by Locker Room contributor
To anyone who remembers how The News & Observer for two years used everything in its journalistic arsenal to undermine and delegitimize the election of the majority-Republican Wake County school board that was elected in 2009, today’s column by Executive Editor John Drescher is a real laugher.
The demagoguery in news columns and editorials aimed at the newly-elected Republicans was a new low for journalism, if not for the N&O itself. Now Drescher is shocked, shocked, I tell you, that the Democrats on the are themselves the meanest sort of partisan hacks:
This was the first point [Kevin Hill, chairman of the Wake school board] made in the meeting. He made it emphatically. “I truly feel we have got to get the politics out of the school board,” Hill said.
For a second there, Hill, an earnest former principal, had me thinking he might be right. Gosh, maybe all those 5-4 votes had nothing to do with party affiliation. Maybe we were seeing partisanship that didn’t exist.
Since then, Hill and his colleagues have done everything possible to prove they are partisan, culminating with a party-line 5-4 vote this week to fire Superintendent Tony Tata after less than 20 months on the job.
There’s one thing about North Carolina’s Democrats: they never shut up until they get their way. They whine, whinge, cry, bluster, demagogue, accuse opponents of racism, classism, homophobia, and, to quote Andy Griffith, “I don’t know what all.” With their more than a century of power-holding in jeopardy, these embarrassing attributes are especially evident.
Still, the craven partisanship of the new Democratic majority on the board was, apparently, a surprise to Drescher, even though it was as predictable as pollen in the springtime.
OK, on to the next spit-take-inducing column in today’s News & Observer. We all know how alleging racism is the coin of the realm for liberals and Democrats in North Carolina. The state’s major papers play along and cover the demagogues who use this tactic as if, well, the seriousness of the charge demands serious coverage. Every race-baiting politician, activist, or clergy member understands this.
But what happens when a journalist or a newspaper is accused of racism? Well, the big guns come out and declare that such an accusation is outrageous, beyond the pale, and a danger to democracy. To wit, Charlotte Observer editorial page editor Taylor Batten’s blog defense of cartoonist Kevin Siers for a cartoon he did depicting Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton wearing a pink “Hello Kitty” t-shirt instead of a Superman shirt:
The NFL pundits are all atwitter, analyzing to death the Observer’s editorial cartoon on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. What was cartoonist Kevin Siers saying? Is Charlotte jumping off the Camwagon? What does this say about race in the Bible Belt?
Puh-leeze. Maybe Stephen A. Smith thinks such breathlessness makes for good TV. Apparently ESPN’s Smith and Skip Bayless and so many other NFL talking heads find it easier to speculate than to go to the source and ask.
I, personally, think the racism charges in this case are as off-base as most of those that The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer routinely treat with chin-puling seriousness on their metro and editorial desks. Still, it’s interesting to see the defensive reaction of the media when they’re accused, even irresponsibly, of racism. Remember that next time, guys, when you hear it in the political realm.