THUNDER BAY – Editorial – One of the dangers of the modern political era is that politicians can be captured on video not just from traditional media, but from increasing numbers of people with video cameras. The impact on a political campaign can be devastating. A quick Tweet can instantly hammer a campaign. A thoughtless Facebook posting can be captured instantly and live on as a ‘Gotcha’ moment well past its initial reaction.
During the 2006 United States Senate mid-term elections, Virginia Senator George Allen was being challenged by Jim Webb. At the end of June, Allen was up by an insurmountable 20 percentage points in the polls, and Webb was starting to run out of money. Then Allen met a Webb volunteer with a video camera. On August 15,
2006, in Virginia, Senator George Allen was headed to what most people thought would be an easy win over Democratic challenger James Webb. Senator Allen was also being widely talked about, at the time, as a future Republican Presidential candidate.
Then the Virginia Senator had his moment of video ‘fame’.
The long-term impact of this Youtube video on Senator Allen remains, the one-time soaring political star has faded drastically.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has reportedly banned Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats from his public events during the election campaign.
Vic Fedeli, Ontario PC Candidate for Nipissing comments, “This behaviour just shows just how out of touch the McGuinty Liberals have become. It’s time for change. Liberals and New Democrats would be welcome at PC events, as long as they are not disruptive”.
For some in politics, the fear of making a major blunder and having it captured on video and replayed over and over might make them fearful of the Internet and its reach. However, communications from political leaders are a critical component in the modern era. People are expecting from their political leaders a degree of communication that in past generations would never have been either possible, or expected.
However in today’s modern communications world, politicians who want to be successful have to become far more adept of the importance of modern communications.