A Political Ad That some Say Has Backfired, The Elusive Memphis Manatee, and Other Outdoor Ramblings!

I generally try to stay away from politics on this blog but the RNC ad against Democratic Senatorial Candidate Harold Ford Junior of Memphis is getting a lot of national attention. The ad has been pulled in many markets across the Volunteer State although I heard Thursday morning it was still playing in Chattanooga. Now HFJr has come out with a counter ad. This tight race in Tennessee has already been getting national attention and now this RNC attack ad is in the spotlight with some national pundits claiming it may have backfired. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

Q:So, just what is a manatee doing in the Wolf River Harbor?
A:It appears to be the backstroke!
Goodnight folks, try the veal, it’s the chef’s favorite.
Seriously, this manatee thing is what we used to call a “No Sh*t” story. We’d tell people about it and they’d respond with “No Sh*t”! I got the same reaction when about ten years ago I reported that an alligator had been found up near Shelby Forest. However, we have gators not too far from here but a manatee is something completely different. When I lived in Florida and worked in Tallahassee at the ABC affiliate, we did a series of stories on manatees. We traveled down to the Crystal River near Tampa. We used scuba gear and an underwater camera and put together a nice series. Somewhere around here I still have the video of me with a manatee. Despite the fact they are quite large, they can move very quickly when they want to. I just hope some yahoo here in the MidSouth doesn’t decide he or she wants to see what manatee ribs might taste like and attempt to put this one on the grill.

And I wanted to respond to a question from an anonymous poster on the previous post. I was asked if I missed MidSouth Outdoors (now NewsChannel 3 Outdoors) on WREG. The person said I always looked like I was having a good time.
Yes, I always enjoyed the Outdoor show and if I had been given the opportunity, I would have done the outdoor show full time. I started out as the original host on the show and was joined by Carl Graham and Craig Chapman (depending on whether we were talking fishing or hunting) on a set built to look like the inside of a cabin.
I spent a lot of time trying to put together stories for the outdoor show and had a tremendous amount of fun doing it. I remember thinking at the time, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.” That is a sign you really enjoy what you are doing. Remember, this was in addition to anchoring the morning show with MaryBeth Conley and turning a news package most days. A lot of my reporting switched over to feature which would never be allowed these days since consultants don’t want to see it, but it was always interesting to me. One of the big differences I found with feature reporting was that for the most part, people actually welcomed you. This contrasted with the routine of daily news coverage where you almost had to beg people to let you come out to talk to them about the news of the day. I never did get the knack of knocking on the door of the family of a murder victim and asking them if they would talk to us on camera.
Anyway, I credit the arrival of photographer/editor/producer Dan Patton to the outdoor show and Jeff Woods switching to full-time co-host to the outdoor show’s success. After a couple of years my news duties expanded to include anchoring the Noon show and that meant my duties on the outdoor show were slowly phased out. I used to tell people we had a two and a half man team on the show with me being the half-man.
While I did turn an occasional piece for show, most of my participation was limited to introducing pieces during the show. Still I had a great time and have very fond memories of the outdoor show and the many people I met. One of the best known pieces that ever aired on the outdoor show was when we first shared the story of the “flying carp” on the Mississippi. My dad is the one who first told me about it and supplied some home video of the fish jumping into the boat. Later, we traveled to Western Kentucky to fish with my dad. Both stories
ended up on the national news and for a year or so after that, CBS used our video to supplement their stories on the bighead carp. I have a recording of both stories and watch them occasionally. That trip with my dad on the river was one of the last times I went out on the Mighty Mississippi with my father before he died of cancer.
Did I enjoy the outdoor show? You betcha. Would I do another outdoor show? In a heartbeat.

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11 Comments on “A Political Ad That some Say Has Backfired, The Elusive Memphis Manatee, and Other Outdoor Ramblings!”

  1. bishop Says:

    Well the RNC should be ashame of themselves for putting an ad like that on air. I think this election has become distateful and Bob Corker is not worthy of anybody’s votes. he lied about not attacking Ford family but he has on sevreal occasions. Jr. should not have gone to the press conference. That was desperation on his part. I personally hope Jr. wins because he the better candidate. Jr. has dealt with issues and Corker has dealt with Jr.

  2. Average Guy Says:

    Think about this regarding the questionable ad. First, nothing in it was false. It may have put the manipulated the facts into a context negative to the congressman, but it wasn’t false. Second, it will work to Corker’s benefit — check the polls this coming week. Dollar to a donut says Corker gained ground. That ad wasn’t designed for Memphis. It was targeting the Republican base, particularly in East Tennessee. Everyone says they don’t like the negative ads but the reality is that one is better off defining his opponent in a negative light because that is what the voter remembers — like it or not.

    Regarding the Battle of Wilson Air, poor move on Jr’s part. He looked very unsenatorial. The negative ad didn’t have Corker’s image or name. The show at Wilson Air showed Jr as the Republicans would like everyone to see him — too imature for such an important office.
    The GM

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I love how the media (which i’m a part of ) tried to jump on the bandwagon that the ad was racist. PLEASE. how about crying wolf a little more. that being said, the ads suck and they should concentrate on the ads that talk about who they reall are.

  4. Latilleon Says:

    Joe, you opened a can of worms…

    Anony 3:11, there is a reason people are saying the ad caters to racial insecurities… This something I wrote on a message board before the media blitz happened because of the RNC ad:

    I think it is trying to further a perspection that he is an elitest, and does things not assessable to most Tennesseans. The Porn producer giving him money thing is trying to make him look morally corrupt, but most of that stuff is just GOP talking points against democratic candidates. Something else that I think is subminal, and whether people want to believe it, its obvious to me, that the “playmate” (who really isn’t that attractive, was that intentional?) asking Ford to call her will piss off close bigotted folks who don’t care Ford is black, but don’t want to see him dating white women. I think that is still an issue this day in age. Remember the justification for racism on the part of many once upon the time was the incorrect description of black men as unable to control sexual urges and a threat to rape good Christian white women. That still plays with some, and can motivate them to vote against Ford where they may not care enough to be motivated to vote for Bob Corker.

    Had that last little clip of the “playmate” saying “Call Me” wasn’t included, I don’t think it was have been as big of an issue. But that little second long add-on feels like a message that might not reach 95% of viewers, but that five percent that may be the difference between a Ford or a Corker victory.

  5. newsboyarizona Says:

    I remember seeing the flying carp story on WREG.com a few years back. My favorite part was when the carp jumped into the boat, looked at the camera, and said, “Harold, call me,” and made a pretend phone with her fin. That fish was quite a catch.

  6. Joe Larkins Says:

    Newsboyarizona,
    I think you need to lay off the peyote buds. lol You are starting to scare me.
    Thanks for checking in.
    Regards,
    Joe

  7. bishop Says:

    The gm,

    How do you know the content is ture?I don’t think this is working in his favor. The national attention that it’s gotten has stirrd ups ome things. If he wins based on those ad’s then the Republican party is a major disgrace. attack issues not personal. Bob Corker hired illegal aliens. That’s a crook to me.

  8. Average Guy Says:

    Bishop,
    The content has never been challenged. Jr was at the Playboy party: he took money from those connected to the porn industry. My response is “big deal”. Others who are “social conservatives” will take offense. The ad bites Ford because it attacks his character. It is saying watch what Jr does, not what he says.

    Because the national media is in such an uproar makes it play to Corker’s advantage — in my opinion. Many Tennesseeans take exception to the natioal media’s interpetation of the ad as appealing to racial stereotypes. Each voter will see what he or she wants to see in the ad. Where this ad will be effective are those fence sitters who have not made up their mind. Some will be turned off and go with Ford, others will decide Corker is their man based on the ad. Regardless, negative advertising in political campaigns generally works despite the voting public saying they don’t like it.
    The GM

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more to the story of Jr. being rude on a commercial flight. This was going around last summer where he was on a flight, using his cell phone. Just before landing, the attendant told him to please finish his call, he couldn’t be on the phone during the end of the flight. He refused and got ugly with her. This isn’t senatorial behavior either.

  10. Latilleon Says:

    Joe, you opened a can of worms…

    Anony 3:11, there is a reason people are saying the ad caters to racial insecurities… This something I wrote on a message board before the media blitz happened because of the RNC ad:

    I think it is trying to further a perspection that he is an elitest, and does things not assessable to most Tennesseans. The Porn producer giving him money thing is trying to make him look morally corrupt, but most of that stuff is just GOP talking points against democratic candidates. Something else that I think is subiminal, and whether people want to believe it, its obvious to me, that the “playmate” (who really isn’t that attractive, was that intentional?) asking Ford to call her will piss off closet bigotted folks who don’t care Ford is black, but don’t want to see him dating white women. I think that is still an issue this day in age. Remember the justification for racism on the part of many once upon the time was the incorrect description of black men as unable to control sexual urges and a threat to rape good Christian white women. That still plays with some, and can motivate them to vote against Ford where they may not care enough to be motivated to vote for Bob Corker.

    Had that last little clip of the “playmate” saying “Call Me” wasn’t included, I don’t think it was have been as big of an issue. But that little second long add-on feels like a message that might not reach 95% of viewers, but that five percent that may be the difference between a Ford or a Corker victory.


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