Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dean: "I won't respond to blind quotes"

Just caught a press conference Democratic Party Chairman (ooh that sounds nice) Howard Dean gave after winning the chairmanship. One reporter asked him a question with a "some Democrats say that they are worried about the image you will give to the party" bent to it. Dean responded by saying he "won't respond to blind quotes".

This is an excellent policy which I would encourage everyone to follow.

A blind quote the same as a un-attributed quote. The latter is stated as coming from a specific individual, usual with some indication that that individual has some position of authority from which to make the statement (such as a "high government official", etc.). A blind quote, on the other hand, isn't even un-attributed. It's just "someone" out there.

The bad thing about such quotes is that there is (1) no way to know if they accurately reflect what was actually said (because the person who said them can't correct the record) and (2) no way to know if the quote is just made up out of whole cloth.

Dean is taking exactly the right position with respect to such quotes: don't get drawn into the trap of arguing with an unknown.


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