October 26, 2007

Edwards' Campaign Tries to Silence Student Reporter

A local radio station has been discussing this YouTube video for the past few hours, detailing how a journalism grad student from UNC-Chapel Hill has been the target of presidential candidate John Edwards' Media folks. Student Carla Babb's assignment was to create a feature piece on a topic being discussed on campus, so she decided to present a "fair and balanced" piece in response to an article written by another student in the Daily Tar Heel campus newspaper. The DTH news article had stated that Edwards' campaign office, located in an "affluent" part of Chapel Hill, contradicted his "campaign platform of fighting poverty." Babb created a video piece for the "Carolina Week" newscast, interviewing both that student reporter and another student working as an intern for Edwards' campaign office. She then posted the video on YouTube as part of an MTV News contest. Soon thereafter, she received a call from campaign officials working for Edwards, demanding that she pull her story offline and "saying that the story was straight from the Republican Party." C.A. "Charlie" Tuggle, a professor at UNC and news director of the "Carolina Week" broadcast, received repeat calls from Edwards' campaign after Babb refused to remove her piece from the web. "I thought I wrote it as balanced as possible," Babb stated in a radio interview.

You can read the rest of the details in the AP story here and watch the video for yourself below.

What do you think? Was her story fair and balanced? Have Edwards' campaign officials turned a non-subject into a major exposition of how silly they can react to something that otherwise would have only been seen by a few thousand people?

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