The Political Transparency Project

As we were casting around for material to experiment with we noticed a number of the political speeches that we encountered were either not transcribed or, in many cases, transcribed incorrectly.

The following is a list of links noting intentional transcription errors found by media outlets:

https://www.investors.com/politics/columnists/obama-transcript-changed-obama-words/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white-house-omitted-line-iran-briefing-transcript-abc/story?id=39591852

https://www.mediaite.com/online/fox-news-reporter-grills-white-house-over-edited-iran-briefing-transcript/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/white-house-anthony-scaramucci-donald-trump-transcript-change-putting-skills-golf-30ft-a7865121.html

http://golfweek.com/2017/07/28/white-house-adjusts-transcript-to-clarify-donald-trumps-golfing-ability/

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/white-house-adjusts-transcript-to-make-sure-you-know-president-trump-can-make-more-than-tap-ins

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/politics/virgin-islands-president-donald-trump/index.html

We decided we could take two birds with one stone by creating accessible and captioned media of political speeches currently not captioned, as well as providing a correct transcript of the text for indexing.

While we don’t believe poor transcription is intentional, these excerpts from George Orwell’s Animal Farm do come to mind.

Animal Farm by George Orwell, Page 22.

After much thought Snowball declared that the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely:

‘Four legs good, two legs bad’. This, he said, contained the essential principle of Animalism. Whoever had thoroughly grasped it would be safe from human influences.

FOUR LEGS GOOD, TWO LEGS BAD, was inscribed on the end wall of the barn, above the Seven Commandments and in bigger letters. When they had once got it by heart the sheep developed a great liking for this maxim, and often as they lay in the field they would all start bleating ‘Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!’ and keep it up for hours on end, never growing tired of it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell, Page 67.
But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of– ‘Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!’

Benjamin felt a nose nuzzling at his shoulder. He looked round. It was Clover. Her old eyes looked dimmer than ever. Without saying anything she tugged gently at his mane and led him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written. For a minute or two they stood gazing at the tarred wall with its white lettering.

‘My sight is failing,’ she said finally. ‘Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?’

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

While The Closed Captioning Project LLC serves to experiment and provide accessibility, The Political Transparency Project serves to remind us that accurate transcription matters because there may be a time when inaccurate transcription is intentional.

All transcription is backed up for future use by The Internet Archive, The Wayback Machine, https://archive.org/web/