"This wiki is [...] 'stereotyped and trite.' In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are [...] about [...] showing off how snide and sarcastic we can be."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. The act of quote mining is also referred to as 'quoting out of context.' 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. In some circumstances, this can be acceptable, provided the audience knows it's been edited. 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. Sister Trope to Twisting the Words, when they did say the actual quote in question but a crucial nuance or meaning was misrepresented.
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- Advertisers commonly do this to hype critical acclaim for pretty much any product they want to sell.
- 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).
- The marketing for Terminator 3 mined Ebert's review — "'Terminator' is made in the spirit of these slick new action thrillers, and abandons its own tradition to provide wall-to-wall action in what is essentially one long chase and fight, punctuated by comic, campy or simplistic dialogue" — for the blurb, "Wall-to-wall action!" Ebert remarked wryly, "You have to admit 'wall-to-wall action' does accurately describe the film. So does my closing sentence: '...dumbed down for the multiplex hordes.'"
- 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.
- Discussed in this article.
- 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 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.
- To be fair those words have only been a part of the pledge since 1959, the rest of the pledge is considerably older.
- 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!”
Anime And Manga
- In Turn 19 of Code Geass R2, Schneizel pulls this on Lelouch with the latter's Sarcastic Confession to Suzaku of deliberately geassing Euphie to kill the Japanese. When using the recorded conversation as part of a case against Lelouch as Zero to the Black Knights, Schneizel cherry picks the most incriminating words, leaving out the rest of the conversation including Suzaku noting that Lelouch had been lying. This, with the help of some more cursory evidence presented by Villetta with the support of their own Ohgi, leads them to jump straight to the conclusion that Lelouch can't be trusted and must be put down immediately.
- In episode 5 of Sengoku Collection, the documentary filmmaker Morse does this after interviewing Bokuden and others, turning public opinion against the various samurai girls.
- The Golden Age MAD 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..."
- 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!
- In a very early Lois Lane story, a source in a scandal Perry White is investigating offers a prepared statement to Lois, and asks her to witness it by reading it out loud while he records it. But Lois realizes that he's recording only certain words, turning the statement into Lois saying that she saw Perry take bribes. She stops before he can get anything useful, and then takes out the source and several goons with a mop, a bucket, and a candy gun.
- 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."
- 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!
Films — Animation
- 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. They nearly get caught when the tape gets stuck and Ms. Miller (the nanny) hears Dave slurring the words "Mooooooss Moooollurrr" and accuses Dave of being drunk.
Films — Live-Action
- The second live-action Scooby-Doo movie, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, makes use of this. A news reporter (secretly the main villain) takes Fred's comments and remarks out of context to defame the gang. For context...
Fred: Hey! You're doing that thing again where you take everything I say out of context. You're trying to make it look like I think Coolsville sucks! No, don't record that!
- 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
- Richard 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.
- They also used the quote mine of Darwin from The Descent of Man described in the Real Life section.
- Religulous by Bill Maher was caught out in a similar manner to Expelled:
- The interview with scientist Francis Collins was heavily edited to misconstrue Dr. Collins' arguments.
- Maher quotes John Adams as saying "This would be the 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.”
- 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
- 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. Rhodes points out exactly what he's doing before consenting to read the passage, then continues on to the rest of the statement that disagrees with Stern's point over the senator trying to cut him off.
- In You've Got M@il, 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.
- In Live Free or Die Hard, the villains' terror-inducing public message is entirely built out of quotes from presidents ranging from Dwight D. Eisenhower to then President George W. Bush. One of the hackers responsible for the message quips that he should've used more Nixon.
- 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.
- xXx: State of the Union: Secretary Of Defense General Deckert has the President at gunpoint as part of the former's plan to overthrow the U.S. Government. The President asks why Deckert is doing this, to which he responds by quoting Thomas Jefferson selectively and gets called out on it by the President. Which, given the context of the rebel speaking to the leader he's overthrowing, should not be as devastating a retort as it's played as. Shooting himself in the foot really, unless Deckert genuinely thinks of himself as the tyrant in that situation.
General Deckert: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots."President James Sanford: "... and tyrants." That's the end of the quote.
- 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.
- Played with in Batman Returns when Bruce Wayne jams the Penguin's microphone while he's giving his mayoral candidacy speech and then plays a tape of him saying, "Hey, just relax! I'll take care of the squealing, wretched, pinhead puppets of Gotham!" and then "You gotta admit, I played this stinking city like a harp from Hell!" As the crowd starts to become angry, the Penguin insists "I didn't say that" - which, From a Certain Point of View, is true. He didn't say it live, at that very moment, so Wayne's implication that he was saying those words in front of all those people (and obviously, he wouldn't have) was deceptive. But he had said those things the night before, when no one except Batman could hear them...not anticipating that Batman would record them for posterity. So it's an Engineered Public Confession: taken out of context, but not a Frameup either.
- A 2014 documentary called The Principle purports to show astrophysicists arguing in favor of a geocentric universe. However, all the physicists featured in the film were quick to disavow it, claiming they were quote mined and misinformed about the actual agenda of the film. One, Dr. Lawrence Krauss, penned an article for Slate with the withering title "I Have No Idea How I Ended Up In That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary." Even the film's narrator, Kate Mulgrew, says she was misled about the actual content of the film and never would have participated if she had known.
- Casino. Sam Rothstein runs his casino via a front man as he doesn't have a casino license. A journalist keeps probing him on the issue until he admits he is the boss "on a day to day basis". The headlines have a picture of Rothstein saying, "I'M THE BOSS" and a corrupt politician he's alienated uses this to have an investigation launched.
- In the comedy Backfire! (1995), the conniving politician edits our hero's speech with some obvious jump cuts to make it look like he's backing her policies.
- In Ski School (1990), the heroes set up two villainous underlings by having a beautiful woman proposition them (separately) and insist that they answer her questions in complete sentences. They edit the two filmed conversations together into the underlings luridly propositioning each other. While it is pointed out that they are obviously not even in the same room, the shot then cuts to the two of them meeting up in a hotel room, each expecting to find the woman.
- In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the paparazzi take advantage of Smith's naiveté and goad him into making quotes and poses that they print out of context to make him look like a ridiculous rube. He is extremely upset by this.
- 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.
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.
- Luckily, it works both ways:
- 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.
- 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." It's true that Lincoln later rejected such views, but they generally omit that he'd ever held them.
- Done with an In-Universe religious text in the Ciaphas Cain novel Duty Calls. A rogue Ordo Hereticus inquisitor shrugs off shooting desperate civilians who tried use his shuttle to escape a Tyranid attack with the line "The path of duty is often a stony one." Cain is apparently quite fond of that text, recognizes the Quote Mine for what it is, and is furious about it underneath the pleasant poker face he needs to keep up. Amberley Vail's footnote reveals that the latter half of the sentence changes the meaning completely, to mean essentially the opposite:
"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.
- One review of Good Omens included the line "Good Omens is a direct descendant of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a vastly overpraised book or radio program or industry or something that became quite popular in Britain a decade ago when it became apparent that Margaret Thatcher would be in office for some time and that laughs were going to be hard to come by." Despite the reviewer clearly intending it as a negative comparison, the publishers couldn't wait to put "a direct descendant of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" on the cover of the next edition. And, like them or loathe them, it is a fair comparison, so it's one of the less dishonest examples of the trope.
- On his blog, Joe Abercrombie reviewed The Steel Remains, and discussed how publishers asked him to provide a tagline. Abercrombie's tagline was, "“Bold, brutal, and making no compromises – Morgan doesn’t so much twist the cliches of fantasy as take an axe to them. Then set them on fire. Then put them out by pissing on them.” He correctly predicted that the publisher would remove the last part, which rather changes the meaning. Absent that part, the caption sounds like Abercrombie, identified with the "grimdark" fantasy subgenre, is praising a fellow practitioner. However, with that part, the caption reads more as Damning With Faint Praise and indicates Abercrombie's actual opinion (voiced in the review) which is more to the effect that Morgan's book was too grimdark even for him-.
- Honor Harrington: Flag in Exile has this exchange between Honor and a misogynist reactionary Grayson minister who crashes a party at her Steading.
Brother Marchant: You corrupt the Faith by your very presence, by the unclean example and ideas you carry like pestilence! "Beware those who would seduce you, my brothers. Heed not those who would defile the temple of your soul with promises of material things and worldly power, but hold fast to the way of God and be free!"note
Honor: Perhaps you should finish your citation, Sir. I believe that Saint Austin ended that passage with "Shut not your minds to the new because the chains of the past bind you tight, for it is those who cling most desperately to the old who will turn you from the New Way and lead you once more into the paths of the unclean."
- In The Day of the Locust, failed vaudeville clown Harry Greener keeps multiple copies of a mildly positive New York Times review of a performance he gave that ends with the observation, "My first thought was that some producer should put Mr. Greener into a big revue against a background of beautiful girls and glittering curtains. But my second was that this would be a mistake. I am afraid that Mr. Greener, like certain humble field plants which die when transferred to richer soil, had better be left to bloom in vaudeville against a background of ventriloquists and lady bicycle riders." Harry tells the book's protagonist, Tod Hackett, that he took out an advertisement in Variety that reduced this quote to "... some producer should put Mr. Greener into a big revue..."
- 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.
- That '70s Show:
- 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.(later)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.(Kelso hears:)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?
- 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.
- 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 Jerry Seinfeld, 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 Victorious, 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.
- Conan features a recurring bit where Alex Trebek's voice on Jeopardy! is spliced to make him sound completely insane.
- From the Nikita episode "One Way", an example of someone recognizing the Quote Mine (from The Qur'an, specifically) and supplying the next line, which destroys the Quote Miner's point:
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.
- Happens to Gibbs in the NCIS episode "Model Behavior" to make it look like he's cutting an interview short because a reporter asked a potentially compromising question regarding an incident at a marine base. In reality, it was because the reporter spilled Gibbs' coffee.
- The Joe Schmo Show generally avoided this as they wanted to present the Schmoes in a flattering, but still honest light. However, in Joe Schmo 2, they couldn't resist this with a line of Amanda Naughton's in the season finale: "I want money. I want lots of money," used in the promo. The full line, heard in context in the episode itself, was "I want money. I want lots of money. I'd love to live a very rich life, but not at the expense of somebody."
- Used in The Newsroom when they cover the death of Trayvon Martin- Maggie makes the same cut that NBC did (as described in the Real Life section below). She claims that it didn't occur to her that removing the question about what race Trayvon was would have such an effect on the tone of the story and gets in quite a lot of trouble.
- In the Mission: Impossible episode "The Elixir," the team edits a videotape of a dictator suspending free elections into an announcement of her immediate retirement instead.
- Syfy parodies this in their advertisements by inverting it. They blatantly cut and paste their own shows to make it look like the characters are responding to critical praise.
- See an actual scientist or historian on Ancient Aliens? Odds are that they're responding to a neutral question ("Did people once believe gods lived in the sky?") and that's cut in to make it look like it's providing additional support to what the Insane Troll Logic theory of the week is that episode. If they say something sounding like it's explicit support for the premise, odds are that the interview was cut off just before the interviewee said something essentially like "...and some people say that, but it is, of course, bullshit."
- 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 pornNeither should you, they're ethically and spiritually poor, that's a factI don't like black people who risk billions of other people's money gambling on future derivativesIt's just not acceptable, there should be some kind of law, that is that.
Myths & Religion
- 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.
However, the word used in Hebrew, "almah", means "young woman", not a virgin.
- Psalm 14:1 says "The fool has said in his heart 'There is no God'". You often find it used in anti-atheist comments. Problem: the other half of the verse is "They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." The word translated "fool" means someone with no morals, not that people are idiots for not believing in God.
- Matthew 7:1-3. What people quote: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." What they mean: Stop telling me how to live my life based on your views.
- Full quote: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Meaning: Don't be a hypocrite.
- Christians who quote the "eye for an eye" doctrine laid out in Exodus 20:22 are either conveniently forgetting or never learned the part of the Gospel of Matthew (specifically Matthew 5:38-40) where Jesus explicitly repudiated that passage (the "turn the other cheek" remark). See also "Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord" (as in, not yours) in Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19, and also Proverbs 20:22, which lays it out quite clearly:
"Do not take vengeance against evil, but wait for the Lord and He will avenge you."
- In other words, not so much repudiated as saying, "It isn't for you to exact yourself, but a judge. And you may be better off waiting for The Judge, i.e., God." Also, the repayment of an eye is not itself an eye, but the value of an eye.
- Likewise, many verses of The Qur'an are often taken out of context or truncated. A good example is 5:32: "Whoever slays a soul, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men" is often brought to demonstrate how wrong are the terrorists. However the full quotation is "For this reason [the murder of Abel] did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land." Not only is killing allowed for murder but also for those who commit "mischief in the land". And for the extremists, all misbelievers are committing mischief.
- 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!"
- True Capitalist Radio THRIVES on this. It's the MO of most trolls to take anything and everything Ghost says and "splice" it out of context.
- 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 presenting them as review quotes.
'"A breaktaking, original ballet of death." That's the quote. I came up with it while writing CGW's Max Payne 2 cover story a few months ago, and now, because the catchphrase gurus at Rockstar Games decided that "So much like the first game, you may not notice the difference!" might not be the most effective selling point, everywhere I look, those hyperbolic words come back to haunt me. Every friggin' ad for the game, be it in game magazines, general-interest magazines, gaming websites, www.hotcoedshower.com—even the godforsaken game box—has that one single line pulled out as a glowing endorsement of this game. For me, the month following the release of this game has felt like this: A breaktaking, original ballet of death. A breaktaking, original ballet of death. A breaktaking, original ballet of death.
- Max Payne 2 did the same, plastering a line from a preview on the box and every ad for the game. The writer of said preview called them on this a few months after release, pointing out that actual reviews of the actual finished game had plenty of glowing quotes that could have been used in its place, while also noting he'd said similar nice things in previews for games that turned out to be completely terrible, like Daikatana.
But here's the thing—the litter of money pigs encouraging you to line their feeding trough with your dollars is using a line from a preview as if it were from a review, twisting optimistic early speculation and presenting it as if it were a glowing endorsement of the final product. Now, you might think I'm splitting hairs, but there is a huge difference here: it's the difference between commenting on a baby's ultrasound and the finished product. "Beautiful and full of possibility!" can easily turn into "Two heads means double the kisses!" when that joyous bundle is finally released.
- 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 and its sequels use a form of this at the start of each level. The Title In at the start of each level in the first 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
Encryption Enabled. Protocol: Oscar.
- Black Ops 3 uses a variant, where each mission starts out over a black screen with small scrolling text at the bottom from a post-mission write-up. As the text is scrolled through and repeated, random words within it are highlighted and copied over to the corner of the screen for a rather descriptive title-in à la the first Black Ops... and then, like it, everything but the name of the level, who you're with, the location, and the date are erased:
Winslow Accord Black Ops team approved for mission
Mission: Retrieve Egyptian prime minister held in Ethiopia
Date: 21:00Hrs Oct 27th 2065
- 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.
- Parodied on the Steam store page for Undertale. The "Reviews" section contains nothing but negative comments, all sourced to reviews that were actually quite positive and gave the game a perfect 10 rating.
- Ikutsuki of Persona 3 does this to a recording left behind by Eiichiro Takeba, Yukari's father. His original recording was a warning that the Arcana Shadows should not be destroyed. By editing the recording, Ikutsuki is able to manipulate SEES into destroying the Shadows, which ultimately brings forth The Fall.
- 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. It doesn't work on Luna since she's skilled enough at magic to realize that the words were rearranged.
- This Cectic provides an excellent example.
- Henchgirl: Parodies this trope with A Super Family: A Memoir being reviewed as, "A...near-perfect example of...what...to do...when writing...a...book...Great" - BB Bowl, The AV Clob.
- Precocious: Ursula accidently does this to herself here due to a case of Is This Thing On?.
- 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.
- 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 embarrassing 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.
- Obama Admits He Is A Muslim. The whole thing is a quote mine. Some people won't listen to logic.
- Cassetteboy uses this in their approach to plunderphonics, making them veritable masters at it. Watch as they tear apart BBC News and put it together in their own fashion.
- 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.
- 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:
- Parodied in this Lasagna Cat video, in relation to the Garfield Live 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.
- Troper Ronka 87 did a liveblog of Dingo Pictures' Mockbuster Anastasia. Her hyperbolic, vitriolic summation of the movie was then put on the company's quotes page, where troper Willy Four Eyes quote mined it to hilarious effect here.
- This Harry Potter Fan Art.
- Delete Censorship's intro shows what can come from quote mining the First Amendment.
- 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.
- The Cracked article "5 Despicable Things People Do for Good Online Reviews" lists this practice under #2.
- In this article by David Wong: "Hitler was right" and "Hitler...was saving the world".
- Submission.info, a website on Islam, frequently directly calls out Islamic radicals on quote-mining The Qur'an. Among other things this page notes that, in context, a line from 4:101 purportedly saying that unbelievers are the enemy is actually an innocuous statement that it's okay to be practical and cut your daily prayers short if you expect attack.
- The Wiiviewer suspects that the "...8 out of 10" quote from Play magazine that appears on the front cover of the Nintendo Wii game Furu Furu Park is this, given the overall quality of the game.
- The second season of The Black Tapes opens with paranormal skeptic Dr. Richard Strand accusing host Alex Regan of misrepresenting him in this way, citing her leaving out revisions he made to an initial statement or omitting everything he said to try and explain a specific case. Alex justifies her decisions as judgement calls made to keep views balanced and leaving out instances of Strand being too didactic by either leaving too much room for coincidence or having "logical explanations" she felt were just as far-fetched as any paranormal theory would be.
- The Simpsons:
- There was an episode where Marge writes a book, at one point the publishers phone different authors to get quotes for the cover. Tom Clancy's Repeating so the Audience Can Hear is his downfall:
- In the season 6 episode "Homer Badman", Homer was accused of sexual harassment and went on a talk show to give his side of the story. The interview that aired cut up his comments to make it sound like he was admitting guilt... then apparently starts taking his anger out on the host. It was done in an incredibly obvious and poor fashion as well, with really obvious jumps and things changing in the background — and people still bought it. Those things included a very prominent clock which jumps around between hours, despite the whole interview taking minutes. Then at the end, when the show has to broadcast a correction, they show it so fast it was almost a Blipvert.
Quoted for truth: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.)
- Steven Universe: The magic mirror in "Mirror Gem" is only able to play back what it's witnessed, so it cuts together recordings to communicate. At first it simply pulls entire quotes and replays them in different contexts, but as Steven spends more time with it, it starts to splice together several people's words to make unique sentences.
- Fairly Oddparents
- In "The Boy Who Would Be Queen", Timmy tries to figure out a gift Trixie would like. Cosmo mockingly suggests he could only figure it out if he used a wish to make himself a girl. Both laugh at the idea so obnoxiously that Wanda goes ahead and does it anyway, justifying herself with some very selective hearing of Timmy's line "Like I'd wish I was a girl!"
- In "The Switch Glitch", Vicky blackmails Timmy with a recording where he introduces himself, then a clearly different voice says "[I] cheated on my math test". Timmy's reply, "What? I never cheated on my math test!" becomes "I... cheated on my math test!". After turning Vicky even younger than him, Timmy turns the tables on her with the same tactic, making a fake recording where she says "I... stole from my mom's purse!" He does it again to resolve the plot by having Vicky read "I'm happy and I don't need my Fairy Godparents anymore" off of a note.
- 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 Partner's 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.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", Spike does this when he's writing Rainbow Dash's "autobiography":
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.
- Cartoon Network began using these as promotional bumps during commercial breaks, throwing together single words from just about every show they have before ending on an unexpected punch line.
Random Characters: If.. You're... Happy... And... You... Know... It.Benson: GET BACK TO WORK!!!
Random Characters: If.. You're... Happy... And... You... Know... It.
- 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.
- Superman: The Animated Series: Angela Chen does this to Jimmy Olsen during "Superman's Pal." The poor kid suspects nothing, but the next morning the manipulated 'interview' finds its way onto TV.
- In the final episode of Beast Wars, Megatron mocks Optimus Primal's attempts to stop him by quoting the Codex of Primus, which stated that "the hero would not prevail". Optimus reminds Megatron of the rest of the quote, "...nor would he surrender!"
- In the Archer episode "Viscous Coupling", the title character tries a complicated Quote Mining ploy to win back his old girlfriend, Katya. Her boyfriend, Barry, is stuck on a space station; she asks Archer (a famed spy) to save him. To break them up, Archer enlists his scientist friend Dr. Krieger and records his and Barry's conversations about rocketing back home. He manipulates them to sound like admissions of infidelity:
Barry's voice: Archer...I am...screwing...female...scientists up here...all of them?
- 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. It's true that she was (like most people then) somewhat racist and supported eugenics (which was more-or-less mainstream science back then). Regardless of this, her own accounts say she had first advocated birth control after seeing women die from illegal abortions. Eugenics came later. It is simply an association fallacy to use her views against the Planned Parenthood of today.
- 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 Congressional election was the Democratic candidate Alan Grayson portraying his Florida 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.
- Al Gore is commonly characterized by his opponents as a pompous self-aggrandizer, with the most common accusation being that he claimed to have invented the Internet. The actual quote is "I took the initiative in creating the internet." In context, he's talking about his time as a senator when he championed and funded ARPANet, the government network that eventually became the internet.
- After George Zimmerman shot Treyvon Martin, NBC News ran a piece with the 911 call from Zimmerman with a sound bite of him saying "He looks up to no good. He looks black". In fact, they'd omitted some key audio—after he said "he looks up to no good", the 911 operator asked him "Is he white, black, or Hispanic?" Naturally, NBC claimed this was unintentional, as if there was any way to accidentally delete specific audio from the middle of a police recording. And naturally, Zimmerman is suing them for it.
- 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.
- Former 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 position by means of his extremely tight control of the Conservative spin machine. The pot calling the kettle black?
- A more meta example: there was a certain period of Imperial China—namely that of Spring and Autumn and that of Warring States—when diplomatic language relied on quote mining from a certain collection of poems.
- 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 sermon against 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."
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
This particular quote mine is so infamous that even creationist sites like Answers In Genesis advice against using it.
- 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."
- "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. The entire poem is an argument against the idea.
- 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.
- In his "QT" column, Zay N. Smith often plays this for laughs by obviously and blatantly misquoting political figures (Rush Limbaugh is a favorite target):
“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. Fortunately, after realizing that they were duped, the Department offered Sherrod her old job back, and Sherrod pursued legal action against Breitbart which posted the edited videos.
- Not only that, Breitbart, the conservative website which posted the videos, has a history of selectively editing footage to discredit their socially progressive political opponents, and another one of their edited hit pieces led to the federal defunding of ACORN, an organization dedicated to helping those from from low socioeconomic backgrounds with their social issues such as health, housing, voter registration. Two conservative activists posed as pimp and prostitute, and under false pretenses, secretly recorded conversations with ACORN employees, and selectively edited them to make it appear as if the employees were aiding them to break the law. James O'Keefe, the activist responsible for recoding the footage, was later forced to release the unedited footage since California law prohibits recording people without their consent, but by that stage, the damage was already done.
- 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
- 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 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.
- FBI Director James Comey was fired based on a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein which does this heavily. Immediately after a reference to Comey's July 2016 press conference where he announced that he would not seek charges against Hillary Clinton, the memo quotes many former White House officials saying that Comey's "decision" was a mistake and showed bad judgment. Most of those people were not referring to that press conference, but to Comey's later decision to announce the finding of more E-mails, which was widely believed to sway voters away from Hillary in the final week of the campaign. That was the official reason, anyway; according to Comey he was fired for unrelated reasons and the whole affair is now the subject of multiple official inquiries.
- During the Amazon and Hachette dispute over ebook prices, Amazon ran afoul of George Orwell's estate when its attack post against Hachette compared the dispute to the publishers' fight with Penguin Books over the then-new paperback format, and quoted Orwell as calling for its abolition by saying, "if publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them." The full quote runs: "The Penguin books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them." In other words, it was an ironic comment supporting the paperback format, not opposing it. The irony of twisting Orwell's words around like what the Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984 does was pointed out not only by the estate, but by anyone even remotely familiar with him.
- Some atheists, agnostics and humanists, including Bill Maher, like to quote John Adams' as saying "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.", which was actually a sarcastic comment.
Adams: Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on 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 would have been as fanatical as [Lemuel] Bryant or [Joseph] Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.
- Due to the rather divisive opinions about him in the west, Karl Marx is probably second only to Jesus Christ for most quote-mined man in history:
- Some communists recite the bare bones of the "historical materialist" theory like it's divine gospel, while anti-Marxists deride it as a cultlike belief system. Marx, however, considered it merely a guideline for European historical analysis, nothing more. He rejected teleological interpretations and especially warned against exporting it to underindustrialized countries that couldn't sustain it, though he wrote that in the third part of the Communist Manifesto, "Socialist and Communist Literature", and after the hot spicy bourgeois-on-proletariat action of the first two chapters, everybody's too worn out to read what sounds like a book review.
- The infamous "opium of the masses" quote is often used as a justification to abolish religion by force. Whereas in its original context, it meant that the cruelty of the world fueled the desire for the hope religion offers, and that if that cruelty is removed, religion will gradually fade away of its own accord. It's also relevant that opioids were used medicinally at the time, and still are: it could be interpreted to mean that religion is necessary in small doses as, effectively, pain relief, but if overdosed or abused it can wreak havoc.
- "Abolition of the family!" is a line from the Communist Manifesto that is often quoted out of context as proof of an anti-family agenda, whereas it's actually a paraphrase of his critics. He and Engels go on to say they are against the family as an economic relationship for private gain, not that they want to take everybody's kids away (except for a little thing we now call "public education").
- His invectives against private property are often quote-mined to "prove" that he wanted to take away everything that you personally own (or, in the case of some communist regimes, that everything you own should be taken away). What isn't quoted is the part of the "Communist Manifesto" wherein he and Engels explain that private property refers only to the means of production, i.e. factories, and that they fully support people personally owning the products of those factories.
- "Dictatorship of the proletariat" is often taken to mean a literal dictatorship by a communist party, but in The Civil War in France it's explained as merely an armed militia of the working class who very clearly express their wishes to their elected officials (which Marx was in favor of), not dissimilar to the idea behind the Second Amendment in the United States.
- A very common quote mine specific to Germany is to use Ernst Reuter's supposed quote (translated): "People of the world, look at this city[...]." and showing some random achievement and shots of Berlin for the propaganda... ahem, documentary purpose of supporting whatever supposedly positive thing the western powers did after World War II. The full quote goes: "People of the world, look at this city and realize that you cannot and must not sell out this city and this people." which was criticizing plans of whatever was supposed to happen to Germany and Berlin in particular, as one such plan involved turning Germany into unindustrial grass land.
- Writer A.A. Dowd details his experience being quote mined in this editorial. The back of the Canadian DVD for Accidental Love quotes him saying that the film is "A comedic masterstroke." The actual quote in context from his C- review was: "To be fair to whoever refashioned Accidental Love from the abandoned scraps of Nailed, there’s little reason to believe that the ideal, untroubled version of the material would have been a comedic masterstroke."
- A promotional poster for Legend (2015) managed to do this with a star rating: The poster depicts its stars, Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy, standing in front of positive ratings for the movie... But apparently they couldn't quite find enough four or five star ratings to make the effect symmetrical enough, so they slipped in a two star review from The Guardian by positioning it in such a way that it looked like 4 or 5 stars partially blocked by the two Hardys in the foreground. The reviewer remarked, "Incredible way of making my two star review seem like I didn't hate the film."
- In 2015, David Cameron (and previously The Sun) attempted to discredit the left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by claiming that he had said that the death of Osama Bin Laden was "a tragedy". The actual tragedy that Corbyn had been referring to was that Bin Laden was assassinated instead of being captured and put on trial. The Prime Minister was widely ridiculed when the truth came to light. For a time it even became a minor meme to attribute the quote "The death of Osama Bin Laden was a tragedy" to Cameron.
- This is a very common tactic for The Sun, in fact, usually extending to whatever person they feel like discrediting. Jeremy Corbyn is a frequent target (one example was him saying how he would never go to war, with the quotes omitting the minor prefix of in an ideal world...).
- Quote mining is a fairly common tactic for Fundamentalist Christians when they claim that things like books and games are Satanic and trying to turn your kids evil. Usually, this is done by taking something the villain said or did, ignoring the fact that they are the villain, and then claiming that the work is promoting the villain's philosophy rather than condemning it. Just goes to show how much research they bother do before demonizing whatever happens to be popular.
- This is key to a new phone-scamming tactic in which a caller simply asks if you can hear them and if you say "yes," they record that, splice it with a recording of something else, and pretend that you used it to authorize a charge or something. Apparently this actually works, even though any idiot examining it ought to know that it should be obviously easy to do this. Though it might have to do with the fact that people often don't think to check their bank or card statements for fraudulent stuff like this and therefore it never actually gets examined.