Newt Gingrich somehow got a different message from the president. He tweeted:
Just what was this CNN guy talking about? Watching the video of Obama’s statement, there’s no mistaking that he never referenced “courtesy.” The former House speaker later figured out that he’d mistweeted:
Gingrich deserves a bit of credit for correcting himself, but only a bit. What Gingrich appears to have used to accuse the president of commending the “courtesy” of U.S. fighter pilots was not actually a transcript, as he claims in his correction tweet. Instead, it looks like the closed captioning of the Obama statement. Here’s how it reads, straight from the C-SPAN site:
IN SYRIA AND TODAY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GIVE THANKS FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY SERVICES OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM, INCLUDING THE PILOTS THAT FLEW THESE MISSIONS WITH THE COURTESY AND PROFESSIONALISM THAT WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT FROM THE FINEST MILITARY THE WORLD IS EVER KNOWN.
Closed captioning fails in bold. As anyone who’s ever attended a loud sports bar can attest, closed captioning provides approximate and often erroneous read-outs of what’s being said on air. The failures sometimes amuse:
Howard Mortman, C-SPAN’s spokesman, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that he tells reporters that “you can use closed captioning as a guide but never copy and paste it. Always check it against the video.” Unless, of course, it’s just too good to check.