Suppose Bob, a famous critic, says that Tropers: The Movie "had the potential to be a great work of art in different hands, but the lead actor is a drug addict and the director was Uwe Boll." In the commercial, however, we hear that Bob has called the movie "[...] a great work of art[.]"
The commercial has just quote mined. It's a dirty, rotten, low-down trick, one of The Oldest Ones in the Book, and is a subtrope of Blatant Lies and Weasel Words. Features commonly in sloppy rhetoric and propaganda pieces. Unfortunately, this usually works with an ill-informed audience, as the speaker can usually expect that they will not check the source for the quotes. Frequently used as part of an ad hominem fallacious argument.
When this technique is practiced on audio to make a deceptive soundbite (as in confessional interviews on reality shows, or comments that are then used as voiceovers), it's called a "Frankenbite" — probably because in particularly bad cases, one can actually hear where two audio clips were spliced together.
Compare/Contrast Quote Swear Unquote (fiddling with quotes, but not passing them off as accurate). Also compare Manipulative Editing. Very likely to lead to Beam Me Up, Scotty!. Despite the similarity in sound, has nothing to do with Enemy Mine.
Dennis Miller once noted that if he said, "Whoever made this movie should be put in a gas chamber", the ads would read, "... a gas! — Dennis Miller".
Roger Ebert, in his scathing review of The Last Boy Scout, said: "Perhaps propelled by the determination of its star, Bruce Willis, to erase the box-office curse of Hudson Hawk, this film panders with such determination to the base instincts of the action crowd that it will, I am sure, be an enormous hit." Guess which three words the posters loudly declared Ebert saying? (Although he did it give a three-star "Good" rating.)
He also got quote mined for his review of G Force where he called the film "non-stop, wall-to wall madcap action." G Force proudly presented this on their posters, ignoring that he was criticizing that aspect of the movie, not praising it, and that he actually gave the film 2 1/2 stars (mediocre).
On the other hand, he was well aware of this trope, as anybody who works in newspapers is, and actually called out advertisers preemptively who might do this for his review of Dumb and Dumber (where he wrote that he laughed himself silly at the parakeet scene, but didn't enjoy the rest of the movie).
Another one, slightly more subtle: Anatomy of Hell says on its poster that it was deemed "provocative" for its graphic sexual sequences, but leaves out any indication of whether the reviewer thought the provocation was a good thing.
It can be safely assumed that if a review blurb contains ellipses, what is being left out is less than complimentary. For instance, if a blurb says "This film is... an amazing achievement", you can bet that the full statement is something along the lines of "This film is so mind-numbingly stupid that getting anybody to go see it would be an amazing achievement."
On the back of the box for Rock of the Dead is a quote from IGN: "Why didn't anyone think of this before?". The 5.0 out of 10 score (translation: 0 out of 4) that IGN gave the game is omitted.
The Sands Of Oblivion DVD has the quote "'One of the most unique story ideas for any movie the Sci-Fi Channel ever produced' — Dread Central" The respective review gives it two "knives" out of five and laments on how wasted said unique idea was.
The Lying Ape brings up two instances of this happening to book reviewers. One reviewer was quoted as saying, "People will rush out and buy this book"; the full sentence had been, "Only crazy people will rush out and buy this book." Another gave a book a scathing review and made it clear he hated it, but as he was reviewing it in January, ironically tacked on at the end, "Best book I've read all year." Naturally, only the last line was quoted on the book cover.
The New York Post has a regular column titled "Required Reading" which contains quick takes (a short paragraph in length) on various new books. One column included a mention of the 2013 novel Christian Nation. On the novel's promotion page, they included the blurb "'Required reading...' —New York Post" (treating the name of the column as praise for the book).
Comedian Michael McIntyre admitted on Have I Got News for You that he used to advertise his act as having received four stars, neglecting to clarify that that was the sum total of stars from all his reviews.
Infamously bad shooter Daikatana featured a quote from PC Zone on an ad, reading "Absolutely brilliant" — these two words were taken from a preview which appeared years before the actual game (PC Zone actually gave the game 53% and a very negative review).
This happened to one EGM previewer when he wrote a preview blurb about Bubsy 3D, embarrassing him for many years.
The song "Strut" sung by Sheena Easton is about how terrible it is for men to look at women as sex objects. ("Strut, pout, Put it out/That's what you want from women"). When the song was used in an advertisement for a health club in the United States, every second line was deleted, resulting in the song having the exact opposite meaning ("Strut, pout, Put it out/(silence)").
Advertisements for Collateral quote a review as saying the film is "a knockout." The actual review says the film declines in quality toward the end, but says "the first two thirds is a knockout."
Dr. Pepper once had its cans featuring American images and the Pledge of Allegiance quote "One nation...indivisible." While not originally used in the Pledge, the ellipsis are precisely where "under God" has been used for many years.
Done for laughs in a Chevy ad displayed at Universities. Certain words are in dramatically larger font than the rest, such that from a distance the poster reads "CHEAT ON YOUR EXAMS".
Back in 2007 or so when Monster Cable introduced the now popular Beats by Dre headphones, they pulled a quote from an Engadget article that wasn't even a review. Needless to say, this caused a bit of backlash.
Isaac Asimov was once asked to a review a scientific book. He quickly decided that it was pseudoscience, and also poorly written. When he declined to write a review, the authors asked if there were any errors in the book. Since he had barely read it, he politely answered that he had not found any. The cover blurb read “ISAAC ASIMOV COULD FIND NO ERRORS!”
The Golden AgeMAD feature "Movie... Ads!" showed how movie advertisers can cut and paste 1/16-star reviews into more positive-sounding quotes:
(Newspaper critic:) "NEW LOW IN MOVING PICTURES: A colossal time waster was Warndher Bros' latest release The Spectacle. What stupendous nerve they had in showing such a picture. It was wonderful to get out of the theater. I was dying looking at this dog and it felt so good to leave when it finally ended..." (Same critic as quoted in ad:) "New... a colossal time... stupendous... wonderful... felt so good..."
A Hsu and Chan comic explained that the title characters do this when their games are rated poorly. "Even the bad reviews are wordy enough that we can at least cut-and-paste together a decent blurb."
Quote on the game box: "Not... That... Bad!"
An issue of Simpsons Comics has Bart sneak into Lisa's room to steal and/or destroy various items. He comes upon her diary, reading "This morning, Mom whipped some eggs. Dad slept late. We mocked Bart for leaving the dog in the basement all night." Using white-out and some alterations with his pen, Bart changes this to "This morning, Mom whipped Dad. Later, we locked Bart in the basement all night." He then submits the altered diary to a literary magazine competition in order to humiliate his sister — but the work is hailed as a masterpiece, and Lisa is offered a book deal!
The second live-action Scooby Doo movie makes use of this. A news reporter (secretly the main villain) takes Fred's comments and remarks out of context to defame the gang.
Fred: Wait a minute! You're going to edit what I say to make people think I think Coolsville sucks!
A partly non-spoken example comes from The Remake of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town—when Deeds rescues a woman from a burning building, a reporter edits the footage to make it look like he raped her, threw her cats out a window, and laughed at the prospect of being brought to justice.
In Used Cars the competition makes an obvious edit in the protagonist's ad saying they had "...style of cars" to "a mile of cars" and used it in court, suing for false advertising; the protagonists then had to scramble to assemble 5,280 feet of cars on the lot.
The creationist documentary Expelled features interviews from a number of scientists and critics of intelligent design, who later publicly accused the film of quote-mining them. Michael Shermer claims that he accused interviewer Ben Stein of fishing for certain responses during the interview itself.note They also accuse the producers of misleading them into what sort of film they were being interviewed for, being told that it was a documentary of the pros and cons of both evolution and creationism rather than being a straight-out creationist hit piece.
Bill Maher was caught out in a similar manner after his interview with scientist Francis Collins for his film Religulous was heavily edited to misconstrue Dr. Collins' arguments.
Religulous bears another, almost cartoonish example: Maher quotes John Adams as saying "This best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." In reality, Adams meant the exact opposite, as the context (from an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson) shows:
“Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’!!! But in this exclamation I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite society, I mean hell.”
Dawkins made a parody video in response to Expelled where he did this to his own clips, as well as cutting Stein so that he is arguing that there is unfair bias against the "stork theory" of childbirth.
Used in Spice World to discredit the girls. During an interview, one of them answers a question with "is the Pope Catholic?", as in, "yes, of course." A tabloid quotes the response, conveniently leaving out the context that it was a rhetorical question. Since "Is the Pope Catholic?" is a very common rhetorical question, it's hard to imagine many people falling for that trick in Real Life.
Documentarian filmmaker Michael Moore has been demonstrated to do this in quite a number of his films; particularly his more recent ones.
Bowling for Columbine, probably his most egregious example, did this quite blatantly with Charlton Heston; observant viewers noticed that his clothes changed during a single speech. They also cut his post-Columbine speech at the line "we're already here," making his point (that NRA members were part of the emergency personnel at the tragedy) sound more like a smarmy mockery of his anti-gun opponents.
A Canadian documentary on Moore himself Manufacturing Dissent points up just how much of his films' impact is derived from this sort of quote-mining and Manipulative Editing. Particularly pointed since, unlike most criticisms of Moore, this one was done by people who considered themselves his fans.
USA Today's review of the Eragon movie described it as "a pleasant enough fantastical adventure, but it does feel naggingly derivative." A commercial for the movie cropped the testimonial, rendering it "A FANTASTICAL ADVENTURE!"note The book is also guilty of bearing a quote-mined review from the New York Times. The reviewer is cited as calling it "an authentic work of great talent," but those are the final words of her piece, the remainder of which focused on all its demerits.
In Iron Man 2, during the Senate subcommittee hearing, Senator Stern deliberately has Colonel Rhodes quote a section of his report on the Iron Man armor out of context, and Rhodes outright calls him on this bit of dishonesty by continuing on even after Stern tells him to stop.
In You've Got Mail, Joe Fox represents a chain of bookstores, whose newest location is right next to the small indie shop owned by Kathleen Kelly. Both are interviewed by the local TV news, but Fox's interview is edited down to the seemingly-standoffish line "I sell cheap books. Sue me." Fox, watching the broadcast, is not amused, and reads off a long list of all the positive things he said about his store. In that same TV news segment, Kelly repeats a sarcastic quip made by Fox in a previous discussion, but she strips out the sarcasm. Her stilted delivery suggests she's uncomfortable doing this, so it's easy for the audience to forgive her.
The Chipmunk Adventure has Alvin recording Dave during a phone call, and then quote mining to convince the nanny (via another phone call) that Dave wants the kids to join him on his business trip. Alvin needs to explain their absence during an around-the-world balloon race.
Parodied in some of the marketing and covers for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The posters/covers proudly display the quote "Best movie ever made." attributed to Ricky Bobby. Ricky is the protagonist of Talladega Nights, the quote comes from inside the movie itself, and the compliment was actually directed at Highlander.
In JFK, footage of an interview is used to depict Kennedy as ready to withdraw from Vietnam. The clip ends before the President tells Walter Cronkite that “I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw.”
Scott Adams pointed this out in a Dilbert book, where he had an example of a press release complaining about the media, and how it would be reported by the media:
Our company is skilled in many other things that are never reported by the biased media.
Luckily, it works both ways:
Original Literal Quote: The lack of quality and complete disregard for the market are evident in this product.
Edited for Readability: The quality are evident in regard of dis product.
In The Dresden Files novel Changes, Harry uses this to pull a fast one on the Erlking when he accidentally intrudes in his halls. Being one of The Fair Folk, however, the Erlking is less annoyed and more amused at Harry being so quick-witted.
In a letter to Private Eye remonstrating with their caustic review of The Steep Approach to Garbadale, Iain Banks predicted that his publisher will take Bookworm's phrase "Quite entertaining, but full of undifferentiated dialogue, and looking as though it was cobbled together in about three weeks", remove 2/3 of it, and slap "Quite entertaining - Private Eye" on the paperback cover. They didn't.
The Bible: "So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. ... Go and do likewise." This quote, which starts with Matthew 27:5 and skips over the entire book of Mark (among other verses) to end with part of Luke 10:37, is often used as an exaggerated example of what can result when Biblical verses are taken out of context.
Matthew 1:23 famously refers to Isaiah 7:14 ("Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.") as foreshadowing the birth of Jesus. However, apart from the poor Greek translation out of Hebrew leading to this theory, by ditching the context it ignores the fact that Isaiah is speaking to Ahaz, King of Judah, about contemporary events, not making a messianic prophecy.
That said, Christians interpret the passage as about both contemporary events and the Messiah. Isaiah was discussing Israel's impending invasion by foreign powers and offered Ahaz a sign from God; when Ahaz refused to name a sign Isaiah said the it would be a virgin-born child, who would grow up during foreign occupation.
A couple particularly ridiculous cases mentioned Psalm 14:1, where it says "The fool has said in his heart 'There is no God'". Guess what was taken out?
Artemis Fowl does this in the second book. He mines a recorded conversation with his mother for quotes that he then combines into an entirely different message to fool his school principal.
In The New Atheism, new atheist Sam Harris demonstrates that many Christian apologists have engaged in this practice in quoting atheist authors in books that they've written to try to refute them.
In Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream by noted black historian Lerone Bennett Jr., Bennett describes how many Lincoln biographers and other "gatekeepers" have done this in regards to quotes that would present Lincoln in an unfavorable light, omitting portions so that they make him seem favorable. One such example noted is that "Members of the Feelgood School tell us that Lincoln said at Cincinnati that 'there is room enough for all of us to be free'. They don't tell us that he said in the same speech that there was no room at all for slaves in the South to be free and that it was necessary to provide 'an efficient fugitive slave law' to return to slavery fugitive slaves who believed there was room for us all to be free."
Done with an In-Universereligious text in the Ciaphas Cain novel Duty Calls. A rogue Ordo Hereticus inquisitor shrugs off shooting desperate civilians who tried to escape a tyranid attack on his shuttle with the line "The path of duty is often a stony one." Cain is apparently quite fond of that text and recognizes the Quote Mine, and Amberley Vail's footnote reveals that the back half of the sentence changes the meaning completely:
"The full quotation ... runs 'The path of duty is often a stony one, made easier by thought for others.'"
In The Fountainhead Roark is interviewed by a tabloid newspaper about his controversial Temple of the Human Spirit. His exact words are "I can’t tell anyone anything about my building. If I prepared a hash of words to stuff into other people’s brains, it would be an insult to them and to me... I want to ask every man who is interested in this to go and see the building, to look at it and then to use the words of his own mind, if he cares to speak." This gets reported as "Mr. Roark, who seems to be a publicity hound, received reporters with an air of swaggering insolence and stated that the public mind was hash. He did not choose to talk, but he seemed well aware of the advertising angles in the situation. All he cared about, he explained, was to have his building seen by as many people as possible."
Parodied in 1066 and All That, with a spoof quote that simply reads "This slim volume..." - implying that the rest of the quote was entirely negative.
The Daily Show does this quite frequently, usually in the form of interrupting a speaker to make a joke and then not revisiting the clip. The Daily Show has lampshaded this and will often play the second part of a clip that directly contradicts the first part. At least, it will now.
Stephen Colbert is often accused of doing similar things in his interviews. He once lampshaded this by inviting a reporter to interview him and making easily editable statements like "There are people who say THE TROOPS ARE STUPID!... I am not one of those people." "President Obama is VERY SCARY TO WHITE house PEOPLE... who are hoping for a Republican victory."
In Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Harriet talks about how the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. She goes on to point out that the Bible also says that we are not to judge. Guess which part of the quote gets printed.
Kind of an example itself; the Bible says everyone is a sinner.
And "judge not" is a commonly-mined quote itself; see the Real Life folder.
The episode "The Illusion of Truth" in Babylon 5 featured a news report which did this, along with a whole bunch of other ghastly "journalistic" tricks, to cast the titular station in a very bad light (this happened after the newly authoritarian Earth government took over the news channel in question and turned it into an overt propaganda outlet).
Although given that the B5 staff knew this was probably going to happen, you'd think they would have refrained from giving the reporters ammunition like "no force in the universe can stop us" to work with. Sheridan claimed that they gave them little to work with, but he must not have been paying as much attention to his words as he thought.
Sometimes they give them nothing and it's still abused. In another clip, alien Ambassador Londo is complaining to Sheridan about the climate control in his quarters while Sheridan smiles and nods. Londo concludes with "This is highly inappropriate, Captain." The news report narrates over everything but the last sentence with a bit about how Sheridan is now taking orders from aliens. And cuts off just midway through Sheridan's highly insulting (to Londo) rebuff.
In another case, simply removing all audio and replacing it with a voiceover works. So a scene of Lennier, a Minbari, showing the reporter where the station's (mainly Human) homeless live and telling him about the social plans that Sheridan tries to use to help them, while Dr. Franklin rushes past helping a heart attack victim, turns into one in which the aliens are dominant over the Humans, and anyone who objects is sedated and taken away by Dr. Franklin to be experimented on. Plus, the fact that Delenn previously made herself a Human-Minbari hybrid is obvious evidence that they are hoping to make other hybrids using genetic alteration.
Brass Eye has Nicholas Parsons reading a poem purportedly by anthropologist Desmond Morris about the plight of an elephant in an East German zoo (note that it was filmed in 1997, long after Germany had reunified) that's got its trunk stuck up its backside. The footage is strategically and very obviously edited — watch here (the relevant bit starts at 3:17):
NP: Aren't we a bunch of fuckwits? An elephant could no more get its trunk up its arse than we could lick our balls.
The Late Show With David Letterman had a segment called "Late Show Unfair Edit" in which they would splice together words from a politician's speech or interview to make it appear that they said something stupid.
Happens to Bette in The L Word. When ambushed by Faye Buckley about a controversial exhibit at her museum, Bette defends it, but her words are later mined to make it sound like an admission that she and the exhibit are perverted.
Happens to GOB in Arrested Development when he is accused of killing an old man who went missing. He tells the reporters who accost him, "Don't edit this for your broadcast so it looks like I'm screaming, 'I killed Earl Milford!'" Needless to say, those last four words were all the reporters needed.
In the episode "Eric's Birthday", when Laurie is asking Eric to borrow his car, and Kelso hears it as she was coming onto him. The thing is, Kelso's "interpretation" is practically a Youtube Poop, it's so mangled.
Eric: Aren't you a little cold?
Laurie: No, in fact I'm hot. Besides, it's not like I'm completely naked under this.
Eric: Okay, but I need a favor.
Laurie: For you? I don't think so.
Eric: I'll let you borrow the Vista Cruiser.
Laurie: All night.
Eric: All night?! ... Fine. Just tell Mom that I'm too old for surprise parties.
Laurie: But you're the baby, and Mommy loves her baby.
Laurie: I'm hot for you, Kelso. I'm completely naked under this. I want you, all night. And Mommy loves her baby.
In the episode "Jackie Bags Hyde", when Jackie wants a date with Hyde:
Hyde: I told you again and again, that I have no interest in you, and you don't have a chance! And yet, you keep thinking that I have interest in you, and you have a chance!
Jackie: Wait. Did you just say that you're interested in me and I have a chance?
Radio Active: In one episode, Roger is extolling the virtues of Mr Noseworthy over the radio. "Technical difficulties" (in the form of deliberate vandalism) renders his statement that, "In his field, competence knows no equal!" as "In...competence knows no equal."
Parodied in a segment on America's Funniest Home Videos. It showed clips of stage performances while Tom Bergeron "read" reviews of them and the Quote Mined version appeared on screen. The final review was so bad it was reduced to "The Happy Musical is... A show!"
The pilot of Even Stevens had Louis being an unwitting victim of this.
Done cleverly in Jonathan Creek, where a villain gets another villain to read out what's supposedly an account of an old legend, but is set up so when he tapes it and removes sections, it edits together to sound like a phone message—allowing the first villain to fake the second villain supposedly phoning someone after he has been murdered.
An episode of That's So Raven has Raven and Chelsea on a game show, where the producer pits the friends against each other by pulling this trick and editing the videos they had made about each other. For example, Raven said about Chelsea: "Chelsea is such a good friend, I would never want to lose her. And that's coming from the heart." It was edited down to "Chelsea is such a lose...er. And that's coming from the heart."
Story and sound editors for reality shows do this so regularly that they've named the result. They call it a "Frankenbite"; a soundbite stitched together like a Frankenstein's monster of mismatched parts.
Demonstrated on Frontline. An expert is asked about the possibility of someone surviving for weeks in the desert. He says "No way, it's impossible", before going on to explain why the woman in question could be an exception. The reporters edit this out.
In the early Columbo installment "Ransom for a Dead Man", a woman murders her husband and disguises it as a kidnapping. To create the impression of her husband being alive and in the custody of the imaginary kidnappers, she plays a cleverly edited recording of him over the phone.
In NewsRadio episode "The Real Deal", Bill McNeal attempts to score an interview with JerrySeinfeld, who is dining by himself at a restaurant, only to fail spectacularly by pestering him. He resorts to taking the tape recording of their hostile exchange out of context, deliberately misrepresenting Jerry as an egotist.
An episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had an accidental version. Bulk is filming a video for a class project, but Skull's inept editing results in "That's Mrs. Appleby. She can't wait to teach her favorite student" becoming "That Mrs. Appleby can't teach." Since it's a video, you can see the jumps, but the class still has a good laugh.
In an episode of Vic TOR Ious, some Hollywood guys setup a "Jersey Shore" type show with the Hollywood Arts Kids. When they edit two different conversations that Tori and Beck have with others to make it appear that they are having an affair, Jade isn't too happy. The producers freely admit the deception saying they're doing it for ratings.
On the September 12, 2012, installment of her self-titled talk show, Ellen DeGeneres quote-mined both President Obama and his opponent, Mitt Romney, to make nice political ads against the other. Seen here. So President Obama ended up saying, among other things, "Governor Romney ... drove my grandma to work." And Candidate Romney said, among other things, "President Obama ... won World War II."
In October-November 2013, she quote mined Alex Trebek for his "audition tape" for the lead role in film of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The most infamous example of this trope in paleo-TV is Clash of the Dinosaurs. The paleontologist in question: Matt Wedel. The incident in question was concerning a battle between the dromaeosaur Deinonychus and the sauropod Sauroposeidon, as well as twisting the poor paleontologist's words to make him say the old, disproven belief that sauropods had two brains, when he explicitly stated that the theory he claimed in the show was false. This stirred an absolute outrage among Wedel and his fellow palentologists on the blog SV-POW, of which Wedel wrote this about the subject. This also destroyed any credibility the production company (Dangerous Ltd) might have had. It also left them at the mercy of dinosaur fanatics, paleontologists and practically everybody who likes dinosaurs.
Done in-universe in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. On an in-universe version of To Catch a Predator, a man comes into the room with the teenaged girl and tries immediately to convince her that this is not what she wants to do, and that any creep could show up and have his way with her. He tells her to get out of her skankly clothes and put something decent on; when the episode aired, this was edited down to him simply demanding sex from her and telling her to strip, and his life was ruined though he was never formally charged.
Kasim Tariq: “Fight in God’s cause against those who fight against you.” Michael: “But do not commit aggression.” You forgot that part of the Qur'an. If you’re going to twist its meaning at least quote the whole passage.
Tim Minchin does this to himself in the song "Context". At first it is a song about how he hates various demographic groups, but when sung in full it is about how he hates people who do bad things, regardless of race:
I don't like Jews who make and distribute kiddie porn
Neither should you, they're ethically and spiritually poor, that's a fact
I don't like black people who risk billions of other people's money gambling on future derivatives
It's just not acceptable, there should be some kind of law, that is that.
In a Dave Barry column he describes a novel called "Romeo and Juliet 2", citing glowing reviews from a couple of completely insignificant newspapers, followed by a glowing review from the New York Times:
"...a recently published book!"
In a Dirkjan comic, Bert writes a novel. One reviewer describes it as "pure nonsense, which should never have been published". Later prints of the novel cite the review as "pure".
One FoxTrot strip had Jason recording Paige talking on the phone: "I need to cut three articles out of the newspaper for Mr. Vivona's class every day this week, and the only pair of scissors I have is like totally dull." He then gets on the computer and edits it so she's saying "I cut class every day this week. Mr. Vivona is like totally dull."
The BBC show Radio Active, a parody of commercial radio stations, did in one episode take the viewer on a tour "backstage" to visit writers, editors and producers. The editor decided to play first an unedited sound clip of a politician's passionate anti-racism speech, and then an edited one, so that the audience could hear "how the editing helps it."
Unedited version: Firstly, I am personally convinced that this government's immigration policy is crass and retarded, and anything they do, I say now, should be subject to the utmost skepticism and hopefully ignored. For example, in reality, I am sure the rights of a black man and woman with a large family are not properly guarded. I am driven mad by politicians and the like who believe such people should be simply regarded as a family of social outcasts and deported at the earliest opportunity! Get rid of racism, and believe me, the world will be a better place! Edited version: Firstly, I am personally crass and retarded, and anything I say should be subject to the utmost skepticism and hopefully ignored. For example, in reality, I am a black woman with a large family. I am mad, and should be regarded as a social outcast and deported at the earliest opportunity! Get rid of me, the world will be a better place!
In Beyond Good & Evil, the government's propaganda machine removes the "not exactly" from Pey'j's "Yeah, well, you guys are not exactly what I'd call as fast as a speedin' bullet" for a radio broadcast.
Kane and Lynch did this with their ads, getting quotes from previews and present it as review quotes.
Max Payne 2 did the same. The man who wrote the quoted preview called them out on this in his back-page column a couple issues later.
Fate/stay night has one infamous example, though the "mine" part comes from the audience rather than in-universe.
Even if you know about that last part to some people it just sounds like he is questioning the previous statement. Still taken out of context though.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's story begins "at the end," Sequence 9, Ezio Auditore tells his nemesis Cesare Borgia that "Mario Auditore led me to you!" However, when the story is rewound to almost eight years before at the Siege of Monteriggioni, Mario Auditore is killed and Cesare seizes the Apple of Eden — which Ezio later takes back and uses to track Cesare down. When Sequence 9 is reached in "proper order," the same scene occurs but with Ezio saying "The Apple you stole from Mario Auditore led me to you!"
This article argues that many of the infamous comments from Activision CEO Bobby Kotick are taken out of context, such as by presenting jokes as completely literal or misinterpreting financial terms as emotive language.
A puzzle in Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? involves doing this using Thomas Edison's wax cylinder. The player has to gather parts for the new light bulb prototype, and one of them is a spool of thread. Guess which part of the following phone conversation you have to quote-mine...
"Listen, Bob. Do NOT (beat) give those rascals a spool of thread! Tell them to come back in the morning when we're open!"
Parodied on the website for McPixel, where many review quotes are either in a foreign language, or mined until they're nothing but complete nonsense.
A magazine advertisement for the video game adaptation of the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger quoted one reviewer as saying that "Cliffhanger may push gamers over the edge!" However, the reviewer was saying it in the context of how frustrating and annoying the game was. The clincher? That review was in the same issue of the magazine as the advertisement.
Call of Duty: Black Ops uses a form of this at the start of each level to fit in with the Cold War setting. The Title In at the start includes much more than it would in, say, Modern Warfare, stating why the player is where he is, who else is with him, the exact time of day, and whatnot. Then, once the full text has appeared, a line crosses through everything except the date, player character's name, and location as is shown in other games. From the first mission, for instance:
Transmission# 15-18. Designate: X-RAY OP 40 team inserted with Bay of Pigs forces in Cuba Target: Fidel Castro Woods, Bowman, and Mason meeting contact at Santa Maria 0500 hrs April 17, 1961
Gabriel Knight uses tape-splicing to achieve this in The Beast Within, using his recording of his questions with Herr Doktor Klingmann to convince zookeeper Tomas to allow Gabriel to see the zoo wolves up close.
Dominic Deegan features a Trickster elementalist who literally rearranges quotes from characters by catching "words on the wind" in a bottle in order to have them say something completely different from what they'd meant.
Yahtzee occasionally spoofs this by giving a long list of reasons he dislikes something and ending it with a quasi-positive statement, while displaying only the last few words on the screen, as if it were an endorsement. For example, while he says, "...if you've got a love of repetitive tactical combat that borders on the fetishistic, and you really badly need to know what happens next to faceless characterless protagonist of the ongoing storyline then I heartily recommend Perseus Mandate" shows only the last five words on the screen.
Stephen Colbert invited fans to do this in the Edit Challenge. Footage of an interview was posted on the internet, deliberately providing material that could be edited into something less innocent. For example, "I love cock-fighting." The results can be found on YouTube.
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are also frequently accused of using the technique themselves — Bill O'Reilly complained that one clip of him apparently contradicting himself had "eight out-of-context edits" within a few seconds.
A staple of YouTube Poop is to take innocuous sources, such as a video game cutscene or children's cartoon, and remix the dialogue judiciously for the lulz. Often called "sentence mixing" by the fandom.
The callers on Ghost's online radio show that claims to be about Capitalism do this with his own voice. This leads to much lulz, and the host getting incredibly angry over the embarassing things they've made him say. It's not just re-edited audio, though; he has, indeed, said some very mineable quotes without any editing.
Byron Hall and someone identifying himself only as "Burnout" counter-reviewed Jason Sartin and Darren MacLennan's infamous review of FATAL; it was rather hilarious and sad. Sad because it would appear that Hall and Burnout's myriad counts of quote mining appear to have been from genuinely understanding the remarks being mined the way they ended up mining them. They also appear to think that reviewing while still being entertaining is somehow unprofessional, so we have the rather hilarious image of a guy who created a game with rules about rape (any rules about rape, if you're reading this, Hall) trying to take the moral high ground over a couple guys who listed hitting yourself in the scrotum with a tack hammer as an activity preferable to playing FATAL.
And then there's this utterly brutal yet hilarious mashup of the party leaders' speeches, resulting in an unsavoury picture of David Cameron's schooldays.
Miliband: I wanna tell you my story. Fourteen-year-old David Cameron's not going to school. He drank two whole bottles of brandy. And then what did he do? Cameron: I would score a line from drug dealers, play computer games all day and beat off in my childhood bedroom.
Parodied in thisLasagna Cat video, in relation to the GarfieldLive Action Adaptations. After a straight quote from Roger Ebert's positive reviews of both movies, the video begins quote mining from other, more negative reviews. The quotes start out saying nice things about the movies, then become vague, then scathing, then outright ridiculous.
An online promotional video NBC created for Parks and Recreation features a short clip of April saying, "I love Ritalin and have low self-esteem." In the actual episode, April was mocking her sister rather than talking about herself.
The Sonic fan-animation Nazo Unleashed uses this in a very interesting way. Nazo, is the only character in the series who has newly recorded dialogue, but every other character has dialogue made up of voice clips from various Sonic games, carefully edited to make it sound professional. This is one of the secrets behind the series' popularity.
"Would I say, 'If you're hunting for a good read this October, Marge Simpson's book is a Clear and Present Danger to your free time'? Hell no I wouldn't. What do you mean I just said it? That doesn't count! Hello. Hello?"
What Homer actually said: Well, somebody had to take the babysitter home, then I noticed she was sitting on the Gummi Venus, so I grabbed it off her. Ohhhh... just thinking about that sweet, sweet candy, ahhh... I just wish I had another one right now!
What they broadcast: Well, somebody had to take the babysitter home, then I noticed she was sitting on—her—sweeet can—so I grabbed—her—sweeet can—ohhhh, just thinking about—her—can—I just wish I had—her—sweet, sweet—s-s-s-sweet can ...
"Critics say this book is 'definitely' dot-dot-dot 'useful!'" —Marge Simpson, on a self-help book.
In one episode of House of Mouse, Mortimer suggests that the winner of a volleyball game will be the one to ask Minnie out. Mickey makes the mistake of replying "So, what, we should treat Minnie like she's some sort of trophy?!" Mortimer then relays this sentence back to Minnie later, while of course leaving out that it was rhetorical. Mickey is so flustered by Mortimer revealing this that he can only stammer in response. (On the other hand, Mortimer DID manage to tempt Mickey into the volleyball game, but it was still Mortimer's idea in the first place.)
Vicky does this to Timmy in Fairly Oddparents. "What? I never cheated on my math test!" becomes "I cheated on my math test!" and she blackmails him with the threat of playing the recording for his parents.
Then Timmy turns the tables on Vicki in the same episode using the same tactic.
In one Wunschpunsch episode the spell of the week made everyone hate everyone. The only way to break it was to make someone say "I love you". To achieve that, the two main characters found the love interest of one of them. The Raven asked her "What do you think of me?" while the Cat hid somewhere with a tape recorder. She answered with a rain of insults, Cat quickly paused and unpaused the recording so that it, when played back, finally said the needed words.
In an ad for The Amazing World of Gumball, the title character splices together footage of his friends and peers to make it seem as if they are praising him:
"Gumball... is the most... amazing... DUDE!... I don't have time... to say all the good things... abooooout... this... amazing... DUDE!"
In Dan Vs. "Elise's Parents", Dan uses a hidden tape recorder to record a conversation with Elise's father, Don, about his cupcake business. He then edits it to make it sound like Don's in the mafia so that the police will get involved, freeing up Chris for the renaissance fair.
Blatantly parodied in My Gym Partners A Monkey when Jake joins the school newspaper group. He then proceeds to persuade Adam to say some very embarassing things (" What? No, I'm not in love with her! I'm pretty sure she's crazy!"). Adam finds out about this and simply stops talking to Jake. Not one to be deterred, Jake simply starts making things up., and the student body believe him. So, to get revenge and hopefully stop this stupidity, Adam joins the school newspaper and starts making up incredibly embarrassing stories about Jake...which actually turn out to be true. The entire student body then start asking why he'd do such a mean thing to his friend Jake.
Applejack: And she's modest and humble. She lets her actions speak for themselves. Gotta admire that. Rainbow Dash: I don't have to admire that! I don't think she's all that great! Spike: She's... great. Rainbow Dash: I didn't say that.
Adventure Time: One episode has Finn and Jake discovering pre-recorded tapes left by their father. By the end of the episode, they found all the tapes, and Jake starts doing some Manipulative Editing.
In "Invitation to the Snooties" on PB&J Otter, the Snootie poodle kids pull this off to great effect to trick their father into letting them have something they want for their birthday party.
Eduardo: Who ordered that? Huh?
Bootsie: You told us we could have it, Daddy. Don't you remember?
Bootsie: (on tape) Can we have a giant 28-foot ice cream frog?
Ootsie: That sings Yankee Doodle?
Eduardo: (on the tape, but from a conversation he had with someone else over the phone) Absolutely, that's a capital idea. (to Ootsie and Bootsie) Huh, well so I did.
In a unique twist, roughly half a year after Isaac Hayes (voice of Chef) had famously left South Park in protest, quote-mining of Hayes' previously recorded dialogue was used in the production of the South Park episode "The Return of Chef" to provide a voice for Chef in the absence of Hayes. It was intentionally stitched together in a clumsy, stilted manner to draw attention to the fact that something was "off" about Chef. True to this trope's underhanded nature, it crossed over with Dropped a Bridge on Him as Hayes' quote-mined dialogue was arranged to spitefully portray Chef as a boy-hungry pedophile shortly before killing off Chef what is possibly the goriest and most drawn-out death ever witnessed on the show.
In an episode of American Dad!, Steve and Hayley perform a phony telephone questionnaire on Steve's crush, then use their father's CIA equipment to edit his responses and play the message after calling Hayley's crush (whom Steve's crush is dating), making it sound like the girl is meeting another guy in the park.
Nat Smurfling does this to Selwyn during his fight with his wife Tallulah in The Smurfs episode "Memory Melons" to record a simple "I love you" message for Tallulah in Selwyn's own words. Ironically, the quote mined message was the original message Selwyn intended to say to his wife all along.
Opponents of abortion and birth control sometimes combine a Quote Mine with a Hitler Ate Sugar, attempting to "prove" that Planned Parenthood is racist because Margaret Sanger once said "We do not want word to get out that we are trying to exterminate the Negro population." The reason she didn't want that word to get out is that, well, that wasn't what she was trying to do in the first place. The quote was from a conversation with a popular minister in a black community and was about finding ways to extend her services to black women who wanted them without being suspected of specifically targeting a group of people for elimination. Many other people who wanted to provide birth control for African Americans wanted to do so to limit their population growth — when Sanger said that, she was saying that she didn't want people to think that because this time it wasn't true. The quote is used to accuse her of exactly what she was trying to avoid being accused of. Plenty of other abortion providers at the time were racist, however, and many if not most believed in eugenics (which was more-or-less mainstream science back then).
This routinely happens in political campaigns; and candidates routinely accuse their opponents of doing this, whether or not they do. There's no way to make a 30-second commercial that gives all the context to any statement; if candidate A makes an ad about candidate B's gaffe, B is certain to say it was taken out of context.
One of the more infamous quote-mines to come out in the 2010 US Congressional election was the Democratic candidate Alan Grayson portraying his opponent as "Taliban Dan" Webster, by showing (repeatedly in one commercial) Webster saying "She will submit to me" in reference to his wife... except he was talking about not picking and choosing biblical text to follow, using that as an example. When even Jon Stewart goes after a Democrat, you know they screwed up.
Afghan parliamentary representative Malalai Joya was removed from her office using this trick, after a television interview was cut to make it seem she had insulted the entire political body, when in reality she had simply ridiculed warlords among the officials. To top it off, the whole 'insulting the government being against the law' thing wasn't even a law yet. She still wasn't invited back.
J. Robert Oppenheimer is often quoted saying "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds," quoting the Bhagavad Gita, as if to indicate that he felt the Manhattan Project was a mistake. In context, he makes it clear that the quote was in reference to doing your duty, even if it was unpleasant (this is more or less the whole point of the Gita; it's Krishna's quasi-pep talk to Arjuna in the Mahabharata, explaining that everyone has a role in the order of the Universe, and sometimes that role is the unpleasant business of killing loads of people for the good of everyone else). Actually, he was one of very few scientists who didn't think it was a mistake. When asked about deploying the bomb, a small council including Oppenheimer and Fermi asserted that it was required while the majority of the scientists disagreed. Those scientists weren't on that council.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attack ads aimed at Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff include the quote "No one speaks for the Liberal Party of Canada, but me." which was clearly taken out of context from when he was trying to establish his credibility as the leader of the party, though it is presented with the intent of making Ignatieff seem like a control freak. Harper himself is noted by analysts as having won his current position by means of his extremely tight control of the Conservative spin machine. The pot calling the kettle black?
Attempted (failed) positive example: on the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, a quote was mashed up into "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." The problem: it was a rhetorical device from a sermonagainst self-aggrandizement.
On the day of a massive public-sector strike, Jeremy Clarkson was booked on BBC's The One Show in which he made comments that he would execute strikers... as part of a joke about the BBC's legally-required neutrality; Clarkson himself was pretty neutral on the strikes. Of course, everyone latched onto the joke acting as if, for once, he was being serious.
Apart from Number 10, which issued a statement saying: "Those who have made the regrettable decision to strike may be assured: Executions are not government policy."
A common tactic by creationists is to quote mine On The Origin Of Species, specifically, the part where Charles Darwin talks about how absurd it seems that the eye could have evolved. The quote mine is leaving out the second paragraph, wherein he explains exactly why eye evolution is perfectly reasonable.
The Quote Mine, "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." (Discussed here.)
The immediately following context, "Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound."
The broad strokes of the evolution of the eye are now widely understood, to the point where most of it is settled science.
In fact, quote mining scientists is such a popular tactic of creationists that many prominent biologists deliberately word their lectures and publications in ways to make quote mining more difficult. Also, given that the people who initially carry out the quote mining know what they're saying is a deliberate misrepresentation it's given rise to the Liars for Jesus meme.
Similarly, a passage from The Descent of Man is often victim to this particular brand of cheating, with the words being spliced to make it seem as though Darwin is advocating the extermination of the disabled (he argued for the exact opposite).
The Creation museum in San Diego features a placard near the entrance on how science is compatible with religion, with a quote from Isaac Asimov: "I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist". Surprising that they resorted to quote mining for something as inconsequential as that, given the number of actual scientists they could have quoted legitimately, and given that Asimov's quote on the subject in full, concluded with: "but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
An extraordinarily common tactic by atheists who want to attack the Bible or Christianity is to take quotes out of context. Making Hitler look Christian is easy when you pick through his early speeches and ignore everything else he has ever said. Or the thousands of priests he had killed. He wasn't an atheist, per se, but he certainly had some very colourfully unpleasant things to say about religion in private and documents shown at the Nazi warcrimes tribunals show that he already had a plan in place to wipe out the churches completely and replace them with fascism.
The rule laid down against homosexuality in Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) has been majorly discounted because it's in the context of several other laws that some Jews and most non-Jews don't follow anymore; for example, the dietary restrictions in Chapter 11. Not that homosexuality isn't condemned elsewhere — Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10 — but the Leviticus passage most commonly brought up isn't valued much in this argument anymore.
"Judge not, lest ye be judged" is often used as a way to say "Don't ever criticize others." But the full passage is actually a warning against hypocrisy and self-righteousness:
Matthew 7:1-5: Judge not, lest ye be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong when he wrote 'there are no second acts in American lives.'" No, anyone who uses that sentence is the one who's wrong. Fitzgerald didn't mean that Americans don't get second chances. He was talking about the classical three-act dramatic structure. He was saying that Americans are impatient and prefer to go straight from conflict (act 1) to resolution (act 3) without deliberation (act 2).
Rudyard Kipling's opening line from The Ballad of East and West: "never the twain shall meet'' is often used to mean that two things or people are so different that they can never exist together or agree with each other. In fact Kipling meant the complete opposite, as the third and fourth lines say that while two geographic points of the compass will never meet, when two strong men meet the accidents of birth or nationality or race do not matter at all, and the two men are equal.
Too often used by New Agers against people who call them out. Not only will they take the words, they sometimes even changed the pronouns to make it seem that the opponents are admitting to being unscrupulous. At others, they have inserted sentences that readers are supposed to believe were in the original. (The differences in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style are usually obvious to anyone without a vested interest in the doctrines.)
During the height of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing’s popularity in America, the Yaoi Fangirl crowd gleefully quote-mined an interview where director Masashi Ikeda said he didn't write a romance between the show's male and female leads Heero and Relena, citing it as proof that Heero was gay. However, this completely ignores everything else Ikeda said, including that he thought the overarching plot was more important than any romance, admitting that he can't write romance and calling it a personal fault, and saying that he could definitely see Heero and Relena getting together after the war had ended.
“I rise today in support of. . . demagoguery. . . and. . . a lot of misinformation. . . and.. . . denied benefits. . . for. . . people who need it most. . . .”
Shirley Sherrod lost her job at the US Department of Agriculture when a speech she gave in front of the NAACP regarding finding commonality with a white farmer who came to her for help was shown in edited forms that only highlighted her initial negative reaction to the farmer.
Neo-Nazis love to quote John F. Kennedy as having said, "within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived... he had a mystery about him in the way that he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him. He had in him the stuff of which legends are made." You'll notice the "..." where they conveniently left out the part where Kennedy mentioned in the same breath that Hitler had also been, "a menace to the peace of the world."note To be fair, none of those statements are actually false, without or without the omitted phrase. The difference the omitted words make is whether it's taken as a sort of praise or as a statement of fact.
A Voice For Men and Aca Demy frequently pull quotes from Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Mac Kinnon to form the cornerstone of their opposition to feminism, a tactic which overlooks three things: 1) Third-wave feminists have been blasting Mac Kinnon and Dworkin's misandrist segments before it was the cool thing to do; 2) Dworkin and Mac Kinnon still had good things to say about workplace harassment, which was unrelated to their violent tirades on a manless society; 3) Feminism itself is a scholarly field precisely because there are internal disagreements—to generalize them is about as functionally useful as saying "animals eat things."
During the 2012 US presidential election, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying "If you've got a business, you didn't build that...", and the Republican party quickly latched onto it as an apparent attack against American individualism, making "We built it!" their 2012 national convention's Catch Phrase. The line was actually part of a larger speech in which Obama explained why wealthy citizens should pay higher taxes.
Obama: There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn't, look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own... If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.