Friday, December 01, 2006

The Quotable Quotes of Mr. Administration Official Sr.

Confidentiality in news reporting has a time and place (say I, The Good Reverend). But when official political spokesmen ask for it from the podium during official press briefings, it can create absurdities. Wonkette was quick to discover that, when White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and Counselor Dan Bartlett stopped taking questions in the middle of a briefing and two "senior administration officials" started speaking, it signified not an actual cast change in the press room but a transformation of named sources into unnamed ones in a particularly transparent maneuver. Even Snow himself acknowledged the humor in this ruse at another briefing "on background":
MR. SNOW: Greetings. Welcome to Amman. First, I am joined by my close personal friend, Senior Administration Official, for a background briefing on the President’s dinner with the King of Jordan. So let me introduce to one and all, Senior Administration Official, to give you a readout and then answer your questions.

Link (via Wonkette). Even the Secretary of State's attempt at background briefing was thwarted by a pesky gender-specific third-person pronoun:
In the New York Times' latest report on Bush's meeting this morning with Maliki, reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg passes along quotes from a "senior administration official" who attended the meeting. Stolberg says the official was "granted anonymity" to discuss the meeting -- but then refers to the official as a "she." So far as we know, neither Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, nor Education Secretary Margaret Spellings nor Transportation Secretary Mary Peters made the trip to Jordan. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did.
Link. Where's a po or a hu when you need it?

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