ABC Columbia Parts Ways with Columnist Ron Morris

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By News Department

ABC Columbia News General Manager Chris Bailey issued the following statement in response to ending its working relationship with columnist Ron Morris:

I made the decision yesterday, with the input from WOLO News Director Crysty Vaughan, to end our working relationship with Ron Morris. He had been providing a weekly "Mondays With Morris" segment for ABC Columbia News. Mr. Morris was not a full-time employee of the station, but a regular content provider. In light of the recent friction between Ron and other parties, I made the decision to eliminate his weekly segment in our news. This decision was mine alone. I've had no contact with anyone at the University of South Carolina, or any other parties in this matter. For our television station, Mr Morris' work was very different than his role at The State newspaper. His body of work at WOLO was not controversial, and rarely focused on Gamecock sports. It was more celebratory of the world of sports, and mostly light-hearted in nature.

Free speech is often a messy proposition, but vital in our society. I was only recently reminded of that when I traveled to part of the former Soviet Union and saw the broadcast towers formerly used to jam broadcasts from the west. Free speech, while it has expanded to many other areas of our lives, was originally put in place to protect media and writers from government censorship. It does not, however, protect the writer from consequences in the realm of public opinion or the marketplace. As a journalist, there have been times (not in Columbia) when I've stood up to pressures from the marketplace related to news content on my station. This was not one of those times, as the recent controversy had nothing to do with Ron Morris' weekly segment on WOLO.

However, I saw that WOLO might needlessly be drawn into a battle between the State Newspaper and the University, and I want to avoid that situation.

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test said on Saturday, Sep 29 at 9:51 PM

test

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SC Boy said on Saturday, Sep 29 at 1:50 PM

I stopped subscribing to the State newpaper in 2004, primarily due to Ron Morris and his bsshing of USC. When I now buy The State for USC football news I do not read anything Morris writes. Can anyone explain why Morris is so anti Gamecock and anti Southern. THANK YOU, WOLO!!!!

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Duke said on Saturday, Sep 29 at 9:09 AM

We need a local paper sports columnist that supports our local teams. We need to build up the pride in this region, not destroy it. Bash our rivals or the other USC, not the team that represents this area!!! Good decision on cutting Morris' program. Maybe the State paper will get someone else that has a little hometown pride.

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michael said on Friday, Sep 28 at 9:27 PM

Ron Morris needs to go write for Climpson !!!!

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@michael peay, you idiot said on Friday, Sep 28 at 7:08 PM

Clearly, sir, your writing skills would suggest that your own test scores were less than excellent. Oh, if I had a red pen. Please, if you are going to use the you-guys-are-stupid argument, learn the basics of writing the English language. These basics would include capitalization, punctuation, etc. Maybe a refresher course at USC would help.

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ginger said on Friday, Sep 28 at 5:58 PM

So glad you will no longer produce this segment. I have been very disappointed that him commentary was continued. I am a journalism major and my son is also. I believe in freedom of the press but only when valuable information is being shared. His personal feelings crossed that line way too many times. Thank you for trying to preserve some type of ethics.

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Dabo Swinney said on Friday, Sep 28 at 5:51 PM

Y'all can't fire him. He's one of my main recruitin' tools.

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Swampfox said on Friday, Sep 28 at 5:11 PM

I have not bought The State paper in 7 yrs. because of Ron Morris or will I till they fire him! WOLO is "GLASS ACT".

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Marknscnc said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:43 PM

Hope Moron is gone. Take Michael Peay with him.

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Mark Whitlock said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:23 PM

My father was a sportswriter for The State paper back in the 60's and I read every edition, except Ron Morris's articles. The man obviously has hatred towards Spurrier and our beloved Gamecocks. He went out of his way to disrupt our program. Goodbye Morris, go write for the Easley Times or Anderson Gazette. You are an idiot!

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micheal peay said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:15 PM

I sincerely hope you clowns get sued by Mr. Morris. You fired him because he said what he thought? Geez I hope you don't employee phil kornblut then he blatently lies and is still employeed as a writer across this stae. No wonder this state state is so low in education numbers with all these carolina fans bringing down the scores of the state. We see the results of their education in the lunatic posts on this page. Keep being the same joke of a school and fans chickens, we expect this from you.

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jcf said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:09 PM

Ron Morris needs to leave this area for good!

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Juan said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:07 PM

Awesome decision!!! Kudos to you!

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Ron Morris said on Friday, Sep 28 at 4:03 PM

Do you have any janitor jobs opening? I will clean the building.

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Anonymous said on Friday, Sep 28 at 3:52 PM

I think it is very funny that most of the posts above that think "free speech" is being violated, is from Clemson fans. BUT if it were Dabo in this situation, boy would they have something different to say!!! Free speech is one thing, but when you attack a person's integrity, morals it becomes something totally different!! Everyone should be held accountable for their actions and words!! Good Call ABC!!! and YES....I AM A PROUD GAMECOCK FAN!!!(but I would feel the same way if he was talking about Dabo)....

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dhorne said on Friday, Sep 28 at 3:50 PM

Thank you for standing up and doing the right thing. I too believe in freedom of the press, but I also believe that the press should strive to be fair and objective in what they say or print. It is obvious to me and many others that Ron Morris has a personal vendetta against the University of South Carolina, it's athletic department and to some extent the athletes who play sports there. It has gotten to the point where he will outright lie and fabricate controversy against the University and it's athletic department where none exist. Now if the State newspaper would follow suit and severe ties with this rogue journalist the world would be a much better place in which to live. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!!

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Billy Vincent said on Friday, Sep 28 at 3:22 PM

Kudos!!!! I will recommend your station as a possible advertising venue for my many clients in the Columbia area. Thanks for holding Mr. Morris responsible for his actions.

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max_acceleration said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:58 PM

@Steve - we are glad you don't live here too since you obviously don't understand the difference between free speech and outright lies. There is a difference between reporting facts and trying to influence facts. Keep up the good work WOLO!

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Lo said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:55 PM

Thank you, WOLO! I am a former newspaper reporter who has been a torch-bearer for our constitution's right to freedom speech and the press. The operative word in reporting or commenting on a subject in the press is "credibility." Ron Morris lost his credibility almost as soon as he came into Columbia. First it was his vitriol against Lou Holtz; and then Spurrier. I would actually cringe while reading his articles. When his spot came on your newscast, I would flip the channel. It is a real shame, because the guy is not a bad writer. But when a reporter/columnist uses the press as nothing more than his own personal bully pulpit, it’s time to show him the door. With zero credibility, Morris adds nothing of value to his product; whether in the press, online or in a broadcast. Columbia is smiling today! Let’s hope THE STATE follows WOLO and cans him.

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Anonymous said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:47 PM

Wise choice. Fair, accurate and unbiased reporting and opinions should be what all news stations strive to communicate. This member of your staff was out of line on more than several occasions.

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USC1 said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:43 PM

I fully support the HBC! ABC Columbia you did the appropriate thing,bidding farewell to Mr. Morris. Maybe he will move to Clemson and continue is reporting there....seems like there is a lot to be said about Yaba Daba Didn't...To bad so sad

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IHATERONMORRIS said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:37 PM

Very wise decision...let's hope The State gets rid of him soon and he is on the next train to anywhere outside of our great state.

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Bill Board said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:33 PM

Well, bye.

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Anonymous said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:33 PM

Thank you WOLO. My station of choice from here on out.

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SC1984 said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:27 PM

Glad to hear you made this move. I'm sure your station will reap rewards from this. TV news tends to be only bad news...it's refreshing when something positive is reported.

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Jeff Oppold said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:13 PM

There's journalism and there's biased, unjustified, frequent and oftentimes inaccurate attacks on an institution & its members with little to no accountability. I applaud WOLO for avoiding getting dragged into a situation where the one doing the lying and attacking (well over the line in saying USC is akin to Penn State) is finally getting what he's been asking for for far too long. If The State were smart, they'd do the same if only for the sake of their advertising customers.

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Ted Stryker said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:08 PM

Good move. Will look forward to see his tail lights leaving town back to the midwest.

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Joey Rizk said on Friday, Sep 28 at 2:05 PM

The old saying is you reap what your sew. Mr Morris continues to fabricate his opinion as fact base and I applaud your decision to cut ties with one of the worst journalist/reporters I have ever read. While Freedom of Speech is truly and American freedom, consequences also apply to everyone's Freedom of Speech.

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Gamecock Gary said on Friday, Sep 28 at 1:56 PM

You punish a man for free speech and telling the truth? You further prove that Steve Spurrier has too much power. Even though I'm a Gamecock, I'll be glad when Spurrier finally leaves. This is ridiculous.

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Irish Girl, get a clue said on Friday, Sep 28 at 1:54 PM

Ever stop to think that anyone who compares anyone or ANYTHING to the atrocity at Penn State deserves to be fired?

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Irish Girl said on Friday, Sep 28 at 1:48 PM

You severed your relationship with Ron Morris because you believe in free speech?! What a convoluted statement you made! It shows that you are basing your business actions on your personal feelings! No wonder your station is consistently third in ratings!

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Steve Hooks said on Friday, Sep 28 at 1:46 PM

It appears you are saying you have stood up to forces against free speech everywhere but in Columbia. Glad I don't live there and have to watch your station

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Tigerfan'81 said on Friday, Sep 28 at 1:40 PM

I always enjoyed the unjustified hate and unfair treatment Mr. Morris exhibited when dealing with the University of South Carolina. He will be sorely missed by Clemson fans.

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Joel Richardson said on Friday, Sep 28 at 12:44 PM

Though I do not get your television coverage here I do applaud your stand for fairness for the University, our players,our coaches, and the State of South Carolina. Thank you.

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AverageJoe said on Friday, Sep 28 at 12:00 PM

Kudos to you! Gamecock Nation is your viewer base and we support this decision. No longer are you on the blacklist.

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