That’s certainly what it looks like. I am told by sources-in-the-know that the governor’s campaign is working through former budget director Art Pope and pundit John Hood to squelch any and all criticism of the governor that may make him look bad in the run-up to the election.
Pope is a significant benefactor of The John Locke Foundation and The Civitas Institute — trumpeted as the “conservative voices” of North Carolina. Hood is Pope’s lieutenant — Igor to Art’s Dr. Frankenstein — managing the Pope Family foundation that hands out all of the cash.
My sources are telling me that Hood — clearly acting on orders from The Boss — has issued edicts to both institutions about what can and can’t be written about, who can or cannot be cited or quoted, and that sort of thing. Hood has used the regular payments from the Pope Foundation as leverage — delaying the checks to Locke and Civitas significantly to hammer home his point. .
Locke and Civitas were both HUGE critics of that 2000 bond issue. This year’s ConnectNC boondoggle? We got everything from total silence to a weak-sister, wet-noodle critique. What’s different? What changed? THIS YEAR the boss is invested heavily in Pat McCrory and his “success.”
We criticized Locke earlier for having the gall to champion Phil Kirk, of all people, as some kind of conservative champion.
Some contributors to McCrory have started up the web site Blount & Jones and the newspaper The North State Journal — which have proven to be great channels for propaganda delivery.
The latest Pope-Hood victim appears to be The Carolina Plotthound. The website — which bears more than a passing resemblance to the renowned Drudge Report — has served as an aggregator of conservative and right-leaning news for a few years now. It has been run by conservative activist Paul Chesser. The site linked to all kinds of articles about North Carolina politics — defending conservatism and hitting both Democrat and Republican politicos.
Recently, we’ve noticed that the site has been linking to less and less of our material. The stories that did get linked got pushed to the bottom of the page. Eventually, we disappeared altogether from the site. After some investigation, we learned that Plotthound is actually a wholly-owned subsidiary of Civitas — therefore under the thumb of John Hood and Art Pope.
Our disappearance from the site coincided with a spike in fawning coverage of the governor and his administration. Plotthound and Chesser were getting the same heavy-handed micromanagement that did in Adams and his radio show.
So, the not-bought-and-paid-for conservative blogosphere is shrinking dramatically. Our friend Lady Liberty is still out there swinging. She’s still getting linked to on Plotthound. But I notice her stuff is starting to drift to the bottom of the page — beneath the videos from various local news shows and the high school crime report.
The left likes to cast Art Pope as some sort of conservative version of George Soros. It’s become clear that Pope is more infatuated with (1) the elephant logo and (2) himself than he is in the promotion of personal freedom and limited government. It IS his money. He IS free to determine how it gets spent. But stop portraying yourself as some kind of conservative vanguard, when you are really little more than an extension of the governor’s press office.