What Makes A Quote?


I received an interesting email from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a liberal pressure group, in the wake of last week’s “bipartisan health care summit”:

“President Obama gave Republicans one final chance, and the verdict is in: Bipartisanship is dead. It’s clear that no Republicans will vote for health care reform. So Senate Democrats should pass the highly popular public option through reconciliation. Starting tomorrow, we will ramp up our pressure on Senate Democrats to do the will of the people—and do what’s best for America’s health care system—by passing the public option into law.”

[Note: The link above is a substantive part of the quote, alleviating the need to spell out the poll numbers. If doing web reporting, we respectfully ask that you consider it part of the quote.]

I added the emphasis. A reporter who uses that quote should probably let her readers know that it’s making a legitimate claim—the public option is highly popular. But I’m not sure readers are used to assuming that links contained within quotes are “part of the quote.” I can’t remember encountering a similar situation before. At the very least, journalists who use the link as suggested should figure out a way to convey to readers that the link is part of the quote, and not an editorial addition on the part of the journalist.

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Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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