Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Case of the Wandering Quotation Mark

The Angry Liberal at Grey Matter is indeed angry about the wandering quotation mark in an Associated Press report on Bush's White House statement concerning the Iraq elections.

About 45 mins. ago, Bush gave a statement about the Iraqi elections. The third or fourth sentence of the statement has been transcribed by AP (link) as follows:
Bush said they "firmly rejected the antidemocratic ideology" of terrorists.
I watched Bush live on NBC and winced when I heard him stare into the camera and firmly enunciate this point. HOWEVER, why is it the AP felt the need to clip the quotation marks at the word "ideology" when clearly…Bush said, "...ideology of the terrorists"....?

The Angry Liberal is correct. The official transcript of the statement as it appears on the White House website (link) reads as follows:
In great numbers, and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy. By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government.

Does this matter? The Angry Liberal thinks so.
Yes, it's a big difference. Why? Because Bush and his administration continue to try to link our Iraq presence with 9-11, i.e. terrorists. Note he did not state Iraqis "firmly rejected the antidemocratic ideology of Saddam Hussein." It's subtle but it speaks volumes to how Bush/Cheney have tried to change the original message of why we invaded Iraq in the first place. When was the last time you heard any Republican mention WMD? Remember when this was all we heard? Yet, they now wish for us to assume & believe that terrorists were 1) in Iraq all along (false), and 2) that's indeed why we invaded (false again).

The Angry Liberal has a valid point: As this AP report is picked up by news outlets worldwide "this slight -- but big -- misrepresentation is all anyone will see and they'll assume he perhaps did not state "terrorists" exactly, as it is not within quotation marks."

Anybody care to speculate about why the Associated Press bothered to move the close quotation mark to the left?

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