Rumsfeld wins on gobbledegook
The Age, December 2, 2003
US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld has won this year's Foot in Mouth award with a spectacular piece of gobbledegook.
His dubious achievement is courtesy of the Plain English Campaign, a British pressure group that lobbies for government, consumer and other public information to be presented in clear, straightforward language.
Judges felt Rumsfeld was speaking as clear as mud when he uttered the following at a press briefing:
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. 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."
Rumsfeld faced tough competition for his Foot in Mouth, including actor-turned-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said: "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman."
The Foot in Mouth award is to be presented at a ceremony in London tomorrow, along with seven Golden Bulls for corporate gobbledygook and laurels for good use of English by government, civil servants and the media.
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