October 24, 2008, - 11:48 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Occasionally in the liberal mainstream media, you’ll see a quote in which someone using ebonics or some other incorrect form of grammar and speech is quoted word for word.
It used to be a pet peeve of mine. I used to think that if a reporter quotes someone in a news story as saying, for example, “He do it,” instead of “He did it”, that showed that the reporter was racist and mocking the uneducated person he was quoting, usually a minority. I thought the only person who should be quoted that way is the guy from the ephemeral XFL, “He Hate Me”, since it was on his jersey.
But I long ago changed my mind on this. Accuracy is important. And a reporter quoting improper English as it was uttered by the utterer is, in fact, accuracy. We get to read or hear what the person actually said in a news story and not what a liberal, agenda-laden reporter wants us to think they said.
What Do They Have in Common? . . .
That brings me to Michael Hiestand, the “Sports on TV” columnist for USA Today. Last Sunday, I was watching “FOX NFL Sunday”, and I heard Terry Bradshaw–whom I like, as I find him funny and entertaining–utter one of the sayings that is another thing that gets on my nerves. In talking about the NFL raising the face value of Superbowl tickets to $1,000, he said, “They could care less” about fans.
But that’s improper. It’s not good English. The correct phrase is, “They couldn’t care less”, or “they could NOT care less”. If they could care less, that makes the opposite of your point. It means that they do care a little bit–that they care more than the least amount they could care.
But I didn’t think anything of it because, hey, it’s a football show AND it’s Terry Bradshaw. We know he didn’t get into college because of his Einsteinian mind. We know he’s a football legend, not a rocket scientist (or as Terry might say, a “rocket surgeon”). And in any event, it’s hardly his biggest offense–his biggest offense would likely be his naked butt on my movie screen in a really bad movie, “Failure to Launch“, the awful vision of which I still can’t erase from my mind.
But, then, Monday came around. And I read Michael Hiestand’s “Keeping Score” column in USA Today. In it, he doctored, er . . . “polished” Terry Bradshaw’s quote to read correctly: “They couldn’t care less.” But that’s not what Terry said. He clearly said, “They could care less”. Cleaning it up for Terry isn’t journalism. It’s changing what was actually said, and it isn’t accurate reporting.
Yes, I know, it’s only a football pre-game show, produced by the talented (and very nice) Scott Ackerson. But I’m not nitpicking here–the problem is that this doesn’t just happen on the sports pages. It happens on your news pages. Liberal mainstream media reporters change what was said to make their favored candidates and other subjects of news stories look better. They “polish” the quotes. That’s fraudulent journalism, and it’s unethical. But it goes on all the time, and it’s yet another reason you can’t believe what you read and what’s “reported.”
They did this with Michelle Hussein Obama when she said she’d never been proud of America before her husband looked like he’d become President. Mainstream media accounts added the word “really,” as in “I’ve never been really proud of my country before Barack . . . .”, as if she’d been proud before but not “really” proud. But that’s not what she said, just like we were given a sanitized, cleaned-up version of what Terry Bradshaw said. They–the mainstream media reporters–tried to doctor it for her, but fortunately, online video didn’t lie like they did.
Michael Hiestand should have quoted Terry Bradshaw, thus:
“Do you think this league cares whether fans have to pay for something overpriced in a bad economy? They could care less [sic].”
The latin “sic” term is used–or, at least, used to be–by reporters to denote improper English or an error in speech.
Sadly, instead of that, these days, liberal reporters just change the quote to make their buddies and friends look better.
I e-mailed Hiestand, asking him about this. But, predictably, he didn’t respond:
I have a question regarding your Sports on TV column, today. You quote Terry Bradshaw as saying “They couldn’t care less,” when actually he uttered the incorrect, “They could care less.” Why did you correct his improper English and inaccurately quote him, instead of using his exact quote and the “[sic]” notation?
I like Michael Hiestand. His column and writing are always interesting and entertaining.
And he’s not the first mainstream media journalist to doctor quotes for grammar, and in the case of far too many other reporters, an agenda.
That’s the problem.