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.

14 thoughts on “What the Obamaphone Woman Video ACTUALLY teaches us.”

  1. As I cannot view the videos right now, I’m imagining the first one is the “Bananaphone” video and smiling.
    “If you’re a member of the counter-culture – or a Tea Partier – you’re nodding in agreement right now…”
    Yes, yes, yes. The media doesn’t talk to the casually-dressed, clean, well-groomed guy at the game convention — they talk to the cosplayers and the “Rommel World Tour” t-shirt wearers.

    1. Rob: It was a problem for the SCA, too. Fortunately, we’ve got the advantage that garb just generally looks unusual enough that the reporters can get their visuals that way.

  2. Ah Moe, you are my new Red State, since I can’t view or make comments on disqus from work. I can’t imagine why the Atlantic is so upset about this. It is not as though anyone other than us tea party wing nuts (because we are the weird ones, you know) will see it anyway. Just like the Obama video declaring no more highways for the suburbs. Why aren’t they just firing up the margarita machine at the Atlantic the way the campaign said they would after the Ryan pick?

  3. Thus the reason I would have smiled like a shark and pleasantly asked the reporters to leave me alone when I was at the Tea Party protest.

    As for Elspeth? Bah. Doesn’t she have more fake war crimes to tell us about from her hubby’s imagination?

  4. Moe, they had the entire “Occupy” debacle to learn this and haven’t yet. Here is another rule: the longer your protest sticks around, the more likely your more “interesting” members and hangers-on will act out. Think of being a protest organizer as being a parent with several young children in tow – at some point you know they are going to get over-tired and there will be a scene, so end everything before that line gets crossed.

  5. “When one side acts badly, it is not the obligation of the other side to avert their eyes.”

    Words to live by, right there.

  6. Worn out term, “racist”. It’s a video capturing a real event. Out in the open. Not hidden behind an ice-bucket.

    It is what it is. Is truth racist? Only to fascists.

  7. I’m assuming someone thought about this already, but isn’t this the new Obama girl?

  8. I don’t care about the phone. Or racism. The word that scared me most was “MORE. “HE gonna give us MORE!”. From taxpayers, of course. Unions, people on the dole, politicians….it’s always about getting “more”.

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