In ordinary life, we know that the word “gaffe” means an inconvenient truth. If your SO asks “does this make me look fat” or “can I get away with a combover” the true answer is almost certainly a gaffe (if not, they wouldn’t have asked).
In politics, some avoidance of inconvenient truths is inevitable for much the same reasons. Ambitious upstarts have to say somethng along the lines of “I love and respect our leader” and patient leaders have to say “Colleague X is doing a great job” until the day the knife or axe is ready for use. In matters of this kind, no-one expects truthfulness.
But, as used by the MSM, the term “gaffe” means inconvenient speaking of the truth about policy questions. the latest instance is the statement by Queensland Liberal leader Bruce Flegg that recycled water is safe, and that, given the uncertainty of future rainfall, there is little choice but to go for recycling.
The first statement is supported by overwhelming evidence, and the second by any reasoned assessment of the situation. But because the Nationals are bidding for the support of the large segment of the public with irrational fears on the topic, and Labor is ducking the issue with proposals for a referendum, Flegg’s statment of the plain truth is a gaffe.