Why do some people think they can spill their guts to people they don’t even know?
That’s a question a few high-profile folks may be asking themselves in the last few weeks. First, Gov. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who is determined to end collective bargaining rights for union public workers, talked openly with some guy ON THE PHONE about busting up unions. Turns out the guy on the phone was a liberal journalist pretending to be David Koch of the Koch brothers fame.
From what I could tell, Walker had never actually talked to Koch before, but was willing to believe he was talking to him over the phone and perhaps be a little too friendly in anti-union banter.
Then just this past week, the guys associated with those famous ACORN busting videos punked a National Public Radio Foundation exec by posing as members of an offshoot Muslim Brotherhood group wanting to give NPR a $5 million donation.
The fundraising director can be heard on tape bashing members of the Tea Party, calling them racists. He also goes on to insult just about everyone who isn’t a liberal as anti-intellectual.
Seriously, neither Walker nor Schiller said anything they didn’t absolutely believe, or probably really anything out of character for them.
Walker isn’t a big union fan and he had made promises in his campaign to diminish the power of the unions. And, is anyone surprised a NPR exec isn’t a Tea Party fan?
So, it’s fair to say they spoke their own truths. But, in a political world, no matter what your ideology, you’re supposed to be able to work with people you don’t agree with. You’re supposed to be able to find common ground on important issues that actually move a debate or a movement forward, not mire it in rhetoric that only produces stalemate.
It is hard enough to talk to well-known members of the media and be coherent and put good thoughts together. But with the media today consisting of ideologues and bloggers and anyone with an iPhone, it is hard to believe skilled politicians or executives would be so willing to lay all their cards on the table with people they’ve never met or perhaps even heard of.
I’m not sure what this says about the skill levels of politicians or executives. But, I would say it doesn’t say too much positive. We seem to be lacking in statesmanship. It seems to be far too easy to play “gotcha” with people who should know better.
Cindy Allen is managing editor of the Enid News & Eagle. She can be reached at 548-8163 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.