I couldn't believe my eyes -- but there it was, a great big Koch brothers AFP advertisement for the NC GOP, right there in the Raleigh News & Observer. On the front page even! "Kinder, gentler Republican legislators!" screamed the headline.
I knew that the newspaper business was going downhill, but I couldn't believe that they were so desperate for advertising dollars that they would lead their Sunday edition with such propaganda.
And then -- then the stark truth hit me. This piece of fiction was billed as a news story! Written by real N&O reporters and everything! As the NCGA leaves town with the earth scorched just as much as ever, the N&O asked:
Is this the kinder, gentler Republican legislature?
(Answer, hell no!). Thom Tillis must be thrilled that the N&O prominently featured his lie of the year:
“I actually believe if the Democrats were in the majority ... this would probably look a lot like (their) budget,” Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis said during debate on the House floor.
If you "actually believe" that, Thom, you'd need to travel a few million miles just to get near reality. But you don't believe it, of course, you just served up that propaganda in the hopes that someone would repeat it. Who would have thought the N&O would feature it?
The N&O's campaign commercial goes on, with inane attempts to support their "kinder, gentler" premise with garbage such as this:
GOP leaders also shunned other hot-button issues such as guns, women’s health and voting rights, [...]
The reporters know full well that short sessions are supposed to be about budgets, and they even admit that the reason that GOP leaders "shunned other hot-button issues" is because there just ain't much more left to do when you've already pushed the limits of extremism.
[...] a year after approving laws to allow firearms in bars, restrict abortions and require a voter ID at the polls.
There are all sorts of legitimate themes that could be extracted from the recent short session. But a "kinder, gentler GOP" ain't one of them. It's not rational or impartial. Senator Josh Stein, as usual, nailed it.
But he pointed to other areas where GOP leaders still advanced controversial legislation, such as new laws to legalize fracking, revoke local taxing authority and repeal the Common Core education standards.
“It’s not like these guys were all soft and fuzzy,” he said. “They were still ideological and I think extreme in the way they governed.”
Yet in spite of such plain truth evidence to the contrary, the N&O went with "kindler, gentler GOP", thus saving the Kochs and Tillis a quite few bucks in campaign ads.