Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Location, position of McCain-Palin interview draws questions

Today's GOP rally in Green hit the notes most expected .. and provided NBC the added bonus of Brian Williams' sit-down interview with McCain and Palin ..and later, the broadcast of Nightly News live from Summit County.

I immediately got an email from a lady in Green who brings up an interesting point. Here's an excerpt:

As an Obama Supporter and Green Taxpayer I find this completely unacceptable. I had a conversation with Superintendent Wade Lucas to express my displeasure at the fact that he would allow the campaign to come onto the campus while school is in session. He assured me that the rally didn't represent an endorsement by Green Local Schools, and the McCain campaign was simply renting the stadium. This doesn't explain how and why they were allowed in the school. I would ask this question of Superintendent Lucas but I am sure the answer will be that this was a wonderful educational experience for the students in Green. I agree with that answer, but I don't think a wonderful educational experience should trump my rights as a taxpayer or the rights of the students of Green High School who may be supporting Senator Obama.

To his credit, Mr. Lucas did extend an invitation for the Obama campaign to come to Green Stadium and returned my call on 7:45 on Monday night when his work day should have long been over. I have passed that invitation on to the field staff. I assure you that this has nothing to do with my support of Senator Obama but instead my desire to see that our schools don't become a venue for partisan politics.

Now ... historically, candidates don't like to use a venue that their opponent visited. In other words, since Barack Obama had a rally at the Knight Center during the primary, I doubt McCain-Palin would use it should the GOP come to downtown Akron. So, her mention that Obama has been invited to Green H.S. probably won't be accepted as the campaigns never want to have their events compared on an apples-to-apples basis.

What do you think?

Oh .. and one other minor point .. anyone else find it interesting that in the NBC interview, Palin was sitting on the left side of the screen? If you've ever taken any kind of media communications class, you know that the left side is the power position. Military officers always walk with their subordinates to their left ... so anyone approaching them would see the senior member on the left (same as the left side of a TV screen) and know whom to salute. So I'm just wondering why McCain wasn't on the left with his Vice-Presidential nominee to his left? In the shots where we saw the two of them, she looked more powerful by position.

Ahhhhhh .. it's the little things we TV folks pick up on .. .thoughts?


Chris H. said...

Eric ...

I went to the GHS website today (not Greene Memorial HS as some on our favorite station called it) ... and found this letter that was sent home to parents.

No matter your party affiliation, this was a tremendous opportunity for some of the students there.

Eric Mansfield said...

Yeah, my first impression is that I'd love for either candidate to visit my sons' schools to give them the experience of having a real-life Presidential Candidate so close by.

Still, she makes a point worthy of discussion .. so I wondered what others think.

Anonymous said... the same rules apply when Hillary Clinton calls Ellet High School her campaign stop for a thousand people a little over a month ago? Or Chelsea Clinton doing the same at the taxpayer-supported University of Akron during the primary?

Anonymous said...

Mary Taylor? Ohio's own Sarah Palin, who lives in Green, and went from first-term on Green City Council to State Auditor in about five years, thanks to good looks and a couple of big campaign contributors. The only Republican in state-wide office.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that Gov. Palin was sitting on teh left becasue McCain's campaign is so inept and oblivious to the little things that they did not notice or bother to change it?

Anonymous said...

OK...I'm going to guess that there is no "power position" conspiracy here. Look where the camera is positioned. Now look at the legs of the candidates. Makes sense to put the person in a skirt on the left, doesn't it?

Chris H. said...

Looks like you can ask the same question of Buchtel.

Anonymous said...

No matter which side she sits on, the Senator
shouldn't do "sit downs" with his running mate...sitting next to her makes him look 92,
instead of 72 !!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Buchtel~

How can the school "open the doors" at 2:00 for a 3:30 event that's open to the public? Akron does have school Friday, correct?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some people really get themselves worked up about the silliest things. Rallies for both parties are held throughout the country on school campuses and no one thinks the school is endorsing them or that it is somehow a misuse of taxpayer money or an inappropriate use of school property. It is a great closeup look at history in the making, no matter whose side you're on. I agree with the previous comment that you didn't hear the same complaint with Hillary and probably not with Michelle tomorrow.

And really, who cares what side of the camera they sit on? I'm more concerned about what the candidates have to say than about from what chair they said it.

After reading your blog for some time, it would seem that you are an Obama supporter personally. You are much more critical of the Republican candidates than of the Democrats. I understand that this is a personal blog, but as a journalist I thought you would present yourself as being more neutral nonetheless.

Ben said...

The kids got a lot out of it. I was there and so many were involved in one way or another. Great for them.

buck said...

Eric was simply making a point that is taught in video broadcasting classes around the world (where people sit and what that implies).

Secondly, anonymous (above Ben), when looking at the recent campaign stops in Ohio, there have been stark differences between the two. Palin does not/will not do unscripted and spontaneous q and a's with the press because she can't handle them. She has proven this. If she were to be asked any question about the economy, do you think she could give an answer without saying "Joe the Plumber"? Nope.

She rolled up at the Akron-Canton Airport, greeted a soldier's parents for a photo op and left. Eric noted that George Bush 43 at least meets with families privately and doesn't do that as a photo op.

Eric scored a private one on one with Joe Biden. That interview was more insightful than anything we've seen or heard from Palin.

Eric asked Senator Obama about his bracelet backstage at an event and Republican supporters on this board accused Obama of wearing that bracelet for political gain. That is ludacris. The rest of the video from that interview that was done after the intervew was over was very real and unrehearsed. When have we seen any real human touch from the McCain campaign?

Anonymous said...

I just want to mention that a member of the local Obama campaign staff did come and speak to a group of students sometime last month. This group of students call themselves the "Young Democrats" (there is a similar group of "Young Republicans" as well). My son was in attendance at the Young Democrats meeting and received a lot of campaign literature. This took place after school, as an extracurricular activity. My point is that although there will not be a large rally held in Green by Obama, his campaign has been represented there. And, although we support Obama, I was very pleased that my sons had the opportunity to see and hear the Republican candicates this week. It was a good experience for them.

Eric Mansfield said...

Anon ..

You're not the first to assume that I'm an Obama supporter from how I write ... just as those who know me in the military (I'm a retired Army officer) assume that I'm a McCain supporter from how I speak.

All I can say is that I call it like I see it .. and if you go back through the previous posts, you'll find plenty of times where I highlight local members of both parties .. mostly Democrats.

And while you may see some of I've written as "critical", my goal is to illuminate what I've seen and put it into the context of either how it compared to what I had expected .. or how it compares to what I've seen in the past.

For example, I didn't say that putting Palin on the left side of the screen was wrong, I simply said that it didn't fit with the basics of the "power" side of the screen that we're taught as broadcasters. Had Obama and Biden been positioned like that, I would have written the same critique.

Had I covered the McCain-Palin rally Wednesday, I would have blogged about the good and bad that I saw ... regardless of the party affiliation. I didn't end up working Wednesday so that's why it's not mentioned here.

Stay in touch .. Eric

Village Green said...

Regarding use of school facilities -- all kinds of groups rent them including those that are religious and/or political. Who cares as long as they pay the going rate.

R. S. said...

Actually I couldn't care less where the candidates have their rallies. Or is that could care less?
It is a great opportunity for these students to witness first hand and to be a part of history is awesome!.
I just wish that they would have these rallies when I'm not working! The Obama rally coming up in Canton is suppose to start at 12:30 I believe. I would love to attend, but I like some don't get paid for not showing up.
Hmmmmmmmm, am I like Joe?? No wait! I don't owe back taxes!

SallyB said...

What's ludicrous here is that some people DO NOT KNOW HOW TO SPELL CORRECTLY!!!!! "Ludacris" is a musician, not a proper word! Just goes to show how badly literacy in this country has devolved under the Bush, who seems to pride himself on his lack of intellectual curiosity and his constant misuse of the English language, which is an embarassment to the rest of the world that we have had, by all accounts, a not very bright Texas cowboy for a President who is being manipulated by a bunch of Manichean puppets bent on ruling the world by military force. Got news for you, NeoCons - empires never last. Eventually they collapse under their own bloated weight.

Yeah. I'm biased. So there. I'm not ashamed of saying so, either.

Oh, and PS: I was at the Ellet High School rally where Hillary Clinton appeared to stump for Barack Obama, so that was the use of a school building as well for a blatantly partisan political event, only it was on a Sunday afternoon when school was not in session.