Partisan "news" outlets will not save local journalism

The loss of objectivity cannot be reclaimed:

The North Shore Leader wrote in September, when few others were covering Santos, about his “inexplicable rise” in reported net worth, from essentially nothing in 2020 to as much as $11 million two years later.

The story noted other oddities about the self-described gay Trump supporter with Jewish heritage, who would go on to flip New York’s 3rd Congressional District from blue to red, and is now under investigation by authorities for misrepresenting his background to voters.

Theoretically speaking, such coverage within the District itself, should have provided voters the information they need to make a sound decision. But there's a problem: the paper in question has a solidly conservative bent, which means two things: Their "loyal" readership leans so heavily Republican that those revelations fell on deaf ears, and that obvious lack of objectivity made it much less likely their reporting would attract the attention of state-level (or national) news outlets that would have reached all the voters in the District. Here's more on what their loyal readers chose to ignore:

WRAL Drops the Ball on NC GOP TikTok Panic Story

WRAL has a report out this morning that state representative Republican leaders Jason Saine and Jon Hardister have their underwear in a tangle about TikTok, calling on Governor Cooper to ban the social media app from state-owned devices, calling it a “matter of national security”. They say if Cooper doesn’t act, they move to create a law with such a ban next year.

Cooper spokesman Jordan Monaghan said the state is "constantly updating guidance to ensure cyber security and is reviewing state government use of TikTok and considering potential additional safety measures."

TikTok's media relations office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent through the company's website.

WRAL isn’t quite giving you all the background on this story, however.

Hump-Day Handouts


NC's energy future is being decided right now:

Governor Roy Cooper and Republican state lawmakers made a historic deal last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power generation by 70 percent by 2030 and all the way to carbon neutral by 2050. They left the details of how to get there up to the state utilities commission. We’re expecting to see their final decision this week.

Currently, North Carolina is dependent on coal, natural gas and nuclear power for our electricity. The Carbon plan will set out the rules for Duke Energy for moving to greener energy sources like solar, wind and battery storage. As it shuts down its coal fired plants, Duke wants to build more natural gas plants. It says they’re needed for reliable baseload power generation. Critics say more gas plants are not needed. They say battery storage for wind and solar can serve that need.

Couple things to consider: Solar is scalable and dispersed, meaning you can locate farms in areas that are far away from big generation facilities and save a ton of juice that gets lost in transmission (like 17% in some areas). These recent rolling blackouts would not have been necessary, at least not as widespread as they were. Speaking of brownouts, our former Liar-In-Chief has left a legacy in his wake:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


BIDEN'S AMERICA FINDS ITS VOICE: Zelenskyy and his fellow Ukrainians have reminded Americans of the values and causes we used to admire in ourselves — the ardent hunger for freedom, the deep-rooted respect for equality and human dignity, the willingness to fight against brutal authoritarians who would crush the human face under the heel of their muddy boots. It is as if Ukraine and Zelenskyy have rekindled a forgotten song, and suddenly everybody has remembered how to sing it. Zelenskyy was not subtle about making this point. He said that what Ukraine is fighting for today has echoes in what so many Americans fought for over centuries. I thought of John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Theodore Roosevelt, George Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, the many unsung heroes of the Cold War. His words reminded us that America supports Ukraine not only out of national interest — to preserve a stable liberal world order — but also to live out a faith that is essential to this country’s being and identity. The thing that really holds America together is this fervent idea. Finally, Zelenskyy reminded us that while the authoritarians of the world have shown they can amass power, there is something vital they lack: a vision of a society that preserves human dignity, which inspires people to fight and binds people to one another. The lust for power, which leads to tyranny and subjugation, has been with us since we began to walk upright on two legs. And it will be with us long into the future. But these "Strongmen" are actually exhibiting weakness; a flaw in their character that drives them to dominate others. We have to (constantly) make the cost for such behavior higher than the benefit. De oppresso liber, forever.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION AND THE BODY COUNT GROWS: Since 2014, in a mean-spirited display of antipathy and partisan spite toward former President Barack Obama, legislative leaders forced a ban on Medicaid expansion. They continue to ignore the pressing needs and look for excuses to avoid doing the responsible thing. North Carolina remains one of just 11 states yet to expand Medicaid since the federal government agreed to assume almost all the cost. Since the 2014 ban on Medicaid expansion, the state has left more than $40 billion in federal funding in Washington. Meanwhile federal taxes being paid by North Carolinians are helping pay for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah, Indiana and most recently, South Dakota – all overwhelmingly Republican states. The money is just one “cost.” For North Carolina families it has meant: 4,240 to 15,200 deaths of loved ones who weren’t able to get the lifesaving care they needed. 110.458 women haven’t been able to get breast cancer screening mammograms. 236,500 diabetics have gone without medication. 118,000 jobs, that would have been created because of the infusion of federal funds, have gone wanting. Meanwhile, health care costs are skyrocketing. I recently had a CT scan that was critical in determining I did not have any cancerous growths, and it fell into the gap between two limited benefit plans I carry through my job. $5,300 may be a drop in the bucket for some, but for the rest of us, it's crippling. Fix this now, dammit.


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