Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Truth Really Is Stranger Than Fiction

A blog on the foibles of not paying attention to the digital media at one's own risk changed into an epic tale of classic deny the truth spin straight out of the West Wing 90s.

At the start of the day, I had one view of the latest adventure in social and participatory media as members of Michelle Bachmann's New Hampshire staff announced they were resigning en mass.

Apparently, the memo didn't reach national, who were pants by the traditional political media this morning.  Why no, nothing is wrong in New Hamphsire.

What about this statement?

We'll get back to you.

So AP ran the details today, but by tonight, the once employees became at best volunteers.  Funny thing about these kind of deals - they were voluntary organizations until you joined them.  Or, until you try to embarrass them.

This evening, Bachmann's national team now claimed the statement by the state level staff was an "unauthorized news release" from a person who "doesn't even work for the campaign and has never had authority to speak on behalf of the campaign."

That could be parcing one hell of a Catch-22: if you quit the campaign, OF COURSE you no longer speak for the campaign.

That may be a little hard to prove.  What is "work for the campaign" when the majority of staffers in the New Hampshire offices of any candidate are volunteers? You don't work for the campaign when the campaign want to disavow you.

The kicker really is the second half of the statement. The reality of networked communications is that EVERYONE speaks for the campaign.

"We are hiring new staff in New Hampshire," Bachmann said on Hannity. The host went back on her again, with the same answer followed by another political talking point.

"Quite honestly, nobody asked me about the staffing and what's going on," she said. "What they are asking me about is my real jobs right now plan."

Um. Congresswoman, didn't Sean just ask you about it.

And, if the AP is to be believed, she was asked about it on Friday.  In a broadcast radio interview.

Forget the extreme Adam Savage school of public relations approach ("I reject your reality, and substitute my own" of MythBusters fame), this is just flat out denial.  Not of what happened, but of reality.

No matter how many times, or with how much conviction it is is said, it is still a lie.  Pure and simple.  With the ease of Internet search, how do public figures reach this level without recognizing that it takes little effort to verify past statements.

Or is it that they just don't think we will care?

Usually, you have to get into a BCS football coach's post game press conference to get this level of chutzpah.

"No, I think out guys gave a real, real good effort out there, and I think they are improving every down," he'll say after a 50-point beat down.  The quarterback who threw four pics is always "a very, very special guy."

I once had a supervisor look me straight in the eye, and with a dead serious look say, "you know, your problem is you see things as black and white; right and wrong.". What he wanted me to do was look the other way when others broke protocol or violated rules.

Guess I just continue to have trouble with fiction.

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