Monday, Jun. 06, 2011

ABC News Tweets Obama's 'Jackass' Comment

Perhaps President Obama needs to make sure he says, "This is off the record" before he tells it like it is. After CNBC's John Harwood taped an interview with Obama in September 2009, three ABC News employees tweeted a comment that Obama had made about rapper Kanye West. The remark had nothing to do with politics or the state of the country. But rather, Harwood had asked the President what he thought about rapper Kanye West interrupting singer Taylor Swift as she accepted an award onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards the day before. The question came before the start of the interview as makeup was being applied and Obama seemed comfortable enough to say what he really thought: that Kanye was a "jackass" for pulling the stunt. In a video that was later leaked, Obama says, "I'm assuming all this stuff ..." his voice trailing off as he makes a signal with his hand across his neck to imply that what he was saying was off the record. He must have thought he didn't need to finish the sentence, as it's an understood broadcast tradition that such pre-interview chatter is in fact considered off the record.

The bigger question is, Why would ABC News even have had access to the interview? Turns out that ABC and CNBC share a fiber optic line to save money, so ABC News employees were able to listen in on the interview. ABC News apologized for the breach.