THE COAST IS CLEAR
POLITICAL ROUGH STUFF
The primary motive of the flap over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-mails is to create more flack to shadow a presidential campaign. But the spat raises critical issues, for all of us.
How private should or can our communications be, whether we are a public official or a corporate employee? I wrestled with the latter issue as the senior news executive in a large and publicly traded broadcast company. In this age it is difficult to separate personal and professional communications, via phone or Internet.
Clinton had to live through the fall out of Julian Assange's Wikileaks revelation of thousands of supposedly private State Department cables and communications. They were the notes, observations and working messages of diplomatic personnel, were often sensitive and were never intended for public dissemination. Their release outraged foreign leaders, damaged relationships and put American assets and other intelligence officers at risk. So in that environment one understands a desire to have some protective wall.
And aren't we all entitled to privacy of thought and deliberation? Our attitudes and positions can and do change on people and politics, but in the interim we should be free to say and think "aloud" or in emails, what we wish, understanding that a particular communication is not meant to be definitive. But when something is brought up and focused on, with no context, it is unfair and misleading. All the more reason to know what are the ground rules and boundaries.
I won't predict the Clinton E-mail fight will achieve clarity on this issue, but it's something that faces all of us.
TBT 1968 PAUL NEWMAN & BROTHER JOHN
Paul Newman campaigned for Eugene McCarthy at Ball State University in the spring of 1968. His primary body guard was my younger brother John, the bearded lad to whom Newman is speaking.
I was a reporter, covering the critical Indiana primary and the coming and going of the politicians, but John had the best access to Newman.
Newman flew in where John picked him up, along with a couple of others. Newman's first request was to stop at a liquor store where he purchased a six pack of beer.
John, now deceased, was bit of a brawler and before he was injured was a tough football player. He went on to be a charismatic therapist and counselor and directed the public hospital's crisis intervention unit. In this picture he was evidence of the "Get Clean with Gene" movement. Before his Newman assignment, his hair and beard were much longer. John rarely wore a tie.
There were no problems for Newman during his Indiana sojourn. John could be a formidable force.
See you down the trail