WTF?

Samantha Power, whom I greatly admire, made the stupid mistake of calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.” No doubt this was extremely careless of Ms. Power. But here’s the part that really confuses me: The Scotsman, the newspaper to which Samantha Power made her slip up, printed this quote:

“She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark. (Full story here.)

Is it just me or did you also think that when an interview subject says “that is off the record” it means that the reporter isn’t supposed to use the quote. Right?

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

9 responses to “WTF?

  1. There’s no such thing as off the record, something Ms. Power knows better than anybody, having written for U.S. News and World Report, and the Boston Globe. It wasn’t a slip up from The Scotsman, off the record is only as good as the reporter who decided what to print once the interview has started. Thank goodness this one didn’t, giving us a glimpse into a cabinet of the Barack Obama White House.

  2. Max Strasser

    Scott, I think it would be a stretch to say that there is no such thing as off the record. It is a pretty commonly accepted concept in the world of journalism. (See NYU J-schools’ ethics book here: http://journalism.nyu.edu/ethics/handbook/human-sources/#10)

    Like I wrote before, Power made a mistake. No doubt about it. If she wanted an off the record conversation she should have said so before she called Hillary a monster.

    But I don’t think that this says anything important about the possible Obama White House. Samantha Power is a brilliant scholar with a deep commitment to human rights and peace. Her words on Hillary reflect the intense emotions that I’m sure people in both campaigns are feeling right now. Little more than that, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Claude

    True, there is the concept of off the record in jurnalism. But in this case, the reports I’ve read say that before the interview started, it was agreed that it would be an “on the record” interview. Those were the groundrules set up. Ms. Power (or anyone agreeing to an interview under those conditions) can’t just change the rules in the middle of the game and pick and choose what is on the record or what is off the record. Sorry, Samantha.

  4. Mary Hickey

    >>Is it just me or did you also think that when an interview subject says “that is off the record” it means that the reporter isn’t supposed to use the quote. Right?>>>

    Wrong. When you want a conversation to be off the record, you state that clearly BEFORE you talk to a reporter or make an off-the-record comment during an interview—and make sure the reporter agrees. This was sloppy on Samathan Power’s part, but a really cheap story on the reporter’s part. This whole campaign seems to be bringing out the ugly in everyone.

    Your Mom, professor of journalism

  5. Max Strasser

    Alright. Point taken. Samantha Power should not have said that and if she wanted the interview to be off the record she should have stated that before. Regardless, I think this whole thing is a little ridiculous. Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson could just as easily have said the same thing about Obama–and would, too!

  6. Pingback: Hillary Clinton, Monster… I’m with Samantha Power on this one…

  7. Claude

    Max Strasser says: “Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson could just as easily have said the same thing about Obama”.

    But, they didn’t!!! And that is why Clinton and her team deserve to be in the White House. They have the years of experience necessary to avoid such gaffes.

  8. Max Strasser

    I agree, Claude, that the Hillary people run a tight ship and know how to avoid gaffes. Mark Penn or Howard Wolfson would probably have phrased it in an equally ugly, but slicker way.

  9. Fredje

    If Obama wins Samantha will be back. The reporter was within her rights by the rules of the biz, but it was optional. Cheap story and the worst of gotcha tactics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s