When Romney made his speech that led to the viral video, he was catering to a room full of incredibly wealthy donors- so wealthy they had to pay $50,000 a piece to even hear his infamous remarks. It is worthy to note his audience when judging his comments, as many of us, not excluding Romney, have changed the way we act depending on who we are talking to. That being said, had Romney not gone on to defend his comments, I would have considered him to just be a victim of what sociologists like to call “role playing”. However, I recently read a Middletown press article about the significance which new social media played in this scandal and immediately I thought of the low-res video and its political track-record. It seems that now the combination of these two mediums- continuing low-res video use and social media is becoming the new and improved political activator. Thus this form of changing personas in accordance to different audiences appears to be becoming a thing of the past.
When looking back to the 1992 LA riots, it can be seen that the low-res video has a strong tradition in political movements. Life would have gone on significantly unchanged, had George Holliday not been at the scene with his personal camera which caught seven police officers brutally beating Rodney King Jr. What was different about King’s case was not the police brutality specifically aimed at an African-American male; it was the fact that this time it happened to be caught on the fairly new invention of the personal camera.
Now with immensely popular uploading sites such as Youtube, damaging footage has the potential to cause even more unrest. The current protests in the Islamic world came about due to a small time filmmaker’s offensive creation that would have never been so widely seen without the use of this site. While this was not caught on a personal camera, it is still important to see the effect that the combination of film and social media is having on both domestic and global politics.
While Romney’s sting is not causing the same outbursts that these former have, his damaging remarks caught on the low-res hidden camera and posted on Youtube for free are looking to be equally or more effective in swaying voters than the millions both parties have spent on highly produced TV ads. It looks as though future campaigns will no longer be able to so easily employ these drastic role-playing strategies based on varying audiences. I am looking forward to seeing candidates becoming more honest- or at least more consistent, since now you never know who will be watching.