Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Narrow the scope of a major issue: UNC's PR intent?

     In recent days there has been a sort of "war of words" between a.) a UNC professor who has (for several years) been steadfast in his objection to the school's ongoing athletic/academic scandals, and b.) a UNC learning specialist who has tried to discredit both the professor and another UNC faculty member (who also happens to be a whistleblower of sorts).  The professor is Jay Smith, and the whistleblower, of course, is Mary Willingham -- essentially the only two university faculty members who have consistently spoken out about the scandals that have not only damaged the university's reputation, but also brought into question its morals.
     As has often been the case in recent years, whenever a UNC apologist has spoken up and tried to turn the focus away from the school and/or tried to discredit those who question the university's actions/morals, the focus of his/her argument is much too narrow in scope.  This is a popular Public Relations tactic: draw the public's attention away from the more important and damaging issues.  In this particular case the efforts deal with the wording in emails, the possible intent of Smith and Willingham's continued strong stance, and other "small picture" issues meant to deflect from the big picture: ongoing academic fraud that clearly benefited athletics.

     So the question is this:  what would the apologists latch onto if the BIG PICTURE of all of the university's past questionable practices were ever fully revealed for the nationwide public to peruse, while also allowing those people to come to an unbiased conclusion based on the entirety of those events?  There would be no small nuances of wordings to focus upon, nor bickering emails to parse over and dissect in an effort to look for intent (while deflecting from the main issues at hand), or anything else of such a limited scope.

     The answer to that question may soon rise to the surface.

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