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Accuracy of transcript questioned

Editor and Publisher has a story (White House Stands by ‘Not Accurate’ Quote in Dispute By Joe Strupp, November 09, 2005) about different transcripts of a White House press briefing. The official White House transcript (Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, October 31, 2005) and the transcripts by two commercial transcript companies (Congressional Quarterly and Federal News Service) differ dramatically.

The dispute is over what McClellan said in response to this comment from a reporter:

“Whether there’s a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.”

White House transcript: “I don’t think that’s accurate.”

CQ and FNS transcript: “that’s accurate.”

There is a video excerpt here and a complete video here (disputed quote is about five and a half minutes in).

Whichever transcript is accurate, we have an authentic record of what the White House says McClellan said. We also, because we have video, have an authentic recording of what he said so that we can make up our own minds. It is essential that we maintain having full, complete, and fully-functional digital government information like this in the future.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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