McClatchy-Raleigh taking the MSNBC route

titanicAt one point, MSNBC saw that it was getting bludgeoned in the ratings by CNN, Fox News, Bugs Bunny cartoons, Ginsu knife infomercials, and test patterns.  The network decided it was going to stop competing for normal viewers, and would aim for the really kooky, far-out left wing.   McClatchy-Raleigh — thanks to its founding owners — spent aeons chasing away normal, mainstream paying subscribers.  It appears that the capital city’s failing media outlet has pulled an MSNBC — trying to save itself by putting all its eggs in the kooky left’s basket.

Rob Christensen– North Carolina’s  “Mr. Politics” — has distinguished himself as the first, and only, mainstream media journalist to be physically removed from a NCGOP convention.  Rob’s wife recently retired as a flack for the welfare state.   With Rob’s latest print offerings, it appears he is trying to keep the family tradition going.

According to Rob, the GOP majority on Jones Street is scaring the living hell out of the business community, the nation, and THE WORLD.  (Reportedly, al qaeda is even quaking in its boots.) :

[…]The sharp rightward turn of the legislature and the Moral Monday protests have turned North Carolina into one of the nation’s top political spectacles.

CBS News, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and The New York Times have all beaten a path to Raleigh to gawk.

The national coverage is worth millions of dollars of publicity. Unfortunately for North Carolina, it may also be the wrong kind of publicity.

Moderate reputation

For decades, North Carolina prided itself as a middle-of-the road state, electing moderate governors of both parties. Such stable, moderate governance was considered good for business.

One of the reasons North Carolina didn’t mount a campaign of massive resistance against integration during the 1950s and 1960s was that governors such as Luther Hodges and the state’s business leadership thought it would scare away the corporations the state was trying to convince to locate here.

So how does the current legislature’s agenda fit into the state’s image of a modern, moderate state where a smart 21st-century executive would want to invest?

Anti-gay laws? Shariah legislation? Guns in bars? Some of the worst-funded public schools and worst-paid teachers in the nation? Shrinking the once proud University of North Carolina’s budget? Harsh anti-abortion legislation? The list goes on.

The massive weekly demonstrations and arrests look like a state that is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Companies are watching

The lawmakers claim not to be concerned about the national coverage. I believe them. But they should be.

They may not read or watch the national news. But guess who does? The deep pockets who decide where the jobs will go.

Think about the companies that North Carolina is counting on to invest in its future: MetLife of New York; Citrix Systems of Santa Clara, Calif.; Fidelity Systems of Boston; Wells Fargo of San Francisco; GlaxoSmithKline of London; Cisco Systems of San Jose, Calif.; Lenovo of Beijing; and Credit Suisse of Zurich.

Undoubtedly, someone will say, well what about Texas? That is a very conservative state, yet it attracts lots of corporations. But Texas is America’s Saudi Arabia, and unless North Carolina discovers another Permian Basin, it can not count on following the Texas model.

With fracking — a fiscal and economic BOON awaits.  But Rob and his friends are doing their best to kill fracking and chase those jobs (and dollars) away to places like North Dakota.  More: 

What kind of brand do you think these out-of-state companies are looking for? Do you think they are looking for strife-filled states with bargain basement taxes whose politics have become political three-ring circuses? Or are they looking for moderate, well-regulated states?

If gay marriage, high taxes, and a generous welfare state were at the top of business leaders’ lists about where to locate and create jobs — California would be BOOMING right about now.  My former company was in pretty thick in the economic development game.  If a potential “catch” was for some kind of secondary or tertiary blue-collar manufacturing facility,  taxes and government incentives mean THE WORLD.  Those folks would jump across the border to South Carolina — or even Mexico — for ONE MORE DOLLAR in savings.  For a company looking to relocate senior execs or even a corporate HQ, quality of life moves right up there with tax savings. (If the wife and kids are going to be moved in from Connecticut, they’re going to need Winston or Raleigh or Wilmington and stuff to do  — NOT Lumberton, Laurinburg, or Rockingham. )

It’s inconvenient to McClatchy Rob’s thesis that ALL of the places that have the stuff HE wants are currently stagnating economically. But facts aren’t important.  McClatchy-Raleigh HAS to regurgitate the nonsense being spouted by the Moral Monday crowd BECAUSE THOSE FOLKS MAKE UP THEIR ENTIRE PAID CIRCULATION.  Know your audience, and PLAY TO IT.