We are requesting a correction to a misquotation that has been printed twice in your newspaper, in US Embassy denies meeting with Duterte and US slams Duterte. The reporter, Michael DeLizo, wrote, “He hinted though that ‘continuity is better than change,’” to imply that Ambassador Goldberg was making an endorsement of Mar Roxas in the Philippine presidential elections.
This quotation is not only incorrect, but has also been purposefully and irresponsibly misunderstood. The Ambassador actually said, “Continuity tends to be greater than change in these circumstances.” As is standard in colloquial American English, he used the word “greater” to describe magnitude, not preference; using the word “better” in its place was poor journalism and did not make sense. The quotation was also presented completely out of context, since Ambassador Goldberg was referring to qualities of a bilateral relationship during and after an election, not the qualities of any candidate in the Philippine presidential election. I have included the relevant segment of the transcript below, and have a video recording of the entire interview, if you should require it.
Ambassador Goldberg was referring to trends in foreign policy, stating that when there is a transition of leadership on either side of a strong bilateral relationship such as ours, the continuity of the relationship is greater, i.e. more significant, than the change that happens through change of leadership. He was clearly not hinting about preference for any candidate. He was stating that regardless of the candidate who wins, the relationship will remain continuous more than it will change. The Ambassador’s actual message is an important basic tenet of U.S. foreign policy in the Philippines, and it is very unfortunate that your newspaper misquoted and misconstrued it to imply the opposite.
Acting Press Attaché
US Embassy, Manila