Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A lesson about Twitter, TV cameras and life in the public eye

I heard this on TPM, but surprisingly Josh Marshall left out the context and that context adds greatly to the story.

At least based on his Wikipedia page, Adam Kwasman has an impressive resume and appears to be a young up-and-comer in the Arizona GOP, but even with the assumption he was having a bad day, he also appears to be not quite ready for prime time.

Here's a more complete clip than the one on TPM.

Lots of teachable moments here.

Kwasman was embellishing when he talked about the fear on the children's faces. When he mistook the YMCA, he was innocently getting his facts wrong. If he would have done just one of these he could have come out unscathed.

The speed of social media sometimes creates a false sense of urgency. Many tweets would be just as effective a little while later and that fact-checking time can come in handy. The schedule function can be your friend.

On a related note, you should always remember the fundamental asymmetry of Twitter. There's a practical limit on how intelligent you can be in 140 characters, but the potential for looking stupid is virtually unbounded.

A similar principle holds with TV cameras, and since the advent of embed code, bad video can follow you anywhere.

Finally, one of the dangers of coming up through partisan media ('A frequent guest of the James T Harris radio show in Tucson, Kwasman has been dubbed "Captain Arizona" by the host for his consistent defense of Arizona against an overreaching federal government' -- from Wikipedia) is that if you have the proper positions, the producers and on-air talent will go to great lengths to keep you safe. It is easy for someone like Kwasman to develop great confidence in his ability to handle the media. Sometimes too great.

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