Plain English Campaign baffled by defense chief’s comment
LONDON, Dec. 1 — A particularly curious statement by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s at a press briefing won him an unexpected honor on Monday. Rumsfeld, usually renowned for his uncompromising tough talking, was awarded the “Foot in Mouth” award for a baffling message which probably left his audience in the dark, Britain’s Plain English Campaign said.
“REPORTS THAT say something hasn’t happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there are things we know we know,” Rumsfeld told the briefing.
“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
John Lister, spokesman for the campaign which strives to have public information delivered in clear, straightforward English, said, “We think we know what he means. But we don’t know if we really know.”