Monday, May 03, 2010

"Not Authorized to Speak"

Okay, it's Monday, I'm tired and grouchy, and it will probably be a long week. Why not capitalize on this perfect storm of grumpiness and complain about something that has bothered me for a long time: speakers who aren't supposed to. Speak, that is.

Over the weekend, a terrible tragedy was averted in New York's Times Square when an alert bystander notified police of a suspicious parked car that turned out to be loaded with homemade explosives, gasoline, and propane tanks - a car bomb that was neutralized by bomb experts before it could explode. The Washington Post reported the story yesterday on page A4 of the print edition under the title Times Square Shut Down.

Now, in that article there are two places where the writer quotes police or other officials. There are two phrases I want you to note:

1. "...The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said..."; and,

2. "...a Bloomberg (the mayor of New York) official told a Washington Post reporter shortly after 11p.m., speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly."

Riddle me this, Batman: what part of not authorized to didn't you understand? If you are not authorized to speak to the press, why are you doing it? Someone trusted you to maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion, and you are betraying that trust.

Shame on you.

Okay, now it's off my chest. I can go to my happy space now. Or at least, my a-little-less-grumpy space.

Have a good day. If you're not authorized to speak, why not consider not speaking? More thoughts tomorrow.



Jean-Luc Picard said...

I'm not authorised to disclose the contents of this Comment.

Bandit said...

Reminds me of Jr. Hi girls. "I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but guess what Sally told me. Now if I tell you, you cannot repeat this.....Oh I won' know I won't

Mike said...

I know what Picard was going to tell you but I can't tell you.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Hey, You know what...

Wait...I can't tell you.

Bilbo said...

I guess I should have seen those comments coming...