Internet Mistakes: Mayor, Phil, Brad

Town Drama

The mayor of Arlington, Oregon recently had a photo of herself in lingerie on her MySpace page, which was available for all to see. Residents became outraged, some even asking for a recall election.

Phil Wright, Senior Reporter for the East Oregonian newspaper, interviewed the mayor. He joins the show by phone. "When I interviewed the mayor, she was adamant that these photos had to do with her personal life and have nothing to do with her mayor's position," he says.

"What's the town saying about it?" Dr. Phil asks. "I assume they say, ‘When we elected you, we didn't exactly have this in mind.'"

"Yes, there is a group of folks who are certainly outraged by this," Phil says. "Apparently they met last night, and they're going to go to the annual town meeting tomorrow night with possibly an effort to recall the mayor. There are some town folks who seem to say, ‘If I looked that good, I'd probably post it too.'"

"I'm kind of divided about it, frankly," Dr. Phil says. "I think if you have a personal life and then your professional life, there should be some sort of separation, but I think if you then get into a position where you represent other people and, therefore, your town or you as constituents get painted with the brush of your representative, then that could be a bad thing. I understand that this picture was actually taken three years ago. How long has she been mayor?"

"She's been mayor for three years," Phil says.

"What do you think about this?" Dr. Phil asks Jasmine. "Isn't this the backlash that we were just talking about?"

"Yes, but I think in a political position, you should pay more attention to what you're putting out there because you're under more media [attention]," Jasmine says.

"Yeah, but you know, we never know what we've got coming up. You might decide to run for office, and then it gets to be a problem," Dr. Phil points out.

"Even so, the people in my group, they're in college," Jasmine says.

Amanda says, "These girls are in college right now, but Lord knows how long Facebook is going to exist. Lord knows how long those photos are going to be up in cyber space for anybody to access. Once you go onto Facebook, you see these photos. Anybody can copy and paste those photos anywhere on the Internet."

Brad says he's not the only one who uses Web sites like Facebook and MySpace to weed out potential employees. "Trust me. I'm not alone. The majority of the companies in the corporate world are doing these kinds of things to get as much information as they can about potential employees before they hire them," he says. Brad says he recently passed over a particular intern because on his Facebook profile, it said his number-one interest was "smoking blunts with the homies." "Now, was that guy kidding? Probably. But what did it say about his maturity and his judgment and his professionalism?"

"Do you recognize that that would be a problem?" Dr. Phil asks Jasmine.

"I can understand why it would be, but if his references check out, places where they've worked before, and they are a good employee from what you hear, and their résumé is also very good, then I don't see why they can't at least get an interview, and then you can see how they present themselves in a professional workplace," Jasmine says.

"What about underage girls getting on and looking at that stuff? Do you worry about them being influenced by it?" Dr. Phil asks Jasmine.

"If they didn't see it on Thirty Reasons a Girl Should Call It a Night, you could just look at commercials and the media," Jasmine says. She reiterates that she didn't mean for this group to represent the next movement for women. "I don't think this is the best way to find total equality, because people aren't going to take it seriously," she says.