Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina, won't be able to count on journalists in his state, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, to write favorably about him for a while.
The governor paid a surprise visit to the Council of Independent Business Owners in Asheville to defend some of his policies which had been the focus of protests ever since he took office in January. Moral Monday protests come to mind immediately, but there have also been separate protests to oppose some of his polices, especially those regarding women's rights.
To the captive audience, McCrory uttered the following words regarding his economic plan;
"This is too complex for the journalists," McCrory said, to laughter from the CIBO members. "They don't have economics degrees, they've not been in business. I respect them greatly, but you get it. This is what we have to do to rebuild our economy. It's not easy. I empathize with the people being impacted, but my goal is to get these people back into jobs.
Journalists across the state have been swift to respond to the governor's remarks.
WRAL, Raleigh's CBS affiliate, quickly wrote a report on the meeting and titled it, "This Post May Be Too Complex for Us to Write." It reports:
It may be worth noting that McCrory's campaign website says he graduated from "Catawba College in Rowan County, where he earned degrees in Education and Political Science." There's no mention of an economics degree.
John Drescher of Raleigh's News and Observer takes it even further in his piece:
McCrory is not exactly a Ben Bernanke-level economic thinker. McCrory's degrees from Catawba College are in political science and education. As for business experience, he was a mid-level manager at a regulated utility (Duke Energy), never making corporate-level decisions. That's what prompted a member of his own party, Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County, to once say, "If Pat had any real business experience, he would not make such a poor policy decision."
Jeff Gauger of Greensboro News & Record asserts that, while reporters strive to report as expertly and as well as they can, the governor,
in telling business owners that journalists know little about business, was seeking to discredit reporting on the changes by suggesting that it has been naive or wrong. That's a gross generalization. Like saying politicians are lying, scheming crooks.
As both Drescher and Gauger point out the majority of journalists are generalists. However, they spend a tremendous amount of time researching before they deliver a report. They work hard to report what is factual and accurate. And they do so in a language that is easy for everyone to understand. That takes not only hard work, but also skill.
The question is: can and will McCrory also work hard? He has said at least once before that he would sign a bill that he was not familiar with all the provisions.
There have been disturbing trends among the Republican legislators ever since the state became a Republican supermajority state.
For example, Thom Goolsby, state senator New Hanover County, is fond of calling his opponents names such as "liberals," "morons," "educrats," etc. His blogs on his blog site, carolinacolumns.com, is filled with them. His columns are highly divisive, pitting "us" vs. "them."
And Governor McCrory has routinely deflected criticism aimed at him and his policies by making jokes about them. Michelle Obama made him work out while protesters were outside his mansion; he brought chocolate chip cookies to the women who were protesting the abortion bill; and, of course, now he has called journalists too dumb to understand his economics.
Is this how the Republican legislators will govern? The people of North Carolina deserve better.