“The Price of Attention is Exposure.” That’s my own saying for Congressman Joe Walsh, who made a video of himself on YouTube challenging President Obama on fiscal responsibility, which led to him being recently discovered to be a deadbeat dad.

Just a couple weeks ago, I had criticized Representative Joe Walsh’s “Obama Quit Lying” YouTube video on it’s technical issues. However that didn’t stop him from attracting the attention of the traditional news media, who considered it to be newsworthy. Joe not only created that video on the theme of fiscal responsibility, but promoted other video interviews of himself on his YouTube channel. And now there are some possibly unintended consequences of his online video exposure, in the form of claims about his own financial actions.

Here is an excerpt from the cafemom.com website on the story:

Joe Walsh is a Tea Party congressman in Illinois who has made his career on fiscal responsibility. “We’ve got a government we can’t afford, and we’re broke!” he told supporters in Chicago recently. The irony is that Walsh’s ex-wife claims the congressman, who makes $174,000 a year, is about $100,000 behind in child support payments and she has no money because of it.

“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money.” said Walsh.

Now we learn that Walsh’s ex-wife claims the congressman, who makes $174,000 a year, is $117,000 behind in child support payments, and she claims she has no money because of it.

Here’s a video from admittedly partisan MSNBC pundit Ed Shultz characterizing the news:

My own point is that this should be a lesson to not just politicians, but anyone who is doing a video to try and get widespread attention. Walsh certainly got a lot of it because of that YouTube video (which went from a few hundred views to now over 33,000 with the mainstream media’s help); but now he’s getting “exposed” in some not so positive way, as an indirect result of his own videos. One of the ways I define “exposure” in today’s online video age: “Exposure” is attention that includes an unintended and unwanted element, which raises questions of question your integrity.

What’s the Value of “Exposure” with Online Video?

“People do a lot of things just for the ‘exposure.'” That’s a quote from Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image on his company blog under the title, The Value of Good Exposure. In fact, as he goes on to share, people will do just about anything for exposure. “Ultimately, the whole point of publishing anything is to get attention and exposure…”

Usually with politicians doing video online, the idea is that any positive exposure towards building their own agenda and personal brand (along with more media attention and possible financial opportunities – both raising campaign donations and paid appearances), will offset whatever negative exposure they could stand to receive. But that’s not always the way it works.

Tea Party Congressman Walsh was successful in getting his exposure. But like many people who want attention from videos they put online, they seem fixated on getting attention on themselves, rather than getting the focus on whatever message they might be saying.