Hypothetically Speaking

In our media training courses we always advise people to try to avoid answering hypothetical questions.  They often lead to the kind of inappropriate quote in the finished article, which people complain has been ‘taken out of context’.  Sometimes they can even lead to really inaccurate headlines – for example if an economist were to agree to the suggestion that ‘if interest rates doubled, it would be a disaster for the housing market’ it could then lead to the headline “expert warns of  looming housing market crash”, which may not be what he thought was actually going to happen at all.  Instead he could have avoided the unlikely hypothetical altogether and said something like “I think interest rates are much more likely to remain steady, and on that basis …”