Thursday, September 17, 2009


The look on the female anchor's face is priceless.

Come check out clips like this at The Atlanta Press Club's Gorilla Ball Saturday night! (Well, maybe not exactly like this)


Man, working is really interfering with my blogging. Silly job!

So, I'm sure everyone has heard all they want to hear about Kanye West and Taylor Swift, but of course, I have to throw my two cents in.

I flip-flopped about doing this post because... well, because of what I'm about to talk about. I don't want to be part of the problem, but like any skilled journalist, I'm going to avoid responsibility for what I write by using the "attribution" technique.

For those of you not in the know, "attribution" as the name implies, is where you report on something someone else said and basically put all the responsibility of the content onto someone else. It's the journalistic equivalent of gossip. Often, it's legit, such as, "Police said that so-and-so killed someone." Because a journalist couldn't possibly have that information independently and certainly shouldn't be making accusations like that, right? But often, it's abused. I intend to abuse it in such a fashion right now.

In the wake of the VMA's, President Obama sat down for an interview with CNBC. According to TMZ, before the interview began, Obama was asked how he felt about the Kanye incident. The audio of his response can be heard here on

If you listen to that clip, it is apparent that Obama meant for his comments to be off the record. There are ethical guidelines that dictate that when a person requests to be off the record, a journalist should honor that. It is critical in getting sources to trust you. Typically, if you are given information off the record, then you have to go out and find another source to collaborate the information. Sure, it's inconvenient, but it's the honest and decent thing to do. See the Valarie Plame incident for more on this.

Well, the audio and eventually the video of the Obama incident was leaked, presumably by someone working for CNBC or someone else in the Presidential press pool. The person that leaked it is clearly some jackass with no journalistic ethics, but the larger problem here is the TMZ published it. While not exactly known for their ethical conduct, there was seemingly little to no backlash about this and it's worrisome that in this age of new media, the tried and true code of conduct is slipping away.

Yes, I realize that I'm blogging about it right now and I see the irony.

Since the vast majority of people seem to agree with Obama's assessment of Kanye, he's not really getting any backlash over this, but the point is that it was off the record and no one should have ever heard it. There are those that might say that the President should never be off the record. That every aspect of his life should be available for public scrutiny, but I disagree. I actually found this particular clip quite endearing, but I should never have heard it.

There is certainly a mistrust of media and having worked in PR, I understand this even more. I am all too aware of watching what I say when I have a mic on and Obama should certainly be experienced enough to do the same, but when it all comes down to it, we are all just people and when, as a spokesperson, I ask to rephrase something I just said or ask not to be quoted and they agree, I expect them to respect that agreement. It's common. Very common and frequently done. When someone breaches that agreement like that, it gives us all reason to worry.