22 November 2006

Lessons in blogging from the West Wing

I have been watching old West Wing DVDs belonging to our au pair's boyfriend (he knows how to make himself welcome in the Baillieu household), and was struck by a scene (episode 5 - War Crimes - Series 3) which speaks volumes about the desire to publish or leak material but how it is not necessarily a good idea. Thanks to a useful website I have just found (Westwingtranscripts.com - amazing), here is the scene in its entirety, which speaks for itself (key bit in bold...).


Toby walks down the hall. The chatter of staffers gets louder as he approaches the WHITE HOUSE MESS.
When he walks in, Toby sees 30-40 staffers sitting andstanding on one side of the room. Ginger is standing in the middle of the group near the back.


The group quiets down. They all look pretty somber, like they're anticipating a severe tongue lashing. Toby sits down on the edge of a table, facing the group, and hesitates for a few moments before speaking.

There's an old saying: "Those who speak, don't know; and those who know, don't speak."I don't know if that's true or not, but I know that by and large the press doesn't care who really knows what as long as they've got a quote. Last Friday, we had our Week Ahead meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Some of you were there, most of you weren't,but I'm talking to all of you now. Bruno Gianelli and I were leading a discussion about whether or not the President should stop in Kansas on his way back from the West Coast, and I remarked that the Vice President is polling better than the President right now in the Plains states...

Sam walks into the room. He stands in the doorway, looking far more stern than Toby.

TOBY [cont.]
...and that if the President is re-elected, it's gonna be on the VicePresident's coat tails. That remark made its way to a White House reporter... We're a group.
[chuckles cheerlessly]
We're a team. From the President and Leo on through, we're a team...We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together...And if you don't like this team... then, there's the door... It's great to be in the know. It's great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say,"I know something you don't know." And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team... So, an item will appear in the paper tomorrow, and it'll be embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the President. I'm not gonna have a witch hunt. I'm not gonna huff and puff. I'm not gonna take anyone's head off. I'm simply gonna say this: you're my guys. And I'm yours... and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.

They all look pretty deflated and chastised. Toby stands up and walks out. Sam walks with Toby back upstairs.

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