Few of us speak in beautifully crafted paragraphs with nary an “uh,” “um,” “you know” or the ubiquitous “like.” Few journalists include such utterances when quoting folks—unless they are trying to convey something more than the subject of the sentence quoted. I recently saw a quote by Sarah Palin’s daughter in which she said the word “like” four times inside of about 25 words.
"I remember sitting on the couch with one of my best friends and Levi, and I just couldn’t spit it out. I was like, ‘Mom, Mom.’ I was bawling my eyes out. She was like, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I was like, ‘I’m pregnant.’ And she was like" — Bristol stops and mimics a gasp — "Oh my God. Holy crap. But once that part was over with and Tripp was here, it was just like, this baby is a blessing."
The quote, I’m sure, was meant in part to embarrass her for her speaking style.
But since so many people use such phrases, including “you know,” often, it sticks out when a reporter includes the phrase when it adds no meaning to the sentence. For example:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that Obama "wanted to make sure as much as possible that if people had plans that they liked they got to keep them and balance that with, you know, some overall protection for consumers."
“You know” adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence. Are you telling me that every time someone utters that phrase, Washington Post reporters print the quote with the phrase? If not, when is it proper to include it?