Election 2012

Romney's "47 Percent" Video Took a Long, Strange Route to Publicity

New media and amateur journalists make for a potent combination

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On May 17, Mitt Romney spoke bluntly at a fundraiser at the home of a private equity executive in Boca Raton. Someone recorded him speaking, and that unexploded digital ordnance lay around the 2012 campaign until Monday, when it erupted under Romney's campaign. Its emergence offers a glimpse at the workings of the contemporary media: Chaotically driven by an anonymous leaker; empowered by ubiquitous recording devices; and competing not just with other media outlets, but with the source him or herself.