Media fails to inform on missing jobless benefits

When Republicans in the Legislature tied extending jobless benefits for the unemployed with an outrageous Continuing Resolution, they knew Governor Perdue would be forced to Veto the bill. They also knew their little trick would be confusing for many, and maybe even some media folks. But we're now in week 5, and when I saw this comment over at The Pulse, I came to the realization that confusion is still the rule, and not the exception:

I think it is despicable what Governor Purdue has done, or NOT done for choice of better words.

Unfortunately, this ill-informed opinion is not isolated, it's very common. Repeatedly, reporters have pitched this story as a "standoff", "tug-of-war", "battle of wills", etc. That's when they haven't outright accused the Governor of being responsible for the plight of the long-term unemployed.

Case in point: Here's an extract from the write-up for a WRAL news piece, posted today:

In April, Republican leaders in the General Assembly passed a bill to keep federal funds flowing to those who have been unemployed for up to 99 weeks.

Gov. Bev Perdue, however, vetoed the measure because it contained the stipulation that if the state budget is not in place by June 30, Republicans would go forward with slashing her proposed budget by 13 percent.

While this might be technically correct, it leaves out an extremely important piece of information: The Governor's proposed Budget already contained some serious cuts, just shy of 7% from the previous year's spending. Meaning, that little "stipulation" would result in cuts of nearly 20%. Also missing from this piece.

But you know what? This isn't just a write-up of the (televised) news piece, it's a rewrite. Pay attention:

Did you catch that? The reporter didn't mention Perdue's budget proposal; he described the CR as including "...language that would make Governor Perdue cut the State Budget by 13%...". Inaccurate, misleading, and fixing it in the rewrite doesn't do a damned thing for all the viewers who watched the original.

Also glaringly absent from this report is the Discharge Petition Senate Democrats put forward two weeks ago that would release the stand-alone bill from Committee and get these folks paid. WRAL's own Laura Leslie blogged about that two weeks ago, and it's one of the few nods mainstream media has given to the effort.

Let me say this one more time: Those unemployed aren't "caught in the middle", their plight can (and should) be laid right at the feet of Republican Legislators. And the longer the MSM misreports this, the more responsibility they (the media) will take onto its own shoulders for the continued suffering of those unemployed.

Why do I say that, you may ask? Because if the Republicans are exposed as the true culprits in this, they will be forced to relent and sign the Petition, or suffer the political consequences of their actions.

Get it right.


Even Christensen's "fact check" in today's O-No!

... doesn't fully lay out how NC House Republicans are to blame on this issue.

There's a discharge petition in the NC Senate AND the NC House. The GOP leaders in both chambers are bottling up the bills in their respective chambers.

But the puppy dog MSM press wants to protect what little access they have, so they report type for those in power. They're such good pets.

And Not-the-Busdriver Woodhouse has column space in today's N&O



F/ck the N&O

I've been bending over backwards, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But when a bottom-feeder on Art Pope's payroll makes it on to their op-ed page, it's clear the paper has lost all perspective.

Good luck sucking up to the right wing, Mr. Ford and Mr. Drescher. If you're lucky, you might find a few among teh bagger who are semi-literate enough to appreciate your complicity in privatizing North Carolina.

In (kind of) defense of the N&O

Rob Christensen wrote a fact-check article rejecting Tillis' claim that it was Perdue's fault the benefits are being withheld.

But he got the percent thing wrong, as well:

The resolution would fund state government at 13 percent less than the current level of funding - the GOP target for budget cuts. By passing the resolution, lawmakers were trying to increase their leverage in budget talks. If they didn't reach an agreement with Perdue, they could always go home and still get the 13 percent reductions they want.

Again, the CR would fund government 13% below Perdue's proposed budget (not "current level of funding"), which already included substantial cuts.

I'm also not sure (and this question applies to a lot of online articles) if this fact-check piece showed up in the print version, or just online. Does anybody know?

Does anyone care?

Sorry for catching you off-guard with the ban on N&O links. My wife has already said I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face ... but so be it. I only have one life to live, and I'm not going to spend it sending traffic to one of Art Pope's sideshows.