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Gary is taking a break this week from consulting, blogging and politics. He invited several TAPsters to contribute blogs during his hiatus. Here's one of them:

Art Pope likely has never thought of himself as allied with the oft-bashed-as-liberal news media, but the mainstream media has succeeded in giving undeserved credibility to Pope’s squadron of institutes that serve as cheerleaders for partisan Republican causes.
 
News media now regularly quote the Pope-bankrolled Civitas Institute in news stories with no hint of its conservative orientation.
 
Moreover, smaller newspapers around the state, desperate for content after the newspaper business laid off reporters in droves, have begun running Civitas reports as news stories, even though the biased reports lack opposing viewpoints.
 
Mind you that Civitas is unlike some of Pope’s other dollar store think tanks, like the John Locke Foundation, which publishes agenda-driven research and news stories. Civitas has an appendage that funds, operates and executes campaigns to defeat Democrats, while maintaining the defense that its campaign operation, Civitas Action, is separate from the institute. Never mind that the same guy runs them both. This is like a McDonald's manager arguing that the drive-through is a separate operation.
 
Even larger mainstream publications, like the News & Observer, are providing credibility for Pope’s operations. The N&O’s John Frank recently wrote a front page story on the Republican-led legislature’s midnight session – the one devoted to passing legislation that undermines the state teachers association after the group stood up to GOP education cuts. The story examined whether, among other flaws, the legislature’s session was constitutionally convened. Frank quoted two experts: a scholar at UNC’s Institute of Government and a top lawyer at Pope’s N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law. The Pope lawyer (who, not surprisingly, said that the General Assembly's procedure was fine) was quoted without any qualifier about NCICL, such as Pope’s funding or its six-member board that includes two men who held state office and one who ran statewide – all as Republicans. Frank failed even to mention that House Speaker Thom Tillis' legal counsel, whose job would include advising Tillis on issues such as the constitutionality of the 1 a.m. session, was hired directly from – wait for it – NCICL.
 
Congratulations, Mr. Pope. Your institutes have arrived, and what’s left of the mainstream media paid for the ticket.

 

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Carbine
# Carbine
Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:32 PM
Oh cry me a river! The left has had absolute dominance over all media for at least a generation, and no one on the left ever uttered as much as a sigh of dissent over that. Civitas and the John Locke Foundation HAVE to do serious research, and publish factual, intellectually honest reports because the traditional media have neither the skill nor the inclination to do so. There are still many more left-wing organizations that put out reems of leftist disinformation every day. If those scribblings had any intellectual integrity the N&O and its fellow leftist rags would be more than happy to run them. But apparently, not even the N&O can swallow the leftist line unadulterated these days.
mmm
# mmm
Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:33 AM
I take my hat off to Mr. Pope and urge responsible media outlets to rethink their use of such content. Readers need to know the providence of the material they're presented. Nice job pointing out this problem, Mr. Snyder.

Bill O'Neil
Carbine
# Carbine
Monday, January 30, 2012 1:32 PM
"Rethink their use of such content" is double-speak for "continue to self-censor the news so it reflects our values and furthers our causes." Facts are facts, and remain so whether they are uncovered and presented by Civitas or Carolina Journal, or some left-wing source.

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