I often harken back to the eight year period (1984-1992) when we last had a GOP governor in Raleigh. That is also the last occasion when The Raleigh News & Observer subjected an incumbent governor to tough questions and scrutiny. The newsroom practically went to war against Governor Jim Martin. Martin probably had no idea what he was in for when he took office. The N&O scribes lovingly cooed over Jim Hunt’s eight year stint in the executive mansion. Suddenly, when the lovable Dem leaves office, and the mean ol’ Republican steps in, the tone of the coverage changes. (It was a lot like the transformation Michael J. Fox frequently underwent in his hit 80s movie ‘Teen Wolf.’) As soon as Martin finished his eight years, and Jim Hunt came back for eight more, the cooing resumed.
Fast-forward back to the present — 2011. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R) upset 14 year incumbent Bob (Who Are You?) Etheridge. During Etheridge’s 14 years in office, his comments were regularly printed unchallenged in the pages of the Raleigh paper. Now that he has moved from the federal payroll to the state payroll (Madame Governor’s ‘stimulus czar’), the N&O has decided to dissect and analyze every syllable that comes out of his Republican successor’s mouth.
“Fact check: Ellmers’ health panel claim is not true” screams the headline in today’s N&O above the latest propaganda from the NCDP’s star stenographer Rob Christensen. Christensen takes the rookie Member of Congress to task for some comments she made in a recent speech about a health care regulatory panel.
(Note to N&O newsroom: nice job on the closeup of the congresswoman’s tonsils in the photo accompanying Rob’s piece. I’m sure her dentist appreciates it.)
What evidence does Rob supply to “PROVE” his claim that Ellmers’ comments are ”not true”? He quotes ONE Wake Forest University law professor. ONE law professor.
We get no information on what the professor’s politics are, what politicians he previously worked for, or what advocacy groups he has worked for. Knowing what I know about college professors — especially law professors — this guy likely has a hammer-and-sickel logo hanging somewhere special among his personal belongings.
(Never mind that Ellmers is a registered nurse married to a practicing physician. She probably KNOWS a thing or two about the health care business. I had to throw this in. After all, it IS a ”fact check.”)
Don’t get me wrong — I am a firm believer in the old saying that you can tell when a politician is lying, because his (her) lips are moving. I think it is great to scrutinize every syllable spoken by every elected official. Just don’t restrict it to Republicans.
Please don’t bring up the coverage of the Mike Easley scandal. The N&O kept silent on Easley during his eight years in office. They didn’t start printing anything negative until Bev Perdue succeeded him in the executive mansion and her cronies started telling on ol’ Mike.
During Reconstruction, The N&O used to feature on the masthead of their day-after-election-day edition a caricature of the NC Democrat Party’s mascot (a rooster) crowing about Democrat victories. The rooster caricature is gone, but the thought lives on at the Raleigh paper.