Us Weekly's lead story right now is a rather substance-free bit on Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo shopping for a birthday present for his girlfriend, pop tart Jessica Simpson. But Us is doing its best to drum up something better; a reporter sent a vaguely ominous letter to Romo's dad encouraging him to talk, because "Jessica Simpson's side is controlling the media right now." Which is actually very good reporting! Any journalist worth his paltry salary knows how to use veiled threats, scary insinuations, and bluffs (lies) to get reluctant sources to speak up. We've compiled a handy translation guide; how to decode the most common threatening reporter doublespeak, after the jump:
"I think it's important for the public to hear the other side of the truth." [From Us' letter]
Translation: We already have the other side of the story. So speak now, or don't complain when you see a one-sided slam piece. (The trick: the truth actually only has one side!)
"There's nobody who can provide that information better than you." [From Us' letter]
Translation: We think you're special. Really! We are simply dying to hear what you have to say. Hopefully, you are narcissistic and believe that we want to talk to you because we admire your intelligence. In reality, random fate has cast you as a player in a story, due to no merit of your own. Either way, let's talk now, okay?
"[We] would be honored to provide an outlet for you to share your account of the situation." [From Us' letter]
Translation: We're on your side. Our competitors, though-there's no telling how those shady fuckers might screw you.
"We could speak on or off the record - it's completely up to you." [From Us' letter]
Translation: We know you feel safe speaking "off the record," so let's do that. First. After that, we will harangue you to go on the record, or, alternately, use the information you gave us on background. (Only applies when dealing with civilians. Savvy media operators can usually make "off the record" stick).
"I'm on deadline, so please let me know as soon as possible."
Translation: I'm on deadline. I may just wrap this story up at any moment. I may just cut you out completely. I may just make assumptions about what your side of the story is and include that. I may just let your sworn enemy speak for you. This may happen any minute now. Hurry up and talk!
"My editor feels that [x], but I [y]."
Translation: I'm a nice guy. But my editor? Heartless prick. Doesn't give a shit about you, your reputation, or anything else. He just wants to wrap this up and shove it out the door. I'm your friend here. You don't want my editor to have the last word on this, for god's sake. (Addendum: Reporters blame editors. Editors blame reporters. This keeps everyone guilt-free).
"There are many rumors floating around that I'm sure you'd like to clear up."
Translation: So many rumors. What are they about? I'll leave that to your imagination. But you know how rumors have a crazy way of sneaking into print, when certain people don't talk to reporters.
"We've always had a good relationship in the past."
Translation: But not in the future, if you don't give me some quotes. You bastard.