Bill Clinton’s Speech At The DNC Will Lead To At Least One Case Of Identity Theft
9:43 am, September 6th | by Sarah Devlin
Bill Clinton delivered a 48-minute opus of a speech last night, thumbing his nose at his time limit and his teleprompter, and zealously defending President Obama from attacks made by the Romney campaign. It was a substantive, wonky and often very funny speech. But something happened during his remarks, just for a moment, that struck me as very sad.
When Clinton spoke, passionately, about the measures Obama has taken to protect Medicare, the camera (or at least the feed from MSNBC, which is what I was watching), cut to a middle aged woman, wearing a breathing tube, beaming and holding up her Medicare ID card. The camera cut away and then returned to the same woman, zooming in so that viewers could see exactly what the card was. This seemed innocuous to me until I realized that her social security number was clearly visible.
I understand that it was a good image to accompany what Clinton was speaking about, and it’s certainly not MSNBC’s fault that this woman made the (very dumb, obviously not thought through) choice to brandish her Medicare card on national television. But MSNBC had two choices — to not return to her after they realized what she was holding up, and if they didn’t realize what it was until they trained the camera on her again, to use the 7-second delay to blur it out. If she had flashed her breast I feel pretty certain that the network would have felt compelled to pixellate it; why not protect her social security number?
If there is a reason that the delay was not available or another explanation for why the network took no action, I’d love to hear it. As it stands it felt like a careless mistake on her part, magnified by an even more careless mistake on the part of MSNBC. As the party who is actually in the business of television, I believe the latter bears greater responsibility than the woman who so thrilled to have her personal struggle acknowledged by President Clinton that she didn’t have time to give her actions a second thought.