October 24, 2008, - 11:48 am

Terry Bradshaw, “They Could Care Less”, “He Do It Right” & The Liberal Media’s Quote-“Polishing”

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? . . .

Terry Bradshaw, He Hate Me & Michelle Hussein Obama

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?
Debbie Schlussel

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.

17 Responses

I always took “They could care less” to be implied sarcasm–such as when someone tells you that they’re going to report something you did, you can either say “I’m not worried,” or, “Oh, I’m WORRIED,” and mean the same thing with either statement.

JoeChill on October 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I’ve always thought the exact same thing when someone said that. It makes no sense if you actually think about it, which kind of freaks me out because I don’t think that anyone does really think about what they’re saying, which is why I think that cliche can be dangerous. You just rattle things off without even thinking about the true meaning of the words.

Robert H. on October 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I have to correct someone using this phrase. I often find that it is the same people that mistake “they’re” for their.

Yiddish Steel on October 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Simply put, “sic” is used to denote that what is there is meant to be there despite it looking incorrect. I could use it this way:
“Biden stated that when Hitler invaded Prussia [sic], world war was inevitable.”
A reader may think that Biden was misquoted or that the writer has included a typo (using Prussia for Russia). The “sic” signifies that what is there is in the original and it is not an error and it has not been added by the writer.

bleechers on October 24, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Wow….I used to say “I could care less”. Looks like the death busters got me for years. But my father has corrected me.

Squirrel3D on October 24, 2008 at 4:02 pm

I don’t know who’s rear you saw, but the one I viewed was more than adequate. Having said that, the frame was not frozen in order to enlarge the picture. The movie was watched in context. Bradshaw is handsome and hilarious. The humor infers intelligence which is no doubt there in abundance. Bradshaw is another victim of the press, and the press is our enemy.

iowavette on October 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Because of all the politicking, the sociologizing (think Mike Lupica and Selena Roberts) and the tendency of certain sportswriters and fans who who write about or root for certain teams to have a sense of entitlement – I am finding sports increasingly irrelevant and not very fun to watch any more. The World Series is not even over and already the New York sportswriters are playing the game of “What great players shall we poach from other teams”?

Ripper on October 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm

And of course with Michelle it is more than correcting English; it is distorting and weakening the meaning of her subversive comments. That’s really worse than what was done with Bradshaw, where just the wording of an idiom was corrected.
One thing though — most of the readers of these publications are so illiterate themselves that they wouldn’t know the difference w/Bradshaw.
It kind of gives you the feel of what a totalitarian press is like; ideology comes ahead of news. Things are certainly moving quickly in that direction.

c f on October 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Since you’re into journalistic correctness–Michelle Hussein Obama–wtf???
According to Wikipedia, her middle name is LaVaughn (nÈe Robinson)…so by ALSO calling her “Hussein Obama” you’re being UBER-racist!

EminemsRevenge on October 24, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Debbie, regarding Michelle Hussein’s statement that she is “really” proud of her country: she actually used the same speech on at least 2 different occasions. In one recording, she can be heard saying, “for the first time, I am proud of my country”. In the second recording, she DOES insert, “I am ‘really’ proud of my country”.
Vannity has played both recordings numerous times on his show and I have heard them with my own ears. I just wanted to clarify that since you were under the impression that the word “really” was edited into her statement.

ProudIslamophobe on October 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm

If I remember correctly Debbie, I think you are wrong about the Michelle Obama quote. I believe there were two occasions when she made the offending remark. One where she used the word “really” and another where she didn’t use it. Ok, I should have said half right. It really did bug me to hear people quote it that way when there was the other quote out there where she didn’t use the word. It allowed the so-called “mainstream media” to muddy the waters on the issue.

metal321 on October 25, 2008 at 12:25 am

I don’t care what Michelle Obama is called, as long as she is never called “first lady”.

Ron Taylor on October 25, 2008 at 2:00 am

Our sides “October Surprise” – George W should endorse Obama. I mean imagine…what kind of chaos would that cause?

Ripper on October 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

I recall the first time as a little league baseball player, a coach restated the “I could care less!” phrase emphatically several times. I was puzzled–but I heard someone else use it soon thereafter and so I plugged it into my own vocabulary. It had a neat sound–though incorrect grammatically. Now I do the Bradshaw thing unless I really am careful about my words.
Another one you hear is “irregardless” for “regardless”–the former seeming to be nonsensical–still I hear it all the time even in the media. The dictionaries I have checked list both as words. Hmmmm???
I think that the ebonics crowd is cursed with this passing on of improper words generationally. Pronunciations such as: ‘aksed” and ‘to be pacific’ (the latter is equally used by anglos as by blacks) or spoda (supposed to) sound so ignorant. I have found that if I have ever dared to correct these–it never changes a thing–and invites anger. Why is that?
Many words have made their way into the english language from popular misuse–the king’s English is now grown passe. How about the ever popular “that’s a whole nuther …. ” for “another entirely different …”?? aghhh.
Though I know it’s wrong—I can’t stop saying it!!!

BB on October 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

This is off topic, but I’m burning mad….at this:
” Tragic Flaw
John McCain, man.
By Kathleen Parker
My husband called it first. Then, a brilliant, 75-year-old scholar and raconteur confessed to me over wine: ëI’m sexually attracted to her. I don’t care that she knows nothing.í ” ”
With, or without, reservations about Palin….I hope Debbie denouces Kathleen Parker. The gist of Parker’s anti-Palin argument, above, is that after drinking with a 75 year old man at lunch, and Parker’s husband’s confessions….Kathleen Parker is certain that the major reason Palin isn’t qualified is because Palin’s too pretty, and men in Parker’s life fantasize about Palin.
Isn’t that traumatic !!!!
Nevermind that Palin has more executive experience than Obama, nevermind that Palin was the only one willing to mention Ayers…(even before McCain did), nevermind that Palin’s views are more conservative than both McCain and Kathleen Parker put together…… oh no….men find her attractive, so she’s not qualified, according to Kathleen Parker.
If Kathleen Parker’s marriage is threatened, I don’t see how comparing Gov. Palin to Monica Lewinsky (which is exactly what Kathleen Parker does in the article)……is going to fix it.
You know, I can understand not liking Palin because of mistakes she’s made on the campaign trail. You may have a problem with ‘Tasergate’ or the Trooper scandal (which I think has been politically motivated). Heck, spending 150,000.00 on clothes wasn’t the shrewdest thing, even though, as I stated way before it blew out of proportion….. it wasn’t taxpayer, nor campaign money (private RNC donations…the same donations that paid for Nancy Reagan’s hairdesser to ride aboard Airforce One….and nobody had a problem with it back then !)
BUT…..to say Palin isn’t qualified because she’s much too sexually attractive to men, including Kathleen Parker’s husband……
MEMO TO KATHLEEN PARKER: Stop blaming Sarah Palin for your marriage woes, and maybe…stop having drinking lunches with 75 year-old-men, who aren’t your husband !!!!
Good Grief. Parker has proved herself to be the biggest loon we’ve seen yet. Her attempts to undermine a Republican candidacy are pathetic. And, as I’ve stated over and over again—-Kathleen Parker is not a Conservative !!!!!

Maxine Weiss on October 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm

“He Hate Me” still one of the funniest stunts in sports history. I still laugh whenever it is brought up. Always brought up and never forgotten.

californiascreaming on October 25, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Michael Hiestand should have quoted Terry Bradshaw thusly:
Wait a minute. Is “thusly” correct? Shouldn’t it simply be “thus”?

stevecanuck on October 26, 2008 at 1:11 am

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