Sunday, September 13, 2009

Every Gun is a Loaded Gun and Every Mic Is a Live Mic

Today I am reflecting on last week's latest politician blunder- this time from Republican California lawmaker Michael Duvall. In case you haven't heard the married family values politician was caught bragging about his most recent extramarital conquests to another legislator via a microphone that was live and oops- being recorded. Listeners were treated to such tidbits as; "So, I am getting into spanking her. Yeah, I like it. I like spanking her. She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah! Because you're such a bad girl!' ".

And there's more- but since I'm not into sharing softcore porn on my blog I will spare you- for those who want the image in your head of an overweight fifty something lawmaker explaining how he gets it on with female lobbyists click here, (be warned- I really wish I hadn't).

I am reminded of the first rule my father taught me about gun safety. "Every gun you touch you must treat as if it is loaded- even if you are sure it's not." This most important of lessons can equally be applied to microphones and cameras. Every mic is "hot" no matter what the photographer tells you. And even if you don't see the little red light illuminated near the photographers eye piece it must be considered to be rolling as well.

When I was an investigative reporters I once interviewed a doctor we suspected was over-prescribing diet pills without proper merit. I remember clipping the wireless mic on him when he got a call from his lawyer. On instinct I turned it on without telling him. He excused himself to talk to his attorney in another room and my photographer and I were treated to a one way 10 minute conversation all about how he was planning to lie to us, where he had hidden the real patient records and even shared tidbits of other drugs he was over-prescribing in violation of FDA guidelines. Needless to say an interview that began without much evidence became much more interesting when he returned to the room.

If you learn nothing else this week remember the lesson my father taught me so many years ago, every gun is loaded,every mic is live and every camera is rolling.

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