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Obama Adviser Resigns Because of 'Off the Record' Gaffe

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Stone Cane, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    We've talked about this a lot -- if somebody says something is off the record after saying it, we have every right to use it. Many of us opt not to if we're dealing with a trusted source.

    But this dude went with it & good for him.

    Although some expert is quoted in the story as saying he thinks it was inappropriate to use the remark. i disagree.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/03/08/ST2008030800063.html

    How does a Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author manage to blow up her brief political consulting career over the use of the phrase "off the record"?

    Samantha Power resigned as a foreign-policy adviser to Barack Obama yesterday, hours after the Scotsman newspaper quoted her as making a disparaging remark about Hillary Clinton -- although, immediately after uttering the comment, she asked the reporter not to use it. As the story recounted:

    " 'She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything,' Ms. Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark."

    Technically, any agreement to put comments off the record -- meaning they can't be reported -- must be worked out in advance between journalist and source. But many reporters say it is common to grant such requests if they are made right after an inflammatory remark.

    Reached in Edinburgh, Mike Gilson, the Scotsman's editor, said he did not think the paper had been unfair to Power. "This was clearly an on-the-record interview that was taped," he said.
     
  2. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    If a source says, "I can only tell you this if it's off the record," the reporter's a toolbag for using it.

    If a source says something inflammatory and then says, "it's off the record," the source sometimes is a toolbag. Though it depends on the source.

    But I have to have a damn good reason to go with something if a source follows up something like that with "off the record." Is being disingenuous enough? I don't know.
     
  3. I have a little leeway with people who don't know any better than to throw in "off the record."
    A Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-winner? No way. Unless we agreed beforehand, your ass is toast.
     
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I wouldn't have used it that way, but the reporter did nothing wrong...
     
  5. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    Hell, Hillary IS a monster.
     
  6. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    doesn't sound like there was a relationship between the source and the reporter beforehand. the harvard chick really blew it.

    that said, i don't know that i would've used it. to each his own. the reporter did nothing wrong. the harvard chick blew it.
     
  7. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    It depends on the meaning of "monster"
     
  8. Hammer Pants

    Hammer Pants Active Member

    If that's a 1-on-1 interview, there's no way I run that quote. If someone immediately tries to take something back, and you're the only reporter there, I think you should always let them take it back. I've done it before, and I'll do it again with no regrets.

    If other reporters are around, that's different.
     
  9. In most cases I do the same thing - though I'd give them a polite warning to please tell me ahead of time.

    But I don't fault the reporter for doing what he or she did here. Then again, is it really any surprise to someone that an adviser for one campaign was critical about another?
     
  10. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    I thought it was great they included the whole quote, including the part about --that is off the record -- so people could see for themselves how things transpired. So many people really don't know the rules for OTR, and maybe it takes a high profile thing like this to educate people.

    Personally, I might've given the woman a pass, since she said OTR immediately afterwards.

    But I don't think the reporter is wrong for using it. Jsut aggressive

    Interesting though, that the person who is hurt the most by this is Hillary. It's like a witness at trial blurting something really damaging out, but then the judge instructs the jury not to take it into consideration. but they've heard it. Much as they want to ignore it, they've heard it, and it makes some impact.
     
  11. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Thank you.
     
  12. gretchd

    gretchd Member

    How is the fact that someone in one camp said something nasty about the other candidate even news? Did we expect them to say something flattering and kind about her?
     
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