Governor must accept the 'trackers'

Maine Gov. Paul LePage may not like it, but when a politician speaks in public it is wise to assume there is a newspaper reporter, TV crew or political tracker recording every word and gesture.

Just ask Mitt Romney. During the presidential campaign, a damaging video surfaced of Romney speaking to a supposedly private gathering of friendly donors.

A hidden camera on a table in the back of the room recorded Romney saying, basically, that half the country's voters wouldn't support him because they received government assistance.

Or ask Senator-elect Angus King who had a Republican-Party tracker following him throughout his campaign hoping to catch the former governor saying something damaging.

King even pointed out his tracker during a debate in Lewiston at the Franco-American Heritage Center, making a minor celebrity of the camera man.

Trackers have been employed by both major political parties for a number of years to gather the oppositional video used in negative political advertising.

Trackers may be despised but we live in an open society and they must be accepted as part of the electronic-era landscape.

The scrutiny must be unusually difficult for LePage, who rarely speaks from a script and sometimes lets his temper get the best of him.

As a result, LePage rarely speaks to the state's media and does nearly all of his communicating through his staff and his public appearances.

That's unfortunate, but that is LePage's prerogative.

On the other hand, the governor doesn't get to set his own ground rules when he speaks in public or meets publicly with citizens.

In an era of social media and cell phone cameras, elected officials should expect that every public utterance is on camera and on the record.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Betty Davies's picture

I keep wondering...

If perhaps LePage was that "mean Santa" who got fired recently down at the Maine Mall.

Doesn't this sound like him? "I took my daughter to see him and she was terrified and he was the rudest man I have ever met... didn't smile... not even a ho ho ho." [quoted by WGME].

This is why he needs a tracker on him every minute!

Steve  Dosh's picture

O M G Betty . Serious ?

O M G Betty . Serious ? Bad breathe and e v e r y t h i n g ? No wonder why kids are afraid of St. Nick and clowns . .Here --> http://emailsanta.com/ <-- have here email him at the North Pole | . He will respond ( kid safe ) h t h , /s Santa Steve *<;-Q~

Betty Davies's picture

But he only responds...

...to anonymous faxes. Assuming that "Bad Santa" actually is LePage with a fake white beard ;-).

Richard Begin's picture

Tracker this Tracker that

I respectfully disagree with the Notion that Mr Rhoades has presented here. It is obvious that the opposition feels that the only way they can meet the Governor on a Level Playing field is to hire a Parasite other wise known as a Tracker and wait to Ambush our Great Governor.

Paul Lepage [Much like Myself Calls them as he see's them] and of course much to the Dismay of the Opposition that does not Play in Peoria.

Well who cares what Plays.

I'm Okay with the Governor

However that said the behavior of the maine media with the Exception of the Sun Journal Staff have been out to get Governor Lepage from Day one.

Rex Rhoades simply cannot Help himself. But Judy Meyer and Scott Thistle and their Peers have demonstrated that by writing Truthful Sound stories they and their fellow Writers can contineau to hold up, the Bar of Decent open minded Reporting and Sensible Writing.

Someone also mentioned that the Gubner's Staff do not talk to the Main stream media that seems likely.

I would suggesst that The Sun Journal Staff invite the Governor to sit down for an Editoril Board Meeting such as the meeting with Former Maine Senate President Rick Bennet did earlier this week

Knowing Our Governor as I do I'm convinced that he would gladly accept such an Invitation

It's a better invitation then going to Dinner with That Spoiled [Brat Alfond]

I have noticed that some of the Posters are writing Good things. Like [Bob Stone]. I have not had the Pleasure of his Acquaitence but he makes good points and [Frank Gravel] wrote something Fine as usual

Now I notice [Denis Ledoux]

Is this the Same ledoux who trys to pass himself off a a Franco American Family Tale writer? I am of course a Franco American and Like My Governor I find the tales told by Mr ledoux to be a bit Flat

If so perhaps Dennis you should stick to story telling and in that Vein I do not recall that you fared so well.

I see [Mr Jonathan Albrecht] from Western Maine is Weighing in . I do not alwas agree with him but I like his Energy and Style. and of Course [Steve Dosh] as alwas Steve hits the Mark Dead on.

I've always wondred if Steve Dosh was ['Rock A Hula Baby'] That Elvis Sang About in the Hal Wallis Epic [Blue Hawaii]

Finally Jason T is writing Well as usual Finally Denis Ledouz need to Understnd that Many Mainers do in Fact Trust Governor Lepage.

but nobody in their Right mind would ever place any Value in what Denis Ledoux has to say. Because in the Court of Public thinking even the Books that Mr Ledouz trys to Pawn off on the Unsuspecting Reader of Franco Literature.Do not make the Grade

In Fact [Mr Ledouz should hold his Head in Shame] from attacking the Governor.
In My Opinion it is Mr Ledouz whom I do not trust

Richard Begin

Steve  Dosh's picture

Governor must accept the 'trackers'

l s j ®  12.06.12 11:45 ? HST •
. Yes, Your Governor must accept the 'trackers.'
The guy's a loose electron n e way
/s, Santa • Coal ? 
*<;-Q~ http://emailsanta.com/naughty_nice.asp <- kid friendly

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

Public meetings are for the public !

Gov. Lepage it upset because the media is following him ?? I thought he was a BIG constitution person ?? How about the first amendment freedom of the press??
Why is he so upset if he stand by what he believes and tells the same "truth" to all what could be the problem? I did not hear him make any statement when the Republicans had King followed. It looks like a executive temper tantum by the Governor, "I don't like it so stop". When the Governor is at a public meeting he is fair game to the media and with cell phones and other electronic devices that take pictures and record sound does he plan to make all the public give up their devices to be in a meeting with him? --I agree with the paper --tracker are here to stay .

Bob Stone's picture

Really?

What media outlet does the tracker work for?

"...at least hire a Mainer"!

make this the quote of the year , please! Even the Unions liked that one! Admit it .

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Nothing wrong with tracking

Public event, no assumption of privacy, public figure. When does the public become the tracker? Aren't journalists trackers? As long as the tracker does not edit the tape to misrepresent what the public figure said or did, what's wrong with a correct display of the public figure. Most would love it. But if the tracker misrepresents what happenned like O'keefe did several times for the right-wing. Or what Fox News does (Acorn stole the 2012 election even though Acorn didn't exist in 2012 and the only people arrested for voter fraud have been republicans and Republican operations did much worse in 2012 than what Acorn did in 2008).

Jason Theriault's picture

If you watch Fox news or MSNBC, you're part of the problem

Both sides do it because they both know it's worth an easy news cycle or two if a figure on the other side makes a gaffe.

Be it when everyone jumped on Bush for saying that NY Times reporter Adam Clymer a "major league *******"(donkey pit as I like to say)

To Joe Biden.... well, I could cite an example, but "Uncle Joe" has such a repertoire of Gaffes, it would be unfair to pick one.

These "reporters" can sit back, bring in alot of "experts" to say why the gaffe is a big deal and what it should make people mad.If you watch any of the 24 hour news networks, you are literally endorsing this behavior, and even paying them to do it.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

We have become purient voyeurs...

that is the state of our nation, and the world for that matter.

Just let those who demand this "right" come under the same microscope and they squeel like stuck pigs, and cry foul or "out of context!" I've seen it time and time again. Complete hypocrisy.

We have a news media, asleep at the switch, who panders to the left and makes excuses for them at every opportunity. Trying to convince us that there is no right or wrong and everything is relative.

This behavior is borish and the expansion of the reality side-show we see everyday on the boob-tube.

Bread and circuses to keep our minds off those politicians who are picking our pockets everyday, to buy votes at the ballot box, with little or no consequences for their actions.

MARK GRAVE's picture

“As a result, LePage rarely

“As a result, LePage rarely speaks to the state's media and does nearly all of his communicating through his staff and his public appearances.”

Isn’t that wise?

Diana Currier's picture

:)

:)

Bill Whitman's picture

trackers

three funny things
1. didn't they used to call them "journalists?"

2. no one has mentioned the Republican trackers - if the Republicans are as devious as our beloved governor, probably every Democrat in the state has a Republican tracker.

3. and the funniest thing of all - wasn't the high point of Dictator Lepage's reign going to be "transparency". maybe you can't make anything that fat headed transparent.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

The Governor does have a dilemma on his hands....

What to do? This "tracker" problem is something that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, Mr. LePage doesn't have what it would take to properly deal with this dilemma. I agree, spotlighting would be a positive way to deal with the tracker, but I don't feel LePage possesses the tact, control, and maturity to effectively turn the camera, sort of speak, on the tracker. Also, why would anyone just automatically assume this tracker is from Massachusetts? Hell, I live right here in Maine, and I'd do it in a second, I wouldn't be so inconspicuous either. I'd probably have a lighting and sound crew with me. I'd have the biggest camera available with political stickers all over it. I would even ... OH, wait a minute, I forgot there for a minute, I'm from Massachusetts too. OK, sorry forget that last part.
The Governor must learn to behave himself in public. hold his temper, and grow up. Throwing a temper tantrum isn't the most positive approach to this. Being a public figure, requires being in public. Deal with it.....

Bob Stone's picture

The Governor is too nice

There are ways to deal with this tracker. Complaining about him and his Democrat employers will get the governor nowhere. He needs to shine the spot light on this low life at every public meeting. Properly executed, the cretin would be begging to head back to Massachusetts, slithering back to his Kerry-loving parents basement to post, for the rest of his life, on Huffington Post.

Game on Governor. This is bloodsport, with the opposition wallowing in the primordial ooze.

Chris Blake's picture

Maturity works better.

Or he could sit down with the people employing this guy and come to some kind of accord. Or, he could stop giving permission for him to be there recording him. Both of those things are responsible and mature though, not something I expect from the man.

Denis Ledoux's picture

Dem tracker

LePage needs to understand that most Mainers do not trust him. Most of us voted against him and are embarrassed by his words and actions. He has made Maine look foolish nationally. He is not popular. His alleged "telling it like it is" is usually thoughtless and groundless and temperamental. It is not the speech of a mature thoughtful person. Being recorded might put a muzzle on his intemperate speech.

Bob Stone's picture

Popular?

He wasn't elected to be "popular." We've had several "popular" governors who have sold the state right down the river. He was elected to wring the most out of rapidly declining revenues. When are the liberals going to figure this out?

Paul Violette was popular. Dale McCormick was popular. John Baldacci was popular. Angus King was popular. They were absolute disasters in their jobs.

John Martin was popular. Louis Jalbert was popular.

As the saying goes, "this ain't beanbag." We have 1 in 4 Mainers on the public dole. The national average is 1 in 7. There is nothing to be proud of after 40 years of Democrat control. Now we are right back in the soup.

Denis Ledoux's picture

Popular?

It's not that LePage is not popular--which he isn't. It's that he was elected by a minority and does not represent the position of the people of Maine.

He is where he is because Maine does not have a majority clause in it electoral procedures. So...

LePage has little to recommend his position of taking the issue of the tracker to the court of public opinion. Public opinion is AGAINST him because he was not elected by the majority of voters.

The figures in the Stone post are inaccurate.

Robert McQueeney's picture

Lepage amy not be popular with some

But he is doing what needs to be done. Enough people had the foresight to elect someone who would cut spending and reign in some of the ridiculous stuff. When you cut a program, some one will be unhappy, because they use that program. Fact of the matter is that we simply can not afford to keep spending money on things like that. Personally, Lepage can cut any program I use. I won't miss it much, and when I look at what it does to my taxes and state debt, I'll be even happier. If I have more in my paycheck due to his cuts, that frees up more money for me to replace whatever benefits I was getting from the program he cut. Funny how when I look at how much it (whatever it is that is cut) costs, I find I don't really need "it" so much.

Mr. Lepage, please continue to cut spending. Maine is a state of capable people willing to work for what they get.

Denis Ledoux's picture

Dem tracker

LePage needs to understand that most Mainers do not trust him. Most of us voted against him and are embarrassed by his words and actions. He has made Maine look foolish nationally. He is not popular. His alleged "telling it like it is" is usually thoughtless and groundless and temperamental. It is not the speech of a mature thoughtful person. Being recorded might put a muzzle on his intemperate speech.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

If the meeting with the

If the meeting with the veteran was private it should not have been held in a public setting. This is just more of the Governor wanting to try to control what he can't.

Robert McQueeney's picture

Hard to disagree

While what these trackers do is legal, and opponents of political figures love to dig up dirt, it's still a very negative and despicable practice.

This so much reminds me of a picture of Obama supposedly ogling a lady, but when the footage is shown in whole and context, he was doing nothing of the sort. This tracking is akin to yellow journalism.

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