Politicians, live stream yourselves!
8 months ago
For a politician, the only thing worse than saying something a lot of people hate is saying something a lot of people hate in secret that later comes out.
1. People want to see what other people don’t want them to see, which makes private gaffes spread faster and farther than public ones. Any editor who has monitored a chartbeat account knows the inherent value of starting a headline with “SECRET VIDEO” or “LEAKED DOCUMENTS” or “LIVE MIC GAFFE.” When I worked closely with the people running Yahoo.com (the biggest news content fire-hose on the planet), I always knew they’d be interested in something if it had that “secret” element. People just can’t help but click on that stuff.
2. People tend to believe that what’s said in private is more real than what’s said in public. For example, many (liberals) are now arguing that this 47% moment reveals the “real” Mitt Romney (which make sense, because it reenforces the narrative they’ve been selling about Romney for months). But Romney wasn’t talking to confidantes, he was talking to his donors, a political constituency if there ever was one. Why do we assume this Romney is more or less “real” than any other? Answer: Because he was talking off the record.
So private-made-public unpopular comments spread faster and stick harder. What to do?
Turn on a camera at all times.
Most of these guys are already in front of a camera for hours a day. Why not just hire a 23-year-old to hold a $300 camera and point it at you to steam to your website any moment in which you’re around more than 25 people? If you already have to assume that someone is recording somehow in any group of non-family members of any size, why not remind yourself with a camera? And why not be able to defang any outcry by being able to point you you made it public intentionally.
The answer, I suppose, may be that in those extra hours of newly public moments may be dozens more small gaffes that may not have been otherwise come to light. Maybe “clinging to guns and religion” and “47 percent” are just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe the downside if those newly public gaffes would outweigh the upside of their lessened sting. It’d be an interesting question to put to campaign staff in post-election interviews.
But when I think back on the last few election cycles, the lasting negative images repeatedly came when they thought they were off camera and off the record (Remember the John Edwards’ hair video? Of course you do.)
So I say let the cameras roll.