Those Pesky Cameras

Jason Embry with the Austin American-Statesman has a interesting post about how those “pesky cameras” have changed politics.

Whether in the hands of journalists trained in print or operatives trained in trickery, the nascent gubernatorial campaign has reinforced the power of an amateurish Web video that quickly spreads around the Internet. Politicians are trained to be on their best behavior when they see large, professional television cameras shining bright lights in their face. But it’s the cameramen they don’t see who can cause the most trouble.

We’ve seen this demonstrated a number of times on the national stage. When U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., called the Democratic operative following him around “Macaca” in 2006, the video cost Allen the election. But with the Democratic Party unable (or unwilling) to compete in statewide elections recently, it’s been a long while since we had a real heavyweight campaign fight in Texas, and so the full force of the phenomenon is just starting to hit here.

The camera first caused trouble in August, when U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison returned to her hometown of LaMarque to kick off her challenge to Gov. Rick Perry in a high school gym. A couple hundred people came out for the speech, but the crowd looked meager in the gym. While television photographers waited at their assigned posts for the speech to begin, American-Statesman editorial writer Ken Herman worked the floor with his tiny camera. His footage of Hutchison campaign operatives repeatedly moving the small crowd to make it look like a big crowd for TV cameras arguably did more than any television or newspaper story to show Austin insiders that the campaign’s first event was a disappointment.

A week or two later, a Perry operative with a video camera walked into a Hutchison campaign event and captured the senator telling a supporter in a one-on-one conversation, “We have just spent way too much time in Washington.” The Perry campaign slapped that little snippet into a Web video, feeding its preferred narrative that Hutchison is more Washingtonian than Texan, without any additional information about what she meant.

I would like to point out to Jason that I am more than just a “Perry Operative” and that I am a real person too!

Here is the video Jason is referring to that a “Perry Operative” filmed.

Here is my original post about the video and the event attended by seven dedicated KBH supporters.

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