Friday, March 07, 2008

Guess she's going to Monster.com about now

Obama aide quits after calling Hillary Clinton "a monster"

An adviser to Barack Obama has resigned after a Scottish newspaper quoted her calling rival US Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton "a monster."

Samantha Power has expressed "deep regret" over the comments and said she had tried to retract them. The Scotsman newspaper quoted Ms Power as saying: "She is a monster, too - that is off the record - she is stooping to anything."

Well, I certainly won't defend such a remark (Hillary does stoop to anything at times, but that doesn't make her a monster so much as a politician...hard to tell which epithet is worse these days). But if it was said off the record, then the journalist violated a basic tenet of the profession by reporting it. I've conducted plenty of interviews, and it's up to both interviewer and interviewee to know where to draw the line. It's not a matter of suppressing a statement that someone might regret later - Trent Lott comes to mind - but about understanding that a statement may not reflect what someone actually thinks, or is otherwise spoken in confidence.

There's a profound difference between reporting the truth and what was probably some frustrated comment. Kind of how I lose my head after some Saints games: "I hope Brian Urlacher gets in a car accident on the way home, that piece-of-crap Neanderthal Bearsfuhrer!" I don't actually hope that he gets in an accident on the way home, but it sure sounds that way when I say it. And if, by chance, Chris Berman passes by, then I'm likely to headline SportsCenter: "Deranged Saints fan calls for Urlacher's death." In that case, the responsible thing to do is to let it go as the trash-talk that it is.

On the other hand, anyone representing the front-running presidential campaign in the United States should also be perhaps a bit cautious, especially to a foreign press; after all, they actually report stuff Americans may not like to hear. So, to ironically quote Ari Fleischer, "watch what you say." And, reporters, please avoid the sensationalism. Isn't the Obama-Clinton duel sensational enough?

7 comments:

rhonda said...

eh, slippery slope. although i do understand that this person probably should have been more careful about what she let slip from her lips, i ultimately think that the fact that the aide made the comment OFF the record should take precedence over the banal little comment itself.

USpace said...

Firing Powers was a mistake, Obama has shown himself to be subservient to the PIAPS.
Great post. Obama’s aide was right. Hillary is a monster. Of course not the same kind of monster as Hitler, Mao or Stalin, but a monster nonetheless.
.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't call monsters monsters

never expose their evil
never upset a monster


.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
claim to care for people

call yourself progressive
your policies hurt poor folk


.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
elect women presidents

who cover for their husbands
who rape other women


.
if you’re MAD
punish your country
VOTE for Hillary

.
http://www.hillaryproject.com/

Go here and watch ‘The Hillary Show’ with Howard Dean. It’s Hillarious!

http://www.stophernow.com/

http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/

:)
.

Ian McGibboney said...

Um...what?

yournamehere said...

Is it too late for Al Gore to enter the race?

E.J. said...

didn't realize "monster" was an epithet meriting the loss of one's job. politicians are called much worse on a daily basis, by one another! that reporter needs to be blackballed or made to give his paycheck to the Obama aide until she finds a new gig.

Terry Troll said...

Having a son in the newspaper business for many years I am clear on the fact that you cannot make a statement, realize you screwed up, say "off the record' and not be quoted. That is what happened here. The reporter was doing her job. If you want off the record you do it before any statements you don't want quoted. This was not the first aide,on either side, to go down and won't be the last.

Ian McGibboney said...

Terry, I understand your point, having dealt with it myself. But there's a difference between someone speaking deliberately at a public meeting and then telling a reporter that all his remarks are off the record (some guy actually tried this on me) and someone expressing a remark out of obvious frustration and saying, whoops. The staffer may have been wrong to say that, but the reporter also made more of a deal of it than was wise for the story. And I guarantee you that every staffer for every campaign has said far worse.