Friday, October 14, 2011

Gripe of the Week: Misquote from my Favorite Actor Alexander Skarsgård

   Okay folks, here is the original quote from Out magazine's October issue which interviews my favorite actor Alexander Skarsgård

   Skarsgård: When you're bored, just have sex.

  And here is how that got interpreted in other media outlets specifically the headline for The Superficial.com: When I'm bored I have sex. 

   First, if you read the whole article, it's obvious the comment is made in jest. Second, it takes on a whole new meaning when you say it the way the other media said it. Let me just opine that unfortunately, the misquoted version sounds more salacious, which is why they're saying it that way -- and now he will never live that one down. The point isn't so much about the sexy comment, the point is the responsibility of the media to at least get it right and in context. Maybe he does or doesn't have sex when he's bored, and so what anyway? Sounds like a great way to pass the time to me. It's just the yellow journalism that annoys me as a professional writer. I think if you're going to write anything and use a quote from another source, please at least take the time to get it right. I only noticed this because I did read the article and when I saw the other headlines, I kept thinking, "That's NOT what he said." 

   And believe me when I suggest I do know what I'm talking about. I worked on a magazine for 10 years and did a lot of freelance work. I went out of my way to ensure I recorded my interviews and quoted people correctly. Because over the years, I too have been interviewed in dozens of print and broadcast media, and only a handful of times have they misquoted me, but when they did, it really bugged me. I think as writers and journalists, it's our jobs to get it right. And it's our jobs not take a single quote and twist it just slightly to get mileage out of it for whatever salacious purpose. This little misinterpretation of a throw-away comment is not big deal in the scheme of things, but it is a big deal when it's a serious news story. 

   And there my Friend-Os is my soapbox gripe for the evening.

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