Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Does 'misspeak' mean lying? (BBC)

An interesting article from the BBC magazine about whether "misspeak" means lying or just just being misinterpreted or unclear speech.

This follows on from Hilary Clinton making a speech referring to a visit to Bosnia in 1996 and afterwards being caught out by video footage which seemed to give a different version of events than Hilary herself gave.

Hilary's version

"Her initial version of events was that her plane landed under fire and she had to duck and run to her vehicle."
-BBC Article, Does 'misspeak' mean lying?

News footage version
"But television footage shows her disembarking with a smile, waving to the crowd and strolling across the tarmac to greet a little girl who read her a poem."
-BBC Article, Does 'misspeak' mean lying?
I can see how easily you would mix up the two visits.

Anyway the debate is that misspeak can mean lying or misinterpreted, so her use of the word is very ambiguous. IS she just avoiding political suicide by not owning up and saying she was lying.

The article suggests that if pressed about whether she actually lied, then she can admit to lying and say she never tried to deny it, even though she hasn't really said outright that she lied.

There are some other examples of 'misspeak' especially by other politicians including George W Bush and his famous enemies speech.

"They [our enemies] never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people - and neither do we."
- George W. Bush 2005 (BBC Article, Does 'misspeak' mean lying?)

Pilchard! (sorry PG-13 insults)

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