Being Misquoted

I have been misquoted in the press.

And I hate it.

It is one of the most unpleasant experiences that I have ever had. 

You have to explain to everyone that you did not mean to call them "stupid" or some other painful thing.

And you have no good way of taking the misquote back.  Sure you can ask for a retraction, but we all know that is a lot of work for fairly little value when the damage has already been done.

So one of the things I love about blogging is the fact that I can recheck my words, edit them myself, and if I don’t like the way it came out, I can re-edit the post after it goes up.  I can be my own editor and there is nobody between me and the audience to mess it up.  And if it is messed up, its entirely my fault.

I like that so much that recently when a journalist called me to talk about VCs and blogging, I asked her if she could just read my blog and take quotes from there so that I did not have to talk to her. She said she couldn’t do that.  That’s too bad because it seemed like a great solution to me.

Yesterday, John Batelle felt that Saul Hansell misquoted him in a New York Times piece on Google’s new graphical ad program.  John had a new outlet to share his pain, his blog.  But an interesting thing happened.  Saul came and read John’s words and then commented on them

That’s progress on two fronts.  First, John can reach a sizeable audience with his own words to be clear about what he thinks about Google’s new program.  He doesn’t have to rely entirely on Saul to get them out to the market.  In fact, I didn’t read Saul’s piece, but I did read John’s post.

But also, there is a conversation happening about what John really meant.  And its a good one, without a lot of anger and hostility, and its up on the web for everyone to see.

That’s progress.

But I’d still prefer that journalists read my blog and quote from it instead of getting me on the phone and subjecting me to the risk of a misquote.  I guess that’s too much change to hope for.