Update 1: I put the tv on this morning to see Good Morning America. Before yesterday I had no idea who the anchors were. Now, after their UNC taping, and finding links for my blog post, I recognize them. I also know their names and a little bit about them. It was interesting to see them back in the studio, all dressed up, rather than wearing “College” sweatshirts and stepping gingerly around ram droppings.
Update 2: ABC News has made a big deal that it has set up bureaus on college campuses, including UNC, to get closer to the stories on the ground. There is an On Campus blog, which previews the visit to UNC from a post on Friday. There is no update on the actual event, other than comments on the post. They are missing a major opportunity to connect to their audience using social media. I did post a link to my flickr photos, which have copious tags, so maybe someone can get an idea of what they should be doing.
Update 3: Here’s a comment from Dr. Charles R. Coble posted on the blog post:
I just wanted to share a little about my experience at the ABC Good Morning America visit to the campus of UNC-CH early this morning.
Of the thousand or so people assembled for the 5:30-8:00 a.m. broadcast, probably 30% (including the band and cheerleaders, plus the Chancellor) were Carolina students dressed or painted in “Carolina blue” and just having fun. Minimally 60% were additionally adorned with home made and printed Obama signs. At the most 10% were carrying McCain/Palin signs.
The Obama supporters had come as early as 4:00 a.m. (and earlier) to claim the most visible positions during the broadcast. But, as the time for the program airing neared, the ABC staff demanded that the Obama supporters give up their space for McCain supporters – and furthermore demanded that at least half the visible positions be given to the small number of McCain supporters there! Many students resisted, but one of the “handlers” actually shouted that it wasn’t about being fair – it was about $$ and keeping management happy – in fact she was being screamed at over her head-phones by the producers, so she felt she had no choice. It was a dramatic lesson in moral decision-making for the young people who witnessed these events.
The Obama supporters started chanting “Yes We Can” until the “handlers” quieted the crowd so that the taping could proceed.
So, this ABC news and entertainment broadcast, as seen by the public gives the impression that the campus is nearly divided in support of Obama and McCain. It was all choreographed and in no way represents the reality on the ground – just like the managers wanted it. This is what the free press does when it is no longer free from corporate manipulation.
It was a stark reminder of why this election is so important. The secrecy and manipulation of information that has escalated so dramatically over the past 8 years has to end and the recovery of our democracy must begin – under our new President, Barak Obama!.