In a recent newsletter, Wake County Republican Party chairman Susan Bryant lashed out at her local paper:
SAY NO TO THE RACIST N&O
As I sit writing this, the subscription notice from the News & Observer is on my desk. I have decided not to renew.
You may think I am taking this action because I have finally had more than I can take of the biasedpolitical reporting of the newspaper, culminating, for the moment, in its shameful collusion with the smear campaign against my friend Heather Losurdo in the school board runoff which will be held tomorrow.
But that’s not it. The N&O certainly exhibits a poor excuse for journalism. I have lived in several states, and practices politics in even more. I know better than to expect any newspaper to be “fair and balanced” when it comes to political reporting. The Washington Post is an icon of liberal establishment media, with a huge Democrat bias, but for decades I was able to work constructively with the journalists of that publication, because they were honorable and professional people whose word could be trusted. Their politics was different from mine, but we shared core values about integrity and the importance of an informed citizenry.
I find no such redeeming social value in the political coverage of the N&O. But that still is not the reason I am discontinuing my subscription.
The other day, I was trying to find out just what the accepted length of a letter to the editor in the newspaper would be, and so my eyes fell on the interior masthead that appears on the editorial page every day.
“Who,” I asked my husband, Jay, a history buff, “was Josephus Daniels?
“One of the worst racists in the history of North Carolina,” he answered.
“Yeah, he and Furnifold Simmons brought White Supremacy to power here in the 1890’s. Daniels was so much a part of it, he’s called the ‘precipitator’ of the Wilmington Race Riots in 1898.”
I already knew something about 1890’s politics in North Carolina, because I’d heard speeches last year, when our party took control of the legislature for the first time since those days. There had been what they called a “Fusion” between the bi-racial Republicans and the populist small farmers and workers who were left out by the elitist Democrats of the day. The Republican-Populist ticket won local, Congressional and statewide elections in 1894 and 1896, but then had been thwarted when the Democrats ran a harsh and violent White Supremacy campaign in 1898.
I knew our Republican Party is and has always been the friend of the African-American people. In our party work, Jay and I have fought hard to promote more awareness of this great heritage, and I am sure we will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.
I also knew something about the Wilmington Race Riots, having spent a fair amount of time in that lovely city.
I even knew the N&O had been, then as now, a propaganda arm of theDemocrat Party.
What I hadn’t realized, and what shocked me, was that the N&O, now owned by the McClatchy (MNI) chain, still honored the memory of Daniels, by putting his name on the editorial page, together with a quote from his will, which exhorts the paper to always “devote itself to the policies of equality and justice to the underprivileged.”
What a piece of utter hypocrisy for Daniels, a man with “underprivileged” blood on his hands in Wilmington, and perhaps elsewhere, too. It reminds me of the hypocrisy of the modern N&O, clinging to a policy of busing the children of the underprivileged despite clear and mounting evidence that it harms, rather than helps, their educational achievement.
I’ve done some additional research on Daniels since then. (Look up his entry in Wikipedia, check the state archives atwww.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/1898-wrrc/, or read the final Report of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission, issued in 2006.)
So here’s the bottom line. I don’t expect the N&O to change its editorial policy. I don’t even expect – though I would be thrilled if it happened – unbiased political reporting. But maybe, just maybe, it would be possible to at least get them to drop their disgusting homage to one of the least worthy men imaginable. Just a few years ago, I’m told the Democrat Party finally got around to changing the name of its annual fund-raising dinner, which into the 21st century was still called after two hateful, racist Jim Crow governors.
(I’ve also learned that Daniels Middle School in Raleigh was named after Josephus Daniels, and plan to urge the School Board to find a more suitable distinguished North Carolinian to honor and change the name, immediately.)
So maybe, if enough of you will join me in letting your subscriptions lapse (I know a number of you already have), and in asking advertisers to boycott the paper, just maybe we might force them to do the decent thing and consign Josephus Daniels to the dust heap of history.
If this bio of the News and Observer has bothered you as well please let McClatchy know it.
Peter Tira, Communications Director
For the record, the Daniels family which sold the N&O to McClatchy now owns our local newspaper here in Moore County.