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By now most political followers in Mount Airy have heard about Andy Griffith’s endorsement of Barack Obama, and by “endorsement” I mean his appearance in a video masterminded by Ron Howard that recreates a scene from The Andy Griffith show to demonstrate its Democratic support. The full clip can be seen here and, in my opinion, the spoof of Happy Days with Henry Winkler is far funnier.

What’s interesting is how fast word of Mount Airy’s “reaction” can spread, showing just how captive our public image is to the Mayberry brand. It goes like this, the Winston-Salem Journal does a quick story about locals reaction that only interviews a few people to come to the conclusion that folks here are unhappy about the clip. The article gets picked up by the Associated Press and within 24 hours it’s running in Charlotte, in Hendersonville, in northern Virginia, in Greenville (there they say it’s creating quite a stir) in Salisbury, and in Myrtle Beach. I could keep going, but you get the point.

What’s locals’ real reaction? Well everyone I ask has a different take, especially since it’s no secret that Griffith likes to publicly endorse Democrats. You’d have to interview more than a few people to get a true barometer. Just like you have to look beyond Mayberry to get a taste of Mount Airy’s true colors. But in the world of mass media, our identity gets shaped lightening quick to the outsiders looking in.

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