After countless letters to the editor critical of their systematic under-reporting of Art Pope and his grip on the North Carolina political landscape, this one finally saw ink:
Steve Levitt: Pope’s rhetoric
Wait. What? Here’s what they cut out (bold & underlined):
Over the nine years I’ve been a subscriber to the N&O, a disturbing pattern has emerged regarding its coverage of Art Pope and the leverage he wields upon our political landscape. It goes something like this:
The N&O takes an opportunity to report or editorialize some unfavorable news about Pope. Pope responds with a letter to the editor, regurgitating the same tired defense he trots out each and every time his ego is bruised. Then, with the abandonment of all of the editing standards imposed on the rest of us, the N&O unquestioningly publishes Pope’s word play and lets him completely off the hook.
Taking his word-smithing at face value, as the N&O is prone to do, Pope’s rebukes can seem rather credible. But, in my view, that’s precisely where the N&O seems to lack journalistic integrity. There is an overabundance of reliable resources such as the Institute of Southern Studies and our own NC Board of Elections whose data systematically debunks most of Pope’s assertions as the doublespeak they truly are. Going unchallenged by the N&O, Pope succeeds in raising sympathies – as he expects – at the very expense of the fair and balanced journalism we should expect.
The featured letters in the Sunday, June 29, 2014 Opinion section center on Ned Barnett’s June 15 column, “McKissick’s testimony irks Art Pope“, and Art Pope’s June 21st rebuttal letter to the editor, “Art Pope: Freedom to criticize protected“.
Other letters included in the feature:
Floyd B. McKissick Jr.: Campaign donation funds must be limited
John White: Government for the rich
Mack Paul: Dangerous precedent
Bob Hall: Pope’s (double) standard
Gretchen Niver: Pope’s expensive message