Norman Ornstein has made a career out of giving good quotes. (The picture is from his agent.)
But the danger is like that identified every week by Mythbusters. Don't try this at home. We're what you call experts.
The problem is that the press defines any provocative statement as a "good quote," but those made by experts like Ornstein merely place context in the obvious. In reaching for a good quote, you can easily reopen old wounds, start new controversies, and make yourself foolish at the same time.
Exhibit A. James Governor of Red Monk decided to re-open the (rapidly closing) question of the GPL's legality in order to get into a local magazine, and to suck-up to a potential client, Fortinet.
There's nothing about this "point" on Governor's blog, and Red Monk has issued no press release, although the point is highly provocative. In fact, Governor advertises his willingness to mouth off. "Need a quick reaction to a breaking story? A detailed explanation of the signficance of a recent merger? Whatever your needs, feel free to contact us."
Fine, if you're not just going to throw bombs. And here's where I get in trouble...
I have noticed, as a blogger, that the more provocative my posts the more likely they are to be picked up and responded to.
The temptation, thus, is to be provacative for the sake of being provacative. In fact, some people are making a darned good living at this.
But the problem is that people like Maureen O'Gara either wind up exhibiting a consistent bias, wind up destroying their credibility, or both (like the guy pictured).
What Ornstein does so well is to give good quotes while maintaining credibility. He summarizes what has happened and doesn't make stuff up.
I'd like to do that, but the temptation in the blogosphere is to go for the declarative, provocative, definite (and often misleading) statement. That's the quick way to Bloggy Heaven.
It's also the quick way to Bloggy Hell.