the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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Pointless quoting

Ignoring the sad content of the story, I often find myself wondering why the BBC (amongst others) has to quote everything:

The family of a British man executed in China for drug smuggling has expressed "outrage and shock" at the legal proceedings that resulted in his death.

Why put "outrage and shock" in quotes? Presumably the family said something along the lines of "we wish to express our outrage and shock," or "we're outraged and shocked," both cases in which the BBC could fairly say that the family expressed their outrage and shock, no quotes needed.

One more:

In a statement, his family said China's officials had "made a mockery of appeals for clemency" and ignored pleas for a mental health assessment.

If the family made the statement, then one can safely assert that the family said that China's officials made a mockery of appeals for clemency. Again, why the quotes?

It's as if the BBC is resorting to quotes to suggest that someone really-really did say something that they (the BBC) are too scared to come right out and say was said, either for fear of disbelief or fear of being perceived as being supportive of the comments. Either way, the only term I can think of to describe the quoting is... chickenshittish.

{2009.12.30 - 17:43}


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