When I used to work as a Press Secretary I held dear to the “Argus” test which was this — If I didn’t want to see it printed in the Argus — then don’t put it in writing. That was of course prior to Facebook and the explosion of the blogs and other alternative media — which makes the rule all that more important. Of course the spirit of the rule was — don’t be stupid or chances are you’ll see it in print…..now people videotape themselves being stupid (or take phone photos — ahem former Congressman) and willing post them. I don’t get that — even a little.
Jill Callison at the ARGUS (see rule above) has an article demonstrating that some lawmakers in Pierre should learn the Argus rule. (Hat tip to Greg Belfrage on his Facebook post) In my less than humble opinion, it’s embarrassing to their position as legislators and to their party to have sent those snarky emails and to have been called out….it’s an honor to be elected and serve. You should act like it….even when you don’t want to — that’s part of the responsibility that goes with being elected to represent us. Trust me….I understand getting all the crappy emails, letters and comments….I’ve been there (working for a Senator after all engenders the whole range of feelings) and sure I’ve wanted to snap back and I’ve probably done it more than once. But it’s never won the discussion or the day.
Oh and the second part of the rule — the Argus will not be likely to print your retraction or apology — so get it right the first time.
We can respectfully disagree.