Scott Prouty, 47% Filmmaker, Is Not a Democrat - Adam Clark Estes - the Atlantic Wire
“What was at stake was more important than my job”
Eight o’clock on Wednesday night marked the event horizon for Prouty going completely public. Wearing a blue tie and pinstripe suit the Boston native appeared on The Ed Show to reveal his face for the first time and answer questions about his now famous — or infamous, depending on your leanings — video. When the program started, David Corn, the Mother Jones reporter who turned the “47 percent” video into a viral sensation and a turning point in the presidential campaigns, sang Prouty’s praises and said he was glad the world could finally “experience his thoughtfulness, sincerity and passion.” Corn also tweeted two quotes from the interview that stand out. “I wanted Mitt Romney’s words … to be the absolute center of attention,” Prouty told MSNBC host Ed Schulz. He quickly added, “I am registered independent.”
The whole story behind the “47 Percent” video and Prouty’s multiple attempts to get the mainstream media’s attention is revelatory in a number of ways. It’s also not entirely new. Last September, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith offered up a terrific timeline of how the person behind the camera at that $50,000-a-plate campaign dinner tried to make the video go viral well before Mother Jones dropped its bombshell. More details emerged with Prouty’s Ed Show appearance, though — like the one about the one time Prouty saved a woman’s life by pulling her out of a sinking car after she’d skidded off the road into water. There’s also the inevitably inspirational tale of his personal battle over releasing the tape and well concerted effort to stay out of the spotlight so that the story could speak for itself.
After the Ed Show appearance began, Corn published a terrific account of his dealings with Prouty. This passage hits home:
The fellow on the other end of the phone call pronounced his name with hesitation. For nearly a fortnight, he and I had been building a long-distance rapport via private tweets, emails, and phone conversations as we discussed how best to make public the secret video he had shot of Mitt Romney talking at a private, $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Now I was almost ready to break the story at Mother Jones. I had verified the video, confirming when and where it had been shot, and my colleagues and I had selected eight clips—including Romney’s now-infamous remarks about the 47 percent of Americans he characterized as “victims” unwilling to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”—to embed in two articles. We had blurred these clips, at the source’s request, to make it difficult to tell where Romney had uttered these revealing comments, while clearly showing that it was Romney speaking. The goal was to afford the source a modicum of protection.
Romney answered without hesitation:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it—that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.