A.B. in the News

Lincoln Journal-Star: Eyes and ears tracking the candidates

They forget.

No longer can a politician or officeholder say or do anything in a setting, public or private, formal or informal, large or small, without considering that he or she may be speaking to the world.

Video cameras, camcorders, audio recorders, iPhones and other smartphone technology may be — and probably will be — there.

And soon they are on YouTube or splashed across Page 1 or on the 10 o’clock news.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning took that quick electronic trip last month with his remark equating raccoons and welfare recipients.

[…]

In 2006, Sen. George Allen of Virginia spotted an all-too-familiar face behind a video camera at a rally and pointed him out.

“Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here,” he said.

That impulsive remark directed at S.R. Sidarth, a young man of Indian ancestry, immediately went viral. Weighted with the appearance of a racial slur, it sank Allen’s re-election campaign and wiped him off the list of prospective 2008 Republican presidential candidates.

Sidarth was a tracker.

So was the guy who captured Bruning’s moment. He was recording the speakers at a tea party event in Papillion for American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal or progressive organization that tracks Republican candidates.

The video of Bruning’s raccoon remarks quickly was posted on YouTube and has attracted more than 33,000 views.

Read more from the Lincoln Journal-Star.