Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spying, Politics, And Crowd Shots

Over at Dakota War College, Pat Powers is attempting to create a tsunami in a teacup by pointing out that a longtime Republican is seen talking to Rick Weiland in Wieland's new campaign video. The gentleman claims he didn't know cameras were rolling while he was talking to Weiland, a candidate the Republican gentleman obviously doesn't support.

As political incidents go, this seems to be one of failing to pay attention to detail not one of malice. On the other hand, Steve Benen reports that Michigan Republicans have undertaken "repeated efforts to record Democratic gatherings with a spy camera mounted to eyeglasses." Benen doesn't undertake speculation about whether Michigan Republicans eschewed Google Glass because the product is still too expensive or because they consider it passe. These spies are not "trackers" that every campaign expects to shadow them. Instead the people with the spy glasses are told "misrepresent themselves when attending events."

Benen concludes,
. . .what’s striking is the operation itself. Parties on both sides may rely on trackers as a matter of course, but it’s highly unusual – indeed, it’s arguably without precedent – for a state party to launch a deliberate spying operation, get caught, and accidentally leave behind evidence documenting the scope of that operation. [Benen 7/21/14]
Weiland's people should have edited the video more carefully. Weiland, however, certainly did not claim to be anything other than a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, and  I'm pretty sure nobody was filming with spy glasses.


PP at the SDWC said...

Kal -

It was not filmed in a public venue. Weiland came into his office, and his kid went into a hallway and filmed surreptitiously. They did not tell him he was being filmed, and he did not give permission for it.

It's a pretty slimy way to get footage.

Old Guard said...

Powers is good at making something out of nothing. While it may be insignificant to me, over at his blog, the faithful beat the war drum over anything they fear doesn't fit into their wacko right wing ideology. It's his blog, but it really is getting more like FAKE News all the time. The more of his posts they read, the more misinformed they become.

Kal Lis said...


I don't know how much footage got shot. I don't know who edited it or if the editor knew Mr. Putnam is a Republican. Perhaps I am paranoid but I expect cameras around candidates for statewide office especially governor/house/senate.

Before it rises to "slimy" there would have to be a conscious effort to imply endorsement by a Republican. The context doesn't do that. It seems to show a conversation.

I'm sure Mr. Putnam will ask to be removed and the Weiland campaign will re-edit the video.

It was an unforced errror. I'm still not seeing malice/slime.

Kal Lis said...

Old Guard,

I think this is first time you've left a comment here. Thanks for stopping by.

Comments sections everywhere seem to be getting more angry and filled with folks who have a missionary zeal for the cause.

I enjoy reading DWC comments even if I frequently cannot fathom how the commenter arrived at his or her conclusions. It's like a good field experiment in sociology