“Wild speculation” is not the same as “false”

According to CNN, President Bush said that reports that his administration has considered nuclear strikes against Iraq are “wild speculation”.

“And by the way, I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend. It was just wild speculation, by the way. What you’re reading is wild speculation. Which is, kind of a — you know, happens quite frequently here in the nation’s capital.

I have been around press offices long enough to know when someone is choosing their words carefully.  When a government calls says that a press report of a new policy is “speculation”, it means they are still considering it. If they were not considering a nuclear strike, or had ruled it out, they would say it is “false”.

4 thoughts on ““Wild speculation” is not the same as “false””

  1. Another slippery not-denial when governments want to discourage reports of some forthcoming villainy is to say "We have no plans for nuking Teheran" (or doubling the rate of income tax or abolishing the National Health Service, or whatever).  When they say they have no plans for something, you may be sure that in fact they do have the plans denied, but that they haven’t yet quite plucked up the courage to put them into operation. 

  2. Touchez, this administration has masterd the spin-cycle.  The fearful side of me thinks they could just say anything and Congress and the country would just go along.  

  3. I think that Brian for once is slightly wrong.  When they say that they have no plans they mean it quite literally, that they are considering the notion favourably but have not got round to putting it all down on paper.  I don’t always blame the politicians, asked what they are going go do before they have had reasonable time to decide, and when some typist has sent to the Daily Mail  a copy of a somewhat tentative minute.  And I certainly do not envy them when five minutes after some dreadful tragedy some BBC idiot asks them what they are going to do "so that this can never happen again".   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *