paypalA front-page headline in today’s News & Observer reads “PayPal criticized, but N.C. also has ties with pariah nations.” Subheadlines emphasize that “State officials have made trade overtures to Cuba recently” and “taxpayers have paid millions of dollars to other companies under scrutiny for working in Iran and Sudan.”

Interesting observations, certainly, and ones that offer more ammunition to those who would like both to get rid of targeted tax incentives and to limit state government’s overall efforts to choose economic winners and losers.

But the article seems to miss the key point of the criticism aimed at PayPal. State officials are not criticizing the company for its ties to “pariah nations.” If those ties caused concerns, those same officials would not have welcomed PayPal’s now-canceled expansion plans in Charlotte.

The criticism focuses instead on PayPal’s hypocrisy. A company that goes out of its way to cancel a Charlotte expansion over the state’s new “bathroom bill” seems to have no qualms about doing business in countries where members of the LGBT community are jailed, beaten, and/or killed with government sanction.

North Carolina government’s involvement with those countries is a subject worthy of discussion, but it has nothing to do with PayPal’s inconsistent, selective application of righteous indignation.