Undue Influence: N&O <3 John Locke Foundation

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe so. But here are two numbers that are also worth a thousand words:

N&O mentions of John Locke Foundation - 70

N&O mentions of NC Policy Watch - 5

The N&O relies on reports and opinion of the state's leading right wing think tank 14 times more often than it does on reports and opinion from the leading progressive think tank.

Some might argue that imbalance is the result of JLF content being more thoughtful and thorough than NC Policy Watch. If you're one of the people who would argue that, you obviously haven't been reading the so-called reports churned out by the neocons at the Puppetshow.

Write or call Executive Editor Melanie Sill and ask her why N&O professionals are acting like stenographers for John Hood. Ms. Sill can be reached at 829-8986 or by email at msill@newsobserver.com.

UPDATE: And if you'd like to reach other esteemed members of the 4th estate in Raleigh, here you go.


Isn't it amazing

. . . what influence a few million dollars a year can buy?

And guess how many stories the N&O

has produced in the past few years about the swiftboat wacko in Kinston who's taking the city council for a ride on a land-for-nothing deal?

Exactly one.

How many papers published

By John Locke and by Policy Watch?

Not that it much matters, since one is based in fact, and the other, well...


You got me.

JFL cranks out "reports"

like Willie Wonka cranks out gum drops. A bunch are recycled versions of propaganda from other organizations (American Dream Coalition, for example), but most are original research designed to bolster Libertarian political positions.

But just because they're churning out information doesn't mean it's relevant or appropriate for this level of reliance by the so-called mainstream media.


PS I've heard that the Puppets go ballistic whenever they don't get the kind of coverage they want. I'm guessing that editors and reporters get worn down from all the flack they take from the shrill fright wing - hence the disproportionate coverage. That's one reason I'm here: to counter all their foot-stomping and ranting.

Push for coverage

Can we use the contact page to push progressive think tank publications? Maybe every time we see a JLF report cited, we respond asking why they didn't give equal time to a progressive report. And, every time one of these organizations puts out a report we write asking them to cover it.

We need to contact all these organizations and ask for heads-ups before they publish their reports.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I've been meeting with

progessive organizations (choice, environment, social justice) and asking them to do just that. Mostly I get so-so responses.

I think the leaders of non-profit organizations don't yet get how the internets work. They see things as competitive (wanting traffic and donors on their sites) and don't get the collaborative nature of information sharing.

In one recent conversation, I was talking about the 1000 daily readers we have on average, and the person compared that to the 200,000 who read the Sunday N&O. 1000 seemed like a miniscule number to this guy. What he doesn't get is that the people here are committed activists giving time and money and energy to make progress - whereas 199,000 of the N&O readers are looking for NASCAR news and grocery store coupons.

I think it will take them some time to come around, and in the meantime, they'll continue to get their butts kicked by the Puppetshow, which, if nothing else, has mastered the art of selling snake oil.

I guarantee that the 1000

of us have given more to Progressive organizations than say...199,000 of the N&O readers. Tell them that.

Have they never heard of targeted marketing? Do they not buy lists of people so they can narrow down their mailings? Well, hell. Here's a free list and you don't even have to mail the f**ker. Just post it.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Another update on N&O bias

I did a more thorough search of the Tubes today and found new numbers to underscore the N&O bias. Plus Chris Fitzsimon correctly observes that these numbers don't even include Civitas, the Pope Center for Higher Education, et all. In other words, this WAY underestimates the free ride the N&O is giving the Puppetshow.

Here's the letter I wrote today. Please join me in writing your own:

Dear Editor:

Your stories on the passing of Mr. John Pope caused me to wonder about your newspaper's increasing bias in favor of right-wing politics. In searching your website for articles over the past few years, these two numbers jumped out at me: 346 and 19.

Three hundred forty-six is the number of times the News and Observer has mentioned the John Locke Foundation, the reactionary think tank founded and funded by Mr. Pope. Nineteen is the number of times you've mentioned NC Policy Watch, our state's most progressive think tank.

In other words, the N&O relies on reports and opinion from JLF's right wing pundits 18 times more often than it does on opinion from thought leaders on the other side.

Now that's what I call fair and balanced.

Here's the link you can use to write the N&O. It'll just take a minute.

Anglico, you are a powerhouse!

What a strong and intelligent mind you have! I will write a lte to them tonight! Thanks for the heads up on this.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Thank you dear.

I don't know about strong or intelligent, but I am increasingly persistent in my old age. And newspapers that don't do their jobs competently deserve to be continually challenged. That's what the Puppets do, and look what it's gotten them! 18 times more coverage!

The N&O responds - and so do I

I sent this link to a half dozen contacts at the N&O and one of them wrote back.

A couple of thoughts. One, the John Locke crowd is constantly churning out stuff -- every day -- some of which finds its way into our paper. I don't know how much stuff Policy Watch puts out. Also, there are other "liberal" centers out there that we do give coverage to -- the Common Sense Foundation, the N.C. Justice Center, the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, among them. Not sure it's apples and oranges to just compare John Locke and Policy Watch. It's a function of how effective a job each does of getting its message out, and that's in part a function of widely disparate funding.

Thanks for writing.

To this thoughtful non-answer I responded:

Thanks for the quick response. I want to let you know that I’m in the middle of a much more thorough analysis, comparing all the Pope organizations to all the left-leaning organizations (those you mentioned, plus others). The early results are far more damning to your news organization than the figures I shared in my email. Simply put, some of your reporters are little more than stenographers for the Pope funded propaganda machine.

I understand that JLF puts out something nearly every day. I read it all. But their prowess at marketing is a piss poor excuse for the fact that their content finds its way into the pages of the N&O with such alarming frequency. Their research is shoddy, ideologically-driven and self-fulfilling ... Simply put, they have UNDUE INFLUENCE and the News and Observer is enabling that to happen.

I keep looking for a reason to re-subscribe to the News and Observer, but at this rate I’m headed even farther in the other direction. I’m disappointed.

I am working to fully document the undue influence of the Puppetshow on the News and Observer and other North Carolina newspapers. If anyone wants to help out, I'd appreciate some extra eyes and ears.

We need to blow this story wide open for all to see.

This sounds excellent!

I keep looking to see if more JLF crap makes it into our paper now that both are owned by McClatchy, but I've only seen one since the sale, I think. I probably just haven't been paying attention. I would love to volunteer to help, but my plate's a little full right now. I love this idea.

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

not a non answer

you were just told: "The N&O puts quantity above quality."

Why research a topic and find answers when you have a press release that you can copy and paste?

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

Blue South, maybe thats the TICKET!

If newspapers want to be just another cut & paste publishers of press releases, perhaps that will become the job of Citizen Journalists. I have read of many who sent lte's to newspapers and have been asked to do regular articles.

The night school classes given by DFA taught that each of us could submit articles and be published if well thought out and researched. That's what JLF bought into...what the N&O has grown complacent about. If they can, so can we!

Every time you write your article here, you should also cross-post, or at least submit to the N & O and your local newspaper. Why not? What is written here is just as good and better than what you get in MSM.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

paper size

The smaller the paper the more likely something like this will work.

But your idea does work. Usually there is a restriction on size for letters to the editor. Here is a letter that a precinct chair here in catawba county wrote up that got printed as a "Guest Commentary"

I will say, though, that a normal person is much less likely to get posted. One idea would be to approach the editor of your local paper and see if they want to "Expand into the new world of blogging by allowing you to cross post everything to their paper."

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

I'd love to help, but may be high maintenance

I am willing to do what needs doing, but don't know how to do it!

I'm getting ready to post a diary on Gerald Galloway running as unafiliated in Moore Co. Going to be 2 part and i know how to insert pics, but have no idea how to manipulate the text...better for the heading....wrap around picture.

SD has been helping, but as she says above, she really has a full plate right now. Stan sent me a bunch of help before....Can anyone help?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Just post it . . .

and I'll jump in and do a little formatting. I only have a few tricks, but they're dependable. What time do you expect it to be done? I'm out tomorrow morning, so around 1 would be best for me.


A, Got it posted tonight,

SD said she has banners, etc she can help with, I'm calling her now to get some tips. Will be posting part two tomorrow.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.