The mainstream media in North Carolina and some national outlets is taking North Carolina’s Republican leadership to task, blaming them for everything from returning us to the days of slavery, ruining our schools, politicizing our government, endangering our environment, uncaring for the poor and sick and most everything else including the heartbreak of psoriasis. The question is whether these claims are the whining of a liberal media, as Republicans contend, or justified responses to their actions. If you answered “yes” to both these questions you are right.
Gone are the days when journalists reported only the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a story, with opinions confined to the editorial page. All of us have biases and it is impossible for them not to influence everything we do. But despite their protests to the contrary most media reporters have a liberal perspective they learned in journalism school from predominantly liberal professors. They got jobs in newsrooms managed by people themselves trained by these schools and quickly learned to deliver stories acceptable to these managers.
We’ve not kept a tally but it is a pretty sure bet there have been more negative than positive media reports about recent events in North Carolina. Let’s also admit the media wasn’t nearly so critical in reporting the negative when Democrats were running things, but the record will show some political talk shows (like NC SPIN), columnists and reporters did speak to Democratic excesses, shenanigans and bad governance. Republicans, however, are justified in saying there is a liberal media bias.
That said, it is the job of the media to report and comment on events of the day. Polls clearly show most people are not happy. To be sure some of that unhappiness results from negative news stories but much of it can be credited to both the pace and the scope of changes made. There is a normal resistance to change but the rapid and overwhelming changes Republicans made are affecting most every aspect of our life.
The past eight months have been analogous to a group of people, starved for a long time, suddenly turned loose on a scrumptious smorgasbord. Republicans had been on a 100-year fast of being out of control and this year appeared to binge in their newfound power.
It is hard to imagine Republicans won’t remain in control of state government for at least the next few years, so no matter how broken they think our state to be, a little discipline, prioritization and slower pace would have been more acceptable than a total about face. Any ship’s captain will tell you the best way to turn a vessel around is to do so a few degrees at a time. Because they made so many changes so quickly Republicans brought much of this criticism on themselves.
Our state does not benefit from a media or political party in defiant opposition to every act, but neither does it progress from unrestrained exhibitions of power. It is time both the media and the politicians responsibly work for our state’s welfare instead of their own agendas. The boxing match we are currently witnessing is unproductive and unhelpful to a state that needs help at most every turn.
Isn’t it possible to have a “both and” instead of an “either or” approach?
Tom Campbell is former assistant North Carolina State Treasurer and is creator/host of NC SPIN, a weekly statewide television discussion of NC issues airing Sundays at 5:30 am on WFMY-TV and Saturdays at 7:00am and 9:00am as well as Sundays at 12pm and 10:30pm on WGSR. Contact him at www.ncspin.com.