One of the most disturbing parts of the recent Trump video fiasco is that the journalistic rule of honoring “off-the-record” comments has been broken to advance a political agenda.
Donald Trump’s comments, on the face of it, are appalling. Everyone agrees with that and so does Trump.
But completely missing from the media discussion is that a sacred journalistic covenant has been trashed: that off-the-record remarks should never be used publicly.
Here’s what happened.
In 2005, Trump, a media personality and TV star, had a microphone placed on his body in preparation for a segment with the show "Access Hollywood."
Implicit in this arrangement was that Trump was not on air and all of his comments were not for public consumption.
The host, Billy Bush, began bantering with Trump and soon the two began talking X-rated stuff.
Trump was never told by Bush or anyone on "Access Hollywood" that he was being recorded or was “on air.”
The assumption, by any legitimate news organization, is that Trump’s comments were “off-the-record.”
It’s well known in the TV business that media personalities make wild comments with hot mics on but they are not on air. If some of these tapes were released, it would be quite embarrassing for many well-known personalities.
Why, then, did Trump’s tape gets released?
The story line is that NBC News heard of claims Trump made intemperate remarks on his hit show "The Apprentice," prompting them to go through old archives of his tapes. NBC owns the show "Access Hollywood." The 2005 tape was discovered.
The problem was that Trump’s comments were subject to the “off-the-record” rule. NBC couldn’t simply reveal this tape.
An “anonymous” tipster, however, provided excerpts of the Trump tape to The Washington Post on Friday.
The Post published their story.
And then, get this, NBC, exactly seven minutes later, went on air with their story and the full video.
Obviously, the Post provided the fig leaf for NBC to break its sacred journalistic obligation to honor “off-the-record” comments.
But as the firestorm has proven, this was simply too great an opportunity to “get Trump.”
Again, I think Trump’s comments were completely inappropriate.
But he should never have apologized.
Here’s what he should have said: “Folks, I’m sorry but I can’t apologize. That doesn’t mean what I said was right. If I started to apologize, I’d be spending every minute apologizing from now until Election Day. Do you know how many times I have said outlandish things? Do you know how many times I went on the Howard Stern show? Look, I had a hit, top-rated prime-time TV show that lasted 15 years. Nobody has that.
"But this happened because I was, in addition to being an incredible business guy, a tremendous show biz personality. I can’t be held to account for things I did and said, because I was not a politician. I have never been a politician and I never will be. I am just a citizen just like you. Sure, I said some crazy things I am not proud of. But let me say this, I am sincere about making this nation great again. This is not about me. It’s about you and the future of America.”
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.