Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Charlotte Observer in Panic Over Loss of Government Revenue

The Charlotte Observer is in a panic.  A major source of revenue is about to be ripped out of their grubby, liberal hands.  The North Carolina Senate has issued a bill that would give local governments the ability to publish government notices on their websites, instead of local papers.  The Disturber is so upset that they distorted what a republican legislator said to a newspaper editor:

Sen. Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw said a mouthful with just 13 words on Tuesday.

“I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”
It was no coincidence that Tucker’s silencing of an N.C. newspaper publisher – heard by at least three people who were there – came just after he railroaded a bill through his committee that would let government operate in more secrecy.

As usual, if you want the truth, you have to check other sources.  Here is what the News and Observer published:

The committee passed the measure by voice vote. Bussian, the press association lobbyist, said the committee voted 6-5 to reject the measure. Tucker, the chair, rejected a subsequent appeal for a show of hands and declared the meeting adjourned.

At that point, Hal Tanner, publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus, approached Tucker. He told him he thought the vote was handled in a manner inconsistent with Republican stands for open government.
“I said, ‘We just got through dealing with Jim Black,’ ” Tanner later recalled, referring to the former Democratic House speaker jailed on corruption charges.

“I’m not Jim Black, I’m not Jim Black,” an angry Tucker replied. Senate rules prohibit roll call votes in committee.
Later, in an email to members, the press association quoted Tucker telling Tanner: “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

Tucker disputes the quote.
“I said something to the effect that, ‘I’m the senator here, let me finish,’ ” he said. “I just took offense to it because he impugned our integrity. And I took it personally.”

This is so typical of the Charlotte Observer.  Their integrity is running on fumes.  Here is the reason why the editors at this rag are up in arms:
Here’s why this is a bad bill: A check of 20 N.C. cities in 2011 found that the local newspaper’s website attracted audiences 65 times larger than the local municipal website. In Charlotte, the Observer’s website attracted an audience 16 times bigger than the Charlotte-Mecklenburg government site. That’s not an insult to the government websites. But it is a reminder that newspapers and their websites are in the mass communication business; municipal governments are not.

So the best way to ensure that a government acts openly is not to let it hide public notices on municipal sites.
It’s true newspapers have a financial interest in keeping the public notices. At the Observer, though, they provide only about 1 percent of the paper’s total advertising revenue. The number would be higher at most smaller papers.

The Disturber is making a big stink out of a measly 1 percent.  And their audience is only 16 times bigger than the Charlotte-Mecklenburg government site?  That's piss-poor for a "major" paper.   
However, if they’re willing to distort what a state senator says, they’ll sure as hell do the same when reporting their advertising revenue, or for that fact traffic at their website.

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