We get called on the carpet by the N&O’s newsroom boss

sinking ship



What’s the old saying about the heat in the kitchen? The mainstream media enjoys tossing out criticism of other people and their work.  But just try to question theirs.

A little while back, we took N&O editor John Drescher for his rather snobby-sounding column  gauging how smart someone is by where they went to college.

In the column, he took a shot at Gov. Pat by pointing out his matriculation at Catawba College and what he majored in.  I’m sure there are a lot of fine, capable graduates of Catawba out there.  In Drescher’s column, he appears to suggest that if your diploma has the word “Catawba” on it, you have no place opining on important policy matters.  That’s elitist.  It’s wrong. It’s one reason why his paper is bleeding money and failing miserably.

Well, Mr. Drescher decided to contact us via email this evening:

Mr. Clifton,

I read your recent blog post about my column of Aug. 31. You are free to disagree with me.

However, I have not ever questioned President George W. Bush’s intelligence. I have only written about President Bush once. That was a brief mention at the end of a column about odd coverage from the National Enquirer.

As executive editor, I supervise news, sports, business and features.

I do not supervise the editorial pages. However, I can find no N&O editorial that questioned President Bush’s intelligence. We’ve searched for such an editorial and cannot find one. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d like to see it.

I hope you will correct your blog post and set the record straight on this matter. I’d be glad to talk. I can be reached at 919.829.4515.


John Drescher

Set the record straight?  You go first.  After all, you guys have a decades-long record of smearing GOP / conservative candidates and officials and protecting Democrat leaders.

I THINK this is the passage he’s in a wad over:

[…] Drescher and his colleagues regularly mocked President George W. Bush — who has degrees from Harvard and Yale — as being stupid.  There aren’t many dummies graduating from those institutions.  But that didn’t stop Drescher & co. from leveling their judgement.

If you follow the media’s line of thinking — where you went to school and got a degree has NO bearing on your level of intelligence.  So, Drescher’s argument hasn’t yet convinced me that his newsroom is stocked with Mensa candidates. […]

Mr. Drescher — as the executive editor of the N&O — you OWN what appears in your pages.  Are you telling me that you have NEVER authorized the publication of ANY copy or photos in the N&O that made George W. Bush appear stupid? Do you really want to get into a debate on the difference in your paper’s treatment of Republican leaders and Democrat leaders?

(You and your team tried to spike / walk back the story about Bev Perdue wanting to suspend elections.  The Daily Caller called your bluff and called you out.  You had Rob Christensen following John Edwards around — and he never seemed to notice the blonde with the camera.  The National Enquirer had to show your newsroom how this journalism thang is done.)

To suggest that you have NO INFLUENCE over some editorial content is laughable.  I was using the same tactic Gov. Pat was using that you took out of context so terribly and got so bent out of shape over:

I think what Gov, Pat was getting at is THIS: The mainstream media makes little to no effort to understand complex issues so that they can properly present them to their readers / viewers. 

A few years ago, I was talking politics with a political writer from The Wilmington Star.  I mentioned Patrick Ballantine, and this scribe just gave me a blank, puzzled look in response.  Ballantine, a leading Wilmington businessman and community leader, represented the city in the NC Senate for TEN YEARS.  He was also the GOP nominee for governor in 2004.  This writer — charged with keeping readers informed about the issues — had no clue about who Ballantine was.

I’ve talked with some folks at WRAL and ABC-11 on numerous occasions about potential story ideas.  Their first question is — seriously — Can this be told in 15 to 30 seconds of video?  If not, they’re not interested.

There’s been little to no in-depth coverage or explanation of the common core curriculum for the state’s public schools — an incredibly hot topic among the general public these days. When seeking “expert commentary” on economics and public policy — mainstream media scribblers regularly turn to Chris Fitzsimon and Rob Schofield at NCPolicyWatch.

Cute, snappy soundbites from folks with a political agenda are all the rage.  Educating and informing the public with hardcore, solid facts appears to be out of the question. “Rich getting richer” and “starving public education” are so much easier to write or report than in-depth analyses of what really happens when you cut taxes and streamline spending.

In my book, Drescher & co. are not guilty of being “dumb” — but of  failing miserably at the sacred duty conferred upon them by our Founding Fathers.

Mr. Drescher, I didn’t quote you as calling Bush dumb — just like Pat McCrory didn’t call you “dumb.”