What the Obamaphone Woman Video ACTUALLY teaches us.

So, via Erick I see that the Atlantic is having a tizzy – or possibly an episode – over this Obamaphone Woman video…



Oh, dear: wrong video. Can’t imagine how that got in there. Here’s the real one.



Now, let’s just shoot the ‘it’s a racist video!’ argument in the head; it is not racist to videotape someone acting like an idiot. Even if that person is acting in a manner that might confirm various and sundry unfavorable stereotypes… which is to say, again, ‘acting like an idiot.’ If the cameraman had spliced together twenty different clips to make the woman sound like a stereotype: yes, racism. If the cameraman had hired the woman in the clip to do a bad imitation of said stereotypes: yes, racism. If the cameraman simply filmed the woman opening her mouth and sticking her own foot into it… not racism, sorry. When one side acts badly, it is not the obligation of the other side to avert their eyes.

And there’s the lesson for today: what the Obamaphone Woman Video ACTUALLY teaches us is the importance of keeping control over your protest’s messaging. See, what happened here was a failure at the organizational level. Nobody sat down – we’ll call her “Jane,” after “Jane Doe” – nobody sat down Jane and said OK, Jane, I know that you’re pumped about going out and protesting, but here are some ground rules. Don’t lose your cool. Don’t get into a shouting match. Don’t tick off people at random. And – now, Jane, this is very important – if you see somebody with a camera, just smile politely for it, say the two or three things that we told you to say, and call over one of our media people if they want more. Don’t worry about bothering them; talking to the cameras is their job.


If you’re a member of the counter-culture – or a Tea Partier – you’re nodding in agreement right now; for the rest of you folks, let me explain. One of the first things that you learn in this business is that the cameras gravitate towards the… most interesting people in the crowd. It behooves an organizer to make sure that said interesting people understand that they’re to divert the cameras to duly-designated spokesmen; or to help the spokesmen intercept the cameras; or to – and this is the clever innovation of the Tea Partiers – to make the spokesmen themselves look like the most interesting people in the crowd*. But the rule remains: if you want to control the message that goes out, control who delivers the message. That the Activist Left STILL hasn’t figured this out makes me cheerful.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: It’s too late for them to fix this problem in time for this election. And the Left will be doing a full review of procedures after this election, anyway.

*There’s something about a camera that loves a tricorn hat, apparently. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to dress your media spokesman in Revolutionary Era garb and have him or her lay in wait for reporters looking to do a freakshow article.




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