Draw any JW's attention to Watchtower's history of false predictions and invariably, somewhere down the line of the conversation, the JW will tell you that Watchtower never claimed to be an inspired prophet and therefore cannot be accused of being a false prophet. But is it really true that Watchtower has never claimed to be an inspired prophet?
Technically speaking, the answer is yes - I think (if I'm wrong I'd love to see the quote). So far as I'm aware they have never explicitly stated that they're an inspired prophet. But here's the thing: communication is not always direct and explicit. A person can deliberately communicate an idea to you in an indirect manner without speaking explicitly. This might be done, for example, through the use of insinuations.
Watchtower is aware of this. In fact, Watchtower uses this very principle of indirect communication to hold Satan guilty of disparaging God's motives. Watchtower claims that Satan communicated to Eve the idea that God lied to her and that he is selfishly withholding the benefits of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad from her and her husband. Satan never explicitly told Eve that God is a liar. Yet, Watchtower interprets his words to Eve as insinuating as much and on that basis JWs say that Satan proved to be a slanderer who disparaged God's character and motive. So if Satan can be guilty of saying something merely by insinuating it, then why can't the same be said of Watchtower? Doesn't the Watchtower organization insinuate that it's an inspired prophet?
Yes, it does. Watchtower claims to be the channel that God is using at this time. There are multiple instances in their literature, both old and new, where they clearly communicate the idea that God is today directing his people through the organization. They have even explicitly referred to themselves as being God's modern day prophet! They will only deny the qualification of "inspired" being added to the mix. No JW can honestly deny that the organization is a collective prophet of God. They will only deny that it is, or ever claims to be, an inspired prophet.
But here's the thing: The organization also touts itself as being God's "spirit-directed organization". To be inspired is to be directed by God's spirit. So if one claims to be spirit directed, he is in fact saying, in other words, that he is inspired! How can anyone claim to be God's sole spirit-directed channel, appointed by God to teach and direct his people, and repeatedly use this claim to elicit unquestioning obedience and deference to him and his teachings, but then turn around and say he never claimed to be an inspired prophet? Such a person would have to either be dishonest or confused.
So in a round-about way the Watchtower organization is claiming to be an inspired prophet by arrogantly portraying itself as having a role that fits the profile of an inspired prophet. They are doing this to get JWs to treat them like a prophet - to give them the same obedience and deference that bible characters gave to the inspired prophets of the bible. They want the prestige and authority that inspired prophets of the bible had. But at the same time they explicitly deny that they're inspired prophets. Why? Because they don't want the scrutiny and the judgment that comes to those who prove to be false prophets. They say they are not inspired prophets so that they can later use those words to weasel out of being labeled a false prophet when their predictions and teachings prove them to be such. Watchtower is essentially being duplicitous for the sake of expedience.
Do not let JWs get away with saying that Watchtower never claimed to be an inspired prophet. That is a trivial and irrelevant technicality because Watchtower's own descriptions of itself in its literature over the years, matches the profile of an inspired prophet.