Call it Colbert World versus Fox World.
That’s where the WakeCounty schools debate is happening today.
This kind of division is nothing new in North Carolina politics. Go back to 1950: It’s been a 60-year war between conservatives (“racists,” as their opponents call them) and progressives (“socialists,” as their opponents call them.)
They’ve always had their competing views – and even their competing media.
For years, the conservatives had WRAL-TV and its nightly commentator, Jesse Helms. The progressives had the N&O and its editors, Jonathan Daniels and Claude Sitton.
But there’s a difference today.
At least both sides watched and read both WRAL and the N&O. Now each side has its own echo chamber, where they dismiss and ridicule the other side.
In the media universe, they exist in parallel words that never meet.
Not all supporters of the school board majority are racists who want to resegregate schools. There are parents genuinely upset by rolling school reassignments – and not sure whether that’s because of growth or social policy.
Not all opponents of the current board are liberal social engineers bent on diversity over education. They genuinely fear that WakeCounty may lose a treasure that helped make it a good place to live.
There seems to be no place – and no one – able to bridge the divide.