There is a new trend in the use of English language by the journalists. A text given in quotation marks used to represent the exact words of the person involved. Now take a look at the attached screenshots. BBC are claiming (twice) that Trump encouraged Russia to “hack” Clinton’s emails. “Hack” is given in quotation marks so one would assume that this is the term Trump has used – right? Wrong. He has not. What he said was:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,”
The same thing? Not necessarily. It is normal for spy agencies to snoop on email traffic. This in fact is exactly why Clinton’s use of private email account to conduct federal business is problematic! So what Trump said can be viewed as asking Russians to release the hacked emails already in their possession, if indeed they have them. Not encouraging them to hack but only to publicise what they have already hacked. The exact meaning of what he said can be argued both ways but what one cannot do is give one particular interpretation of what Trump said as a direct quote.
So what do the BBC title lines actually refer to? Was it one editor who told his colleague that Trump (in this editor’s opinion) “encourages Russia to hack Clinton emails” and the other guy dutifully put it in as a quote because he heard it from someone? Should the BBC not make it clearer that the person quoted is not Trump but rather someone presenting they personal view on what Trump meant? But let us check how the title lines would read with the actual words Trump used:
Trump to Russia: ‘find the 30,000 emails that are missing’
US election: Trump encourages Russia to ‘find’ Clinton emails
They do not have the same sensational ring to them as the “hack” versions, do they? Maybe this is why BBC decided to embellish them.