Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good Morning

I'd have to say that Good Morning America gave a fair enough presentation this morning, even if there were still piles of debris visible in the background while I typed at the computer. Well, I call those "stacks of paper," or sometimes, "work." Also, you couldn't tell, but that laptop was not connected to the Internet, for some reason the wireless wasn't working. I was writing stuff in Notepad like, "Herre I acm typpping stff with tehe camrea poidnted st me, tryign not to uuse te bckspace kkey so it dosnt' look likke Im mmaking a lllot of misakes." Yeah, I was going fast, too. America should have been impressed.

Before the show came on, they had a couple of teasers that gave me the uh-oh feeling. Some lady (I never watch this show, I don't know one of them from the other) said something like, "Sex-ed -- has it crossed over the line a little bit?" Then the usual stay-tuned stuff. And I was thinking, oh great, I spent a whole night talking to these guys so they could make a big point about Sex Ed Gone Wild.

Then Diane Sawyer came on to introduce the piece (her I do recognize from somewhere, did she used to be on a different show?), and she took the same angle: "Sex ed. Your child's education. Do you really know what they're being taught?"

And I'm thinking I'd better turn this off now. Because, look, it's no secret what they're being taught. The school district has it on their web site, we have it on our web site, the CRC has it somewhere on their web site. The teachers are supposed to pretty much read the script word for word, so what you see there is what is taught.

And when the story started, there was the banner thing at the bottom of the screen saying, "A whole new sex ed -- Do you know what is being taught?"

Like it was some big secret or something, like parents are going to be shocked to find out what's going on.

But then the story was fine. Michelle Turner said her regular thing, I said mine, a psychiatrist said something, they showed some statistics. Most people in the country agree with Teach the Facts. OK, we knew that, and we know the proportion is much greater in Montgomery County than in most places.

Anyway, the interviews were good enough. They showed the usual school hallway scenes, a couple of shots of the CRC's meeting a couple of weeks ago, with their big yellow signs.

I think that viewers of the show can look at that story and know what side they're on. I doubt that we changed anybody's mind.

The producer had called me the night before to tell me when it would be on. I think it's interesting how they do this. They have an idea for a story, they send out some camera crews to the usual suspects and get some tape of people talking, and then they sit in New York and put together a script, stringing statements from the tapes together with narrative in-between. When I talked to her, eight or nine o'clock the night before, they still hadn't actually put the show together. She said she had been working on the script. So it's like "found art," but on a big budget, put together in real time, and real fast. I respect what those people have to do (even though I do not accept that the reality on TV has anything to do with "reality"). They work under a lot of pressure -- this sort of thing could really blow up in your face, but they make something of it.

It looked to me like there was a disconnect between two levels of producers. The higher-up guys assigned a story about shocking changes in education that will just now be revealed to parents for the first time, and the in-the-trenches people saw the tapes, saw that there is a real issue here, saw what was going on, and put together a show that was closer to the truth.

I understand somebody got it on tape, and we ought to have a transcript at some point, maybe today. It went by pretty fast, I didn't exactly memorize it. They didn't use the really stupid stuff I said, and they cut out all the stammering and cussing. Just joking, I didn't stammer.

You talk to the camera for like a half hour, and then they use ten seconds of it. That's TV.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Video there as well.


March 22, 2007 1:19 PM  

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