<< Mr. Nicey Has Goodies for You | Main | Prop. 57 and Those "Nonviolent Offenders" >>


A Misquote on BBC News

| 0 Comments
Reporters often wrongly paraphrase what I say and sometimes quote out of context, but it's rare that the words inside the quote marks are wrong.  One of those rare misquotes appears on BBC News today, with essential words left out:

"Anyone who says the death penalty has no deterrent effect either doesn't know what they are talking about or are lying," says Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which has supported death penalty cases throughout the country.

"The debate over studies supporting its deterrent effect is whether they have sufficiently shown it."

What I actually said was "Anyone who says it has been definitively proved that the death penalty has no deterrent effect either doesn't know what they are talking about or are lying."

Big difference.  Many people believe the death penalty does not deter.  On the present state of the evidence, they are entitled to their opinion.  What they are not entitled to say on the present state of the evidence is that their opinion is a conclusively proved fact, but misinformed or dishonest people often say that.  I would never say that the evidence definitively proves that the death penalty does deter, but the Beeb quotes me as saying just that.

I have sent in a request for a correction.

Update:  The quote has been corrected.

Update 2:  The paragraph immediately before the quote says:

Both sides in the debate cite studies supporting respective claims about the death penalty achieving or not achieving deterrence - currently studies supporting the latter appear to have the upper hand.

The story provides no basis for the "upper hand" statement.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives