‘Take This Off the Record’

Oh, you aren’t racist. You aren’t a bad person. You just think black people are lazy and nuts: 

During an interview with the Clarion-Ledger about education funding in Mississippi, Alday referenced welfare and his beliefs about its impact.

“I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work,” he said in the interview published Sunday.

I see. And how did you happen to give this interview that, magically, made you, a good person, look like a bad person?

But Alday said he would not resign from his seat and instead blamed his comments on Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell. The lawmaker said he wouldn’t have made the remarks if he had realized they would be included in the article.

“It was late at night and he called me,” Alday said. “He asked me a question back to when I was in law enforcement … I have a way of talking and saying, ‘take this off the record.'”

I’m sorry, off the record doesn’t work like this. NOTHING WORKS LIKE THIS. You do not get to say stupid shit to a reporter after a certain hour of the day and then decide later, on your own, what is and is not fair game.

I had a source once, used to call me up hammered and tell me stuff and then say “that was off the record.” He was a nice enough guy and a total moron so I explained to him that “off the record” meant he would ask first if we were off the record, and then IF AND ONLY IF I agreed, he would tell me something I could not use except to broaden my own understanding of an ongoing situation. The stuff he told me off the record was generally about his own messy personal life and so who gave a shit anyway, but you get fair warning once. After that, your mouth is on you, pal.

If you are so shitfaced (because that is what “late at night” means; being tired does not make you a racist whereas being drunk makes it harder to hide that you are one) when a reporter calls that you can’t be trusted to use your own mouth to form words that reflect the intentions of your brain, there is a very easy way to handle it and it is called END CALL on your phone.


2 thoughts on “‘Take This Off the Record’

  1. Too bad for Mr. Alday that his phone didn’t ring with Tim Russert on the other end of the line. Russert’s default setting was “off the record” when he picked up his phone. Russert being a legend in certain journalistic circles, it’s a wonder that more folks in the field haven’t adopted St. Tim’s methods.

  2. Too bad that Mr. Alday told the truth about his feelings. Too bad he’s still on the commission.

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