Social Question

flo's avatar

What is the point of off the record interview with media?

Asked by flo (11140points) August 1st, 2017

What is the point of asking or accepting off the record interview by media esp. with public officials?
For example:
https://tinyurl.com/y8qxruhj (Washington Post /Scaramucci/New Yorker

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46 Answers

kritiper's avatar

It’s not an official statement. Some candid comments that may or may not have bearing may be included.

flo's avatar

But what is the point of it if the interviewee is against being quoted?

Soubresaut's avatar

I would imagine that an off the record interview can provide the journalist with useful context for a given subject/topic, even if the journalist must then abide by their promise to not divulge particular off-the-record details. It would probably help a journalist know whether they’re approaching an article with an accurate/appropriate angle, or perhaps help a journalist know where next to investigate, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

Sometimes a journalists agrees to off the record because it will build report and show trust. Eventually, the person being interviewed might say it’s ok to release the information.

Also, if a reporter has information that will screw up an investigation the reporter might be told off the record that their information is heading down a path that will be counterproductive to the public good.

Barbara Walters has told stories about knowing information and keeping it to herself, because she was told it off the record. Things that eventually came to light. She was trusted, and that’s important in the reporter business.

flo's avatar

Thanks all.
As an aside, Is it necessary to indicate what the swear words were? How about stick to the word “expletive”?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It depends on the audience as to whether you keep the swear words or replace them with something less harsh.

kritiper's avatar

The point is that, if off the record, it is no more than heresy. An unofficial opinion of the person speaking, not a accepted or acceptable stance by anyone or any other entity other than the person opining.
“Expletive” means some unacceptable word was used, but it doesn’t convey enough verbal flavor by itself.

rebbel's avatar

You won’t see many “off the record” interviews televised, for obvious reasons.

Zaku's avatar

The point is to get information even when the source is not willing to go on public record as having said it.

examples:

* The reporter may be wanting to gain information, either “deep background” to understand things they won’t report in direct detail about, or confirmation of information from other sources, or to debunk a rumor so they don’t mis-report something, or whatever.

* A source has inside information that would have negative effects on the source (e.g. scandal, get them fired/divorced, or worse) if they publicly made a statement about it, but they have moral reasons for wanting the public to know the information.

* A source has inside information that they aren’t allowed to publicly discuss, but giving some confidential off-the-record information to a reporter may tend to have a positive effect on what the reporter publishes (e.g. because it will inform their perspective).

* A source might have reasons not to be cited, but has information that will lead the reporter to other research and/or sources who may be willing to be cited.

@kritiper heresy is a religious issue; hearsay is when a piece of information’s basis is one merely heard someone say something.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Purely informational.

kritiper's avatar

@Zaku Thanks, but “heresay” is not in the dictionary. Check the other meanings and you’ll find my use of ‘heresy’ fits. Even here, the word gets underlined in red for being incorrect.
“heresy… 2. An opinion held in opposition to the commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote division or dissention.” -from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1960 ed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hearsay… not flagged for me. Hear-say.

Heresy is mostly religious. People get burned at the stake for questioning God and stuff.

Dutchess_III's avatar

To me hear-say (hearsay) is like “Monkey see, monkey do.”

janbb's avatar

^ That’s not what it means. It means a third party report of a conversation between two other people and is not admissable evidence in court.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One person removed ftom the actual event repeats something the person in the actual event supposedly said and it’s not admissable because the first person is not presenting first hand knowledge.
The first person says “We’ll I heard that…..”

Hearsay.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was trying to explain to @kritiper that it’s not HEREsay. It’s HEARsay. Just trying to make a connection that will stick.

Zaku's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, that’s what I was saying too. Here’s hearsay in the dictionary.

Dutchess_III's avatar

From you link: “evidence based not on a witness’s personal knowledge but on another’s statement not made under oath”

kritiper's avatar

My bad! Whenever I heard the word, in my mind I spelled it as “heresay.” I never thought of it being spelled “hearsay.”
Please read the aforementioned comment, which used the incorrect term, as “hearsay.”
But the definition in which is was meant still applies.
Here’s an example: ‘People tend to think it is legal to make a U-turn while driving down a city street.’ That’s hearsay.

kritiper's avatar

I’m addressing all, not just you, @Dutchess III. Thanks for your understanding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No “Most people” might be construed as hearsay, but more like rumor. Heresay is more common as in “We’ll the police told me…..”
That isn’t admissible unless the officer who told him that is in court and available to testify.

kritiper's avatar

Almost everybody in this state would assume that, since there wasn’t a sign that said you couldn’t, that U-turn must be legal. And everybody might say so. But the law says that U-turns are only legal when there is a sign that say’s it’s OK. So what one who thinks it’s OK is believing in hearsay, because that’s what everybody else says or does.
So in the question as to what a person might say as “off the record” would be to say, in this instance, “I think the U-turn is legal although my compatriots may think otherwise.” The individual speaking does not mean to speak for his group as a whole. It is his opinion and his alone, any thought of it being the group’s is hearsay. That’s what the cop who I talked to called it.
If a man and woman are getting a divorce and the man says one thing in court and the woman says another, the court throws both testimonies out because both testimonies are considered hearsay. (He said/she said.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

In the case of the Uturn state law would prevail.
In a “He said she said” situation yes it all would be tossed unless someone can provide a 3rd party witness to verify a story.

rojo's avatar

My opinion. An OTR interview says there is some shit going down that ain’t right.

I can’t tell you what it is without compromising myself but I can give you some info that you can dig into and find out some things that others would rather you not know about; so here it is, now the ball in in your court. Run with it.

flo's avatar

How did the word heresy come into this conversation? Different spelling different meaning.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Heresy @flo is super easy to confuse with hearsay, or, in one’s mind, with heresay. I’ve done it myself. Do you know the difference between them?

flo's avatar

@kritiper the definition doesn’t fit. Google underlines it as incorrect spelling of herarsay It’s wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@flo People who read a lot, and read with comprehension, and read quickly, tend to transpose letters of unfamiliar words quickly into something they are more familiar with, and it tends to stick with them until someone points it out. They are also less likely to catch mistakes, such as a word printed twice. Their brains quickly and automatically discard the second word as redundant, while the rest of the brain focuses on the overall meaning of the text.
It’s a bane of good readers.

There is no such word as herarsay. Or heresay.

He meant “heresay.” See?

Soubresaut's avatar

@Dutchess_III I see what you did there at the end. ;)

flo's avatar

@kritiper Excuse me, I mean If Google underlines it as a mispelling, it’s wrong. It is not a misspelling of the word hearsay.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! But it’s true @Soubresaut! Good readers “screw up” more than bad readers, but we do it without missing out on the overall context.
Bad readers read very slowly and may pick out certain errors, but that distracts from overall comprehension.
I’ve been reading since pre-K, and two words I come across often still throw me. One is “Colonel” I was so mortified the first time I tried to use it in a spoken sentence, having never heard it said before, and pronounced it wrong. I was about 7.
The other is “Uniformed.” I always see “Uninformed.” That’s a difference of only 1 letter, but that’s what I see. I have to chuckle because I probably picked that up in the 60’s and 70’s and did it deliberately. I don’t have to go back and double check. I just take it for its meaning within the context.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I read too fast, for sure. I read just about everything that has writing that my eyes fall on. I often read bill board signs, at a glance. And about 5% of time I go, “Whoa! WHAT???” I have have to glance at it again. “Oh. That said, “Sects,” not “Sex.”
Yeah, it’s always “dirty” stuff I imagine I’m reading, but since it’s out of context I have to correct.

flo's avatar

1) Heresy and hearsay are pronounced differently, they just happen to have 4 consonants in common.
2) Heresy has 3 syllables hearsay has 2.

I wasn’t making a big deal about a spelling error but just pointing out that the search results say that Heresy is a misspelling of hearsay, and that they are wrong in my opinion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They are pronounced differently. That wasn’t my point. When reading them, they’re really damn close, only 1 letter difference, and it’s easy to misread when you’re reading fast, especially if you’re seeing the words for the first time or don’t come across them often.
“Heresy” is NOT a misspelling of “hearsay.” They are both valid, correctly spelled words.

However, “herarsay”, is a nonsense word you spelled here. It is wrong, and it does suggest “hearsay” as the correct word.

Write “heresy” again. It is not underlined as incorrect.

flo's avatar

I made a spelling error here: (permalink) (not at the other places I hope )
https://www.fluther.com/202593/what-is-the-point-of-off-the-record-interview-with-media/#quip3397519 however that doesn’t address my point. I wasn’t addressing you @

Dutchess_III's avatar

Who, exactly is @? It it’s me, it doesn’t matter who you’re addressing. I’m giving you an explanation of the differences, and how they can be misconstrued, especially when reading, between heresy and hearsay.

Out of the blue you brought in “herarsay” for some comparison. That is not a comparison for either of the words in question.

flo's avatar

”@Flo it must be a typo you made here”

Dutchess_III's avatar

It it was a typo, it was your typo. I just repeated it. ”I wasn’t addressing you @.”
See the last line in the post above mine. here

janbb's avatar

(Oy – I am so confused!)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know! I don’t know why I keep responding! Something to do, I guess, waiting to get loaded up and GO! Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?Arewethereyet?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I have a headache !

Stinley's avatar

[Mod says] moved to Social

Dutchess_III's avatar

[Moved on the record or off the record, Mod?]

Stinley's avatar

No comment

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