For the Record, What "Off the Record" Means

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
June 22 1999 7:47 PM

For the Record, What "Off the Record" Means

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Postie No. 4: "Means you can't quote me. No, I don't remember ... You can't attribute, but you can use it? No, I take that back. If someone says 'off the record,' you can't use it at all."

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Postie No. 5: "Nowadays, off the record means--usually it comes in the middle of the interview, and somebody says, 'Can we go off the record?' and you say yes or no." According to this person, if the reporter says yes, then the rules are the same as in "not for attribution."

[Update, 6/23: The Sherburne deposition is posted on Judicial Watch's Web site now, and it does accuse Woodward of misusing her off-the-record interview. Score one for Drudge. Also score one for Chatterbox: From Sherburne's account of the matter (scroll down to pp. 58-89), it seems that Sherburne and Woodward didn't have the same understanding of what "off the record" meant. In this instance, Sherburne seemed to think it meant "don't use at all," while Woodward seemed to think it meant "use if you can get from another source."]