Is there a word for “a correction that only strengthens the original point”?
On some blog months ago (I know, what a reference, right?), I read someone defending Ayn Rand against the misattributed quote that “a woman shouldn’t be president.” “That’s not what she said at all,” the author said. “What Rand actually said was, no rational woman should want to be President.” And he cited chapter and verse in defense.
Similarly, FactCheck.org (a magnificent website) sent out the following correction in an e-mail today:
The DNC paints McCain as favoring “endless war” in Iraq. What McCain actually said is that he wouldn’t mind a hundred-year troop presence “as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”
I would classify both of these as corrections that don’t improve the original assertion. It’s not like hearing the above explanation of Rand’s views makes her opinion about female presidents more palatable, or hearing that McCain wouldn’t mind a century-long occupation of Iraq under phantasmic conditions makes him sound sane. Each of those so-called corrections make me do a proverbial double-take and say, “So … you concede the point?”
There has to be a word for that sort of correction-that-isn’t. And if we don’t have a word, I turn to you, Internet, to give me one.