Best to assume there is always a hot mic close by.

Best to assume there is always a hot mic close by.

In my inbox Thursday morning was a 20 second audio/video clip of a “private” conversation
between Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer.

Nothing criminal in it. They were counting noses, trying to round up votes for Obama’s
jobs bill. One could be heard saying “We made him change. Now we don’t need
Sheehan.” Normal horse trading in the Senate, letting some Senators off the
hook on a bill they did not want to support…but also a side of lawmaking that doesn’t
look good to the public. It was a “private” conversation that became public
because there was a hot microphone nearby.

And that’s the point. When you are running for public office, your “privacy” ends when you step out your front door. Once you do, always presume the microphone is “hot,” the camcorder “on” and the voice recorder activated.

When you are in a “private” meeting asking for an endorsement or a campaign donation, it is wise to assume that someone is taping or recording the encounter.

We are in a new era, and the old one is gone never to return. There is no such
thing as privacy for a public figure or candidate for public office. And
therefore do not say or do anything in public that you might be embarrassed to
see on the front page of the New York Times, or hear on Rush Limbaugh or see in
a Utube video.

Failure to adhere to this simple rule has felled the careers of Senators, resulted in
criminal convictions of candidates cutting deals to secure campaign cash, and
in the case of Chuck Schumer, moments of profound embarrassment. He was once
overheard calling an airline attendant a bitch because she asked that he turn
off his cell phone.

Enough said.

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