Penn Student In Hot Water After Leaking Video of Conservative Pundit

On Monday April 22nd, conservative pollster and talking head Frank Luntz gave a speech at Penn (he’s class of ’83). At one point he requested to go off-the-record, telling the audience that what he wanted to say would get him in trouble. A reporter with the Daily Pennsylvanian complied while a college junior named Aakash Abbi did not, choosing instead to record Luntz on his iPhone and send the footage to Mother Jones, which also aired Mitt Romney’s “47%” video. In his comments, Luntz blamed conservative talk radio hosts for damaging the Republican cause.

Marco Rubio’s getting his ass kicked. Who’s my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He’s getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He’s trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn’t the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That’s what’s causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.

Upon finding out that the video was leaked, Luntz went apoplectic, vowing never again to return to campus (he’s scheduled to speak on a panel during graduation) and cutting off funds for a scholarship in his father’s name.

Meanwhile, David Bernstein, a liberal political scientist bemoaned Abbi’s decision in a blog post for the Washington Monthly titled “The Death of ‘Off-the-Record.'”

The person who taped it, however, wasn’t primarily betraying Luntz. He was betraying his fellow students — and all fellow students. His actions, and the actions of anyone who does this sort of thing, make it impossible for public figures to speak candidly, or anything resembling candidly.

Abbi, for his part, shot back in a Daily Pennsylvanian op-ed that “in a room filled with scores of independent students, ‘off the record’ is not a Patronus charm.” That line, as a commenter points out, appears to have been lifted straight from Daily Kos, which noted yesterday that “‘Off the record’ is not a patronus charm, Mr. Luntz.”

And that’s all you need to know about Abbi’s grasp of journalistic ethics.

Video here: