Saturday, April 30, 2005

Charter Schools

When the Terry Sanford Institute released a study in 2004 critical of charter schools, the N&O went along for the ride and gave the study prominent coverage. Now that the John Locke Foundation has challenged the Sanford study, it would be nice to see the N&O provide equal coverage.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Story Ignored

Rest assured that if a Republican senator referred to a prominent liberal group as Antichrist we would see the story in the N&O. But when a Democratic senator, Ken Salazar from Colorado, called James Dobson's Focus on the Family organization an Antichrist group, we saw nothing in the paper here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Balanced When They Want to Be

During 2004 this area, along with many other parts of the country, witnesses very focused voter registration drives. I spent a considerable amount of time volunteering at county fairs, stock car races etc. registering voters, and we went to great lengths to ensure the registrations were valid.
The N.C. Board of Elections discovered that at least one liberal group, the NC Public Interest Research Group, submitted fraudulent registrations. The group quickly blamed the problem on low-level staffers.

The N&O ran an updated story on 26 April, and to appear to be "balanced" they focused first on the NC Republican Party, then on the Wake County Republican Party, and only then on the liberal group that caused the problem. As you might expect, they referred to NCPIRG as a nonprofit rather than a liberal advocacy group.

I have not seen any claims that Republican or conservative groups submitted blatantly fraudulent registrations, so why not act like a good investigative paper, run a story detailing who the NCPIRG is, who funds them and how they will be punished for violations of federal law. Trying to drag Republicans into a story on liberal fraud is not balanced, it's unethical.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Who is in Charge Here?

Another front page article about proposed cuts in education, and still no clarification that Democrats are in charge of the cuts. In fact, this article tries to help Gov. Easley by claiming that the cuts proposed by the (Dem) legislature are deeper than Easley's own cuts.

Headline on the Bolton story today, "Senator urges Bolton to withdraw." So the N&O thinks it is a story that a partisan hack like Chris Dodd from CT calls for Bolton's withdrawal? And why not run the headline "Democrat urges Bolton to withdraw" so the story gets the ho-hum attention it deserves.

Note to Republicans who vote against Bolton: The party has done better since dumping a guy like Jeffords, so while they would hate to give up a seat, beware of finding yourself on the other side of the aisle for good.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bush Success

The N&O ran a front page article on the difficulties President Bush is facing in his second term. The "news" article could have been written by Howard Dean as it hit all of the main anti-Bush talking points.

But buried on page 18A was the news that as of today all Syrian troops will be out of Lebanon. Here is a tremendous success for the Bush Doctrine, and there is little doubt that our liberation of Iraq gave freedom movements in the Middle East the boost needed to voice their dissatisfaction. So it is newsworthy to the N&O editors that in one article a Democratic filibuster is a Bush "failure," but there is no mention in the paper of the Bush success in Lebanon.

Bigger Picture

The left continues to claim that we are losing the war in Iraq, and the MSM supports that false assertion by playing up any story on coalition losses. But the underlying story is that the insurgency is losing. You only catch a glimpse of that truth in the N&O.

In an article today about the recent attack on the MI-8 helicopter with the Blackwater employees, one paragraph in the AP story revealed that a civilian Iraqi tipped US soldiers off about the location of the insurgents who attacked the helicopter. When the locals are feeding info to US troops, which they have been doing for some time, it means the insurgents are losing badly. This story deserves the front page as much as the story about the helicopter going down.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Bill Kristol's article on the Bolton nomination is worth the read and makes the editorialists in the N&O look amateurish in comparison.

The Pope and Delay

The N&O scored twice yesterday by parroting the talking points of the left. An article on the pope carried the headline, "New pope surprisingly warm." Remember that even with wire service stories the N&O can pick the headline. The first paragraph of the article carried this reporting gem noting that the pope was "showing increasing signs that he is not the aloof, dour prelate that many expected." Notice the word many in the article. Who is many? A few on the left would like to classify the pope as orthodox, or even aloof and dour, but that is about it.

The second score was the ability of the paper to carry an article about Tom Delay for the 7th straight day. Remember the issue here is that a congressman has cozied up to lobbyists and taken trips on their dime. Is this news? It may be worth one article, but the MSM is pumping it for all it is worth in an effort to muddy an outspoken conservative.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Where is this story?

This story is strangely absent from the N&O. Wonder why?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Going After Benedict

The MSM has already begun to attempt to form public opinion regarding the new pope, but I think they will be disappointed in their efforts. The N&O reacted in form with a front-page article quoting an authoritative source - Jose Silvano, a travel agent from Brazil - who said Ratzinger was "the right pope for the cardinals, but not for the people."

They followed with 2 articles inside the paper from the AP. One outlined all of the liberal criticisms of the new pope and the other headline ran "Developing world disappointed, stoic." If this is the objective reporting the pope will receive on day 1, imagine how the MSM will try to portray him in year 2.

So why this reaction from the liberals? I don't think the MSM would have formulated these talking points 20, or even 10 years ago. At that time the Catholic vote was strongly Democratic, so liberal leaders were averse to challenging the conservative nature of Catholicism. But now Catholics have recognized that their religious, social and cultural beliefs fit more comfortably into the Republican Party, and they have abandoned the Dems and the MSM as hopelessly out of touch with their those beliefs.

So now it benefits the MSM to portray the Catholic Church as badly fractured over the choice of this new pope. Their hope is that "liberal" Catholics will break away, if not from the church than at least from the new Catholic Republican voting bloc. As with most MSM/Democrat efforts in this regard, I think their efforts will fail.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Edwards' Path

The N&O served as John Edwards' biggest cheerleader during the 2004 campaigns. The editors completely failed to do their duty and conduct the due diligence expected of papers during election season. So I will propose some questions they could have asked:

1. If Edwards is such an advocate for the "working man," then why did his trial lawyer activities help put companies out of business and cost working people their jobs?

2. How many jobs did Edwards cost NC directly through lawsuits?

3. How many jobs did Edwards cost NC indirectly through increased business insurance cost and a decrease in risk-taking by entrepreneurs for fear they could be sued for any misstep?

4. How many companies were not even started, and how many people not even hired, because the legal hurdles to start-ups are so high after trial lawyers have run rampant?

One good reporter with a handle on economics and support from the editors could do a good story on one of the many individuals that leach away the ability of entrepreneurs to bring growth to the economy and create jobs.

Monday, April 18, 2005


A typical theme to N&O reporting is to print the "story of the day" from the NY Times or LA Times. Easy and cheap for a regional paper, but it does mean that the paper inherits the reporting sins of the liberal MSM leaders.

One method to improve the N&O is to assign a reporter to reexamine some of the "stories of the day" weeks or months after they are printed. The initial story is usually inaccurate or inflated to gain political points against conservatives. But the MSM rarely prints the follow-up story that would debunk their initial bias-laden claims.

For example, several months ago the Democratic talking point of the week (echoed by the N&O) was that revisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules would reduce overtime for many workers who needed the extra money. Labor unions, lefty hack economists and the MSM all spun the story to show the Bush administration was out to get "the working man."

The rules were revised, and the first studies are showing an increase, not a decrease, in those receiving overtime pay. Besides the WSJ, I have not seen any corrections, apologies or clarifications of errors from the MSM. Why doesn't the N&O take the lead in this area? This project could take one reporter half a day per week. Review some old articles that had partisan political content, check the new studies and quote the folks who were right and those who were wrong.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Jay Price

Congratulations to Jay Price for winning the top prize in the Sigma Delta Chi Awards, a journalism contest. Price is the military reporter for the N&O and has been to Iraq twice. I met him once and thanked him for his fair and balanced reporting on the military situation in Iraq and elsewhere. His accounts were more accurate and informative than those in most of the major papers in the country, and his unwillingness to throw in the towel and call the whole situation in Iraq a failure is now being justified by the tremendous success we are seeing there and throughout the region.

Steve Ford's Folly

To restate, I have no problem with the liberal bias of the N&O editorial page. The editor of the page, Steve Ford, has admitted to the bias, and I don't think many readers are unaware of the leftish leanings of Ford. Still, good opinion writers who go beyond the level of political hackdom have some obligation to convey some facts and some truth mixed in with their opinions.

Ford's essay today decries the proposed cuts in education funding made by the NC state Senate and the governor's office. If the Republicans were in power here, I assure you Ford's headline would have read something like, "Republicans Push Education Cuts." But in the whole editorial Ford does not have the honesty to mention once that these cuts are being proposed by a state Senate controlled by Democrats and a Democratic governor.

Child Care

You would think that in a front-page article in today's N&O concerning the impending closing of a day care center there would be some examination of why the center is closing. The article states that it is not economically feasible for the center to continue to care for younger children because of the low student-to-teacher ratio. But it does not mention that the ratio is a result of state regulation.

As a parent, would you rather have substandard care for your child at a 5:1 ratio or good care from an excellent teacher at an 8:1 ratio? In NC, you can't get that care at the 8:1 ratio, so your options are limited. You would think that even a paper that supports the party of big government would mention the regulatory details of the issue.

Friday, April 15, 2005


The N&O is just as guilty as the MSM of using labels to inject bias into stories. On B1 today the writer refers to "a local conservative Christian group." They were referring to Called2Action, which is clearly a faith-based group, though some of their stands are not necessarily conservative. The group may not even mind the label as many conservative groups like the term.

But if the writers of the N&O have the wisdom and discretion to label a group conservative, then fairness dictates that liberal groups would be likewise labeled. However, a mention of Lillian's List (on page 5B), a liberal group that raises money to elect liberal women, contained no label. In a different stort, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network also received no label from the paper.

Maybe the writers are just too lazy to do the background needed to find out if a group is "liberal." But I suspect they approach stories trying to make a point, not report, and labeling helps them make their political point.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Where are these stories?

I understand the N&O is somewhat constrained by having to rely on the wire services for many of their stories, but if it takes me just a few minutes to find relevant stories that should be newsworthy but that are being ignored by the liberal press, don't you think the N&O could find someone to spend a few minutes and do the same?

For example, this link details posters in Manhattan showing President Bush depicted as a marksmanship target. Don't you think that if this had happened in say, Idaho, during the Clinton years and mainstream media would have had it front page? But Bush in Manhattan - nothing.

Bolton and Delay

The N&O is following the Democratic Party talking points with a lot of focus on the Bolton nomination and the Tom Delay ethics issues. I wonder how much focus the paper put on UN nominations when the Democrats were in power, and I wonder how many stories the paper ran when Dem leaders in the House were accused of ethical lapses (Wright, Rostenkowski)?

Thomas Friedman is also featured in the paper today, and he does a nice job of trying to corner the Bush administration into an unwinnable position. Friedman, you will remember, was the somewhat respected writer of pop-foreign affairs books and also a proponent of an active US presence abroad to eliminate tyranny. Like many Democrats, he was left in the cold by his party when they decided they could tolerate tyranny in the form of Saddam Hussein, or rather they could not stomach the Bush administration having the courage to do something about it besides write editorials. Friedman has since adopted the Kerryesque stance of applauding the liberation of Iraq, but trying to find every possible way to criticize the administration for the execution of the liberation in order to deny Bush this well-earned victory.

Today Friedman maintains that the primary reason we have not had a domestic terrorist attack since 9/11 is because the jihadists were focused on the fight on their ground. But now that we are winning that fight, they will shift their focus to the US. I'll bet you will hear this in the Dem talking points soon - not that their leadership will acknowledge Bush's victories overseas (they will credit the military, as if the military acted without presidential directive or leadership). The theme will be that because we took the fight to the terrorist's homeland, now they may bring the fight to us, and we are somehow at blame. I don't think this argument will work for the Dems, but I can hear it coming.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Big Government Fetish

Besides leftish college campuses, Cuba and North Korea, liberal papers like the N&O seem to be one of the last redoubts of belief that big government can solve everything. Todays lead editorial called for a program of mandatory national service "for a reasonable length of time." As if there is not already enough waste and inefficiency in government, the left wants the government to force everyone to partake of a little more standing around at taxpayer's expense.

As a member of the military I have seen the stifling nature of government bureaucracy first hand, and the last thing we need in the military is an influx of thousands of new forcible "recruits" who don't want to be in uniform. We already spend an enormous amount of money and time on the 5% of the malcontents in the armed services, so why add to that problem?

The wise N&O editors follow up with a second editorial calling for an increase in the wages for state employees "who do the hard, essential tasks of state government. They clean floors, do laundry, prepare meals and dig ditches." But why are these the essential tasks of state government? There are hundreds of small (and large), well-run private firms who have developed expertise in cleaning floors, digging ditches etc. Why is the state intervening in an area that the private sector can handle - unless the state thinks they can save money by paying those employees less? And if that is the case, then why pay the employees more? Contract the work out and compensate the employees based on the value of the services they offer. I understand the favored political party of the N&O receives the majority of the public sector employee vote, but the cost is paid by the NC taxpayer.