Watching how the media rely on Mike Walden at the NC State Department of Economics, you'd think he was god's gift or something. When in fact, he's really Art Pope's gift. A regular contributor to the Carolina Journal, Walden has been associated with Mr. Pope throughout his career, bringing free-market happy talk to the table at every turn.
So when Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory declared economic victory this week, WRAL's Mark Binker predictably turned to Walden to dish out more of McCrory's sunny outlook.
"What I tend to look at is job creation," Walden said. Over the past four years, he said, the number of jobs available in the state has been growing.
Binker's not alone in his reliance on Walden for economic insight. The News and Observer is even worse, if that's possible. Which means the top two sources of news about economic policy in North Carolina both depend almost exclusively on the same biased source for expertise. Art Pope's multimillion dollar opinion manufacturing machine is alive and kicking.
I'm sure Make Walden is a fine person who means well, but his long-standing ties to the state's budget director make him a questionable resource for any reporter trying to get a honest picture of economic trends in North Carolina.