A political gaffe is an error made by a politician that is reported to the public. When made by a politician who is campaigning for office or party leadership, they can affect standings in polls. While in office the opposition can refer to them in governmental debates over policy. Gaffes can be defined and segregated into different types, according to their various shapes and forms. Such classification has consequence as they differ as to their significance.
Gaffes can be overplayed by the media as side stories to more important issues at the time. David Wong postulates that the mere presence of the word "gaffe" in a headline is an indicator that the article is neither worth reading nor contributes to intelligent political discussion.
Kinsley gaffe 
A Kinsley gaffe is when a political gaffe reveals some truth that a politician didn't intend to admit. The term comes from journalist Michael Kinsley, who said, "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth - some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."
Typically, it refers to a politician inadvertently saying something publicly that they legitimately believe is true but have not fully analyzed the consequences of publicly stating such. Another definition is that they privately believe it to be true, realize the dire consequences of saying it, and inadvertently uttering in public the unutterable. Another alternative definition is a politicians saying what is on his/her mind— this may or may not be inadvertent— thereby leading to a ritualized 'gaffe dance' between candidates. While exhibiting umbrage or shock, and playing on the mistake, the 'offended candidate' must not exhibit anything resembling glee. A propensity to concentrate on so-called 'gaffes' in campaigns has been criticized as a journalistic device that can lead to distraction from real issues.[A] The Kinsley gaffe is said to be a species of the genera 'political gaffe.'
Kinsley himself posed the question: "Why should something a politician says by accident automatically be taken as a better sign of his or her real thinking than something he or she says on purpose?"
The New York Times's term Kinsley gaffe does not differentiate between intentional and inadvertent (accidental) truth-telling, some of which may be "excited utterances"'. [B]
Memorable gaffes by country 
- "Air pollution is the smell of money" – Philip Gaglardi.
- Pierre Trudeau and the fuddle duddle incident, 1971
- Jacques Parizeau's 'money and the ethnic vote' speech, 1995
- Peter MacKay calling his ex-girlfriend Belinda Stronach a dog after she joined the opposition party.
- "Evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet" - Ontario general election, 2003
Great Britain 
- John Major calling some of his cabinet ministers bastards.
- Gordon Brown referring to a member of the public as a "bigoted woman".
United States 
- The Gerald Ford Soviet Domination answer.
- "I see nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained" -- Jimmy Carter
- The Jimmy Carter "Lust in the Heart" interview 
- We begin bombing in five minutes. – A joke by Ronald Reagan in a sound check prior to his weekly radio address that was later leaked
- The Vision thing
- Legitimate rape, Todd Akin, United States Senate election in Missouri, 2012
- 47% speech by Mitt Romney
See also 
- ". . . the episode is a perfect gaffe precisely because its content was so meaningless. . ." Chait, Jonathan (June 14, 2012). "The Origins of the Gaffe, Politics’ Idiot-Maker". New York Magazine. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- However, legally speaking at least, an excited utterance is defined as a spontaneous reaction to a "startling event made under the stress and excitement" arising therefrom. Given that, the unfiltered declaration is deemed to be reliable and an exception to the hearsay rule. Garner, Brian A., Editor in Chief, (1999). Black's Law Dictionary (7 ed.). St. Paul, MN USA: West Publishing. p. 585. ISBN 0314199500.
- "Definition for gaffe - Oxford Dictionaries Online (World English)". Oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Reagan jokes about bombing Russia — History.com This Day in History — 8/11/1984". History.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "CBC News In Depth: Canadian government". Cbc.ca. 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- Amira, Dan (June 14, 2012). "A Taxonomy of Gaffes". New York Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2012. Text "location-New York, NY USA" ignored (help)
- "Jimmy Carter explains ‘rabbit attack’ – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- Wong, David (April 30, 2012). "5 Ways to Spot a B.S. Political Story in Under 10 Seconds". Cracked.com. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- Webster, Merriam (June 3, 1972). "Merriam Webster definition of Gaffe". Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- Goddard, Taegan. "Kinsley Gaffe". Taegan Goddard's Political Dictionary. Political Wire. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- Kinsley, Michael (April 23, 1988), Commentary: The gaffer speaks, The Times
- Friedman, Nancy (August 22, 2011). "Word of the Week: Kinsley Gaffe". Fritinancy. Archived from the original on April 10, 2012.
- McKim, Brian; Skene, Tracy (January 17, 2012). Brill makes a "Kinsley gaffe". Shecky Magazine.com. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Smajda, Jon (October 23, 2008). "Michael Kinsley on the ritual of the gaffe". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Kinsley, Michael (March 6, 2012). "Kinsley: Limbaugh and the hypocrisy of the gaffe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- The Tyee 2010-10-21 retrieved 2011-04
- "ABCBookWorld". ABCBookWorld. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "MacKay denies referring to Stronach as a dog - Canada - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "UK | Curse of the open mic". BBC News. 2001-01-29. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- M.J. Stephey (2011-06-13). "Gerald Ford, 1976 - TIME's Top 10 Gaffes and Mistakes in Political Debates". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Candidate Carter: I apologize".
- "Jimmy Carter's 'Lust in the Heart' Playboy Interview". Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
Further reading 
- Michael Kinsley quotations at Brainy Quote.
- Amira, Dan (June 14, 2012). "A Taxonomy of Gaffes". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 22, 2012. Text "location-New York, NY USA" ignored (help)
- Chait, Jonathan (June 14, 2012). "The Origins of the Gaffe, Politics’ Idiot-Maker". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 22, 2012.