even more horrid than it was.
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Well, it's impossible to prevent people from quoting one out of context if they really want to, but there are measures that can be taken to make it more difficult to do so. Make them have to work harder at it, and provide less juicy content to work with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox News
Embattled US Rep. Ilhan Omar tweets 'happy Passover'

MINNEAPOLIS Ė U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is wishing "happy Passover" to Jews commemorating the holiday in her home state of Minnesota and around the world.

Omar is a Somali American and one of the first Muslims elected to Congress. She's been criticized for remarks in recent months on Israel, Jewish influence in Washington, and 9/11 that have drawn accusations of anti-Semitism and insensitivity. She says criticizing the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic.
https://www.foxnews.com/us/embattled...happy-passover

...what measures could Ilhan Omar have taken to make it more difficult for Fox News to write this headline and story?

For fucks sakes she said "Happy Passover." If they are going to twist this they will twist everything. You can't control what they are going to say. If they lie about you then you correct the record. If they do something like this then you respond the same way Omar did, by pointing out how absurd this story was.

And no, "not speaking off the cuff" is not the answer. Obama could speak off the cuff. Because Obama knew his shit. With the exception of Warren, all of the other Dem candidates are full of "wishy-washy" non-committal statements like "I think we need to have a conversation about this." They don't know their shit. So they don't speak off the cuff because they are scared of another "deplorables" incident.

So when Booker gets asked "is Trump racist?" he responds with "President Trump's language is "causing pain, fear. The way he's talking is making people afraid."

Compare that with AOC's response the same question: "Yeah. No question."

And when the Trump base attacked AOC for that statement she fired back with incidents where Trump displayed clear and obvious racism. She provided a masterclass on how to counter the narrative. You can't let them control what you say.
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:08 AM
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It is an area in which liberal/progressive speakers are particularly vulnerable, what with the whole "believing in nuance" thing.
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:49 AM
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There are plenty of examples of FoxNews and their ilk contriving blatant misquotes of Democrats. Are there similar examples of Republicans being misquoted by the "Lamestream" or by D politicians?
Mitt Romney's "I like being able to fire people" quote was taken out of context; he wasn't talking about being a boss and firing employees, but rather, being able to choose and select which kind of health insurance he could get.

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-m...firing-people/
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:55 PM
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Mitt Romney's "I like being able to fire people" quote was taken out of context; he wasn't talking about being a boss and firing employees, but rather, being able to choose and select which kind of health insurance he could get.

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-m...firing-people/


And that's a good example of what I was talking about.

Quote:
"I want individuals to have their own insurance," Romney said. "That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you donít like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesnít give me a good service that I need, I want to say Iím going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

He's using the "fire people" as an analogy for switching insurance providers. He's trying to make people feel like they're the boss, rather than a customer.

And that's what opened him up to being misquoted.

Now imagine if he'd just dropped those parts:

"I want individuals to have their own insurance," Romney said. "That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. ... You know, if someone doesnít give me a good service that I need, I want to say Iím going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

Much harder to twist that into a story of a heartless capitalist twirling his mustache as he banishes child laborers to the unemployment lines.
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