The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File

Half the story

Despite the explosion of blogs, twitter and other online sources, local television news is still a primary source of information for millions of people in North Carolina. Local television stations get a lot of grief for the way they present the news, some of it deserved.

But the vast majority of people who work in television news rooms are doing the best they can to be fair and they want to report what is important to their viewers.

That’s why it’s so frustrating when they let conventional wisdom cloud their judgment, as apparently was the case with a recent story on WNCT-TV in Greenville headlined “Debating the budget costs taxpayers.”

The report cites the John Locke Foundation’s claim that it costs taxpayers $62,000 every day the General Assembly is in session. Then it features the head of the Locke Foundation saying that lawmakers are wasting taxpayer money while they are debating how to raise taxes.

That’s it. No response from legislative leaders.  No interviews with people who may be frustrated at the budget delays, but think it is more important for the House and Senate to approve a balanced revenue package than it is to adjourn by a certain date.

It turns out the story on WNCT was an abbreviated version of a report by NBC 17 in Raleigh that included more context as well as comments from House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman and three other legislators.  

The station misidentified the John Locke Foundation as an “independent, non-profit think tank,” but at least it provided a more balanced story.

The folks at WNCT only reported one side of the story, the anti-government side, and the folks in Eastern North Carolina deserve better.

Ideology or science?

The folks on the Right are still ranting at every opportunity that global warming isn’t that big of a deal, and that there’s not much we can do it about it anyway.
They are especially panicked about President Obama’s climate change proposals, including his $150 million Clean Energy Technology Fund.

This week 34 Nobel Laureates issued a joint statement calling on Congress to approve the fund, almost all of them physicists or chemists.  They have a lot of nerve. What would Nobel-Prize winning scientists know about climate change, compared to ideologues on the Right?

From the fringe

This week’s From the Fringe includes national wackiness as well as the usual homegrown talent.  Former Bush Administration lawyer and current candidate for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach asked at a recent campaign rally “what President Obama and God had in common,” and told the crowd that “neither has a birth certificate.” 

It is an absurd, but familiar refrain in right-wing circles. The Washington Independent reports that Rush Limbaugh told the same “joke” a month ago, and that bumper stickers with the same punchline are available on frighteningly-far-right websites.

It’s not just Limbaugh and a candidate in Kansas and web wackos still obsessed with conspiracy theories about where Obama was born.

Nine Republican members of Congress have signed on to legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Posey from Florida that would require presidential campaigns to provide a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate.

Posey has said that he talked with members of a congressional committee about removing Obama from the presidency because he is not eligible.
Look out for the black helicopters coming over the ridge.

Closer to home, old reliable George Leef weighs in, opining that law students only need one year of school, primarily to stay away from “feminist legal theory and other sludge.”  Not exactly clear what Leef is so afraid of. 

And Jeff Mixon over at the Civitas Institute is worried about the “homosexual lobby” and the “homosexual wish list,” all because the General Assembly included sexual orientation in a list of characteristics of kids more likely to be bullied. 

A confusing tweet

Finally, House Minority Leader Paul Stam spends a lot of time talking about how bad things are in North Carolina, complaining about the public schools, the state’s tax rates, the size of the state budget.

This week Stam tweeted that Apex was named the third best place in America to move by Nice that Stam is proud of his legislative district, but why would it be the third best place in the country to move if taxes were too high, schools weren’t doing their job, etc.?

Forbes named Huntersville the second-best place to move.  Cary was eighth. Three of the top ten places in the country to move are in North Carolina. That confirms it. Things must be much worse in North Carolina than anywhere else.

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.