Friday, August 26, 2005

Unbelievable even for Raleigh's N & O

When a powerful North Carolina state legislator told colleagues he'd suggested to the state's prison system director that the director create a special prison unit for imprisoned gang members and then "put them all in that unit and let them all kill themselves," how did Raleigh's News & Observer, a McClatchy paper with a long history of support for the Democrat Party, handle the story?

Did the N&O treat it as page one news with quotes from prison reform and prisoner rights advocates? What about an editorial concerning the legislator's remarks?

Well, here's how The N&O covered remarks made by Durham Democrat Rep. Mickey Michaux, an NC House member for more than 20 years, a co-chair of its appropriations committee, and a founding member of NC's Legislative Black Caucus.

The N&O first waited a few days before publishing anying. Then it placed a brief story in the paper's second section among a series of stories about such matters as the pensions of Utility Commission members and The NC Academy of Trial Lawyers' decision to hire yet another lobbyist.

Here's the start of The N&O's story (You have to scroll down past the story "Budget gives Utilities Commission a big plum" before you get to the Michaux story):

Harsh words for gangs

Rep. Mickey Michaux showed little sympathy for prison inmates locked up for gang activity as he pushed this week for a bill that would increase penalties for gang-related crime.

He said on the House floor Monday that he suggested to N. C. Correction Secretary Theodis Beck that he create a special prison unit for gang members.

"Put them all in that unit and let them all kill themselves," said Michaux, a Durham Democrat.

The story goes on for another two paragraphs. We learn that the prison system has plans it hopes will help incarcerated gang members reform.

As for any N&O editorial regarding Michaux's remarks, The N&O remains silent four days after he spoke. If it editorializes in the next few days, I'll tell you.

Usually, I can think of something to say about the sort of journalism The N&O often foists on readers. But right now, on its treatment of this story, I'm speechless.

I'll say something in a day or two.

Meanwhile, what are your thoughts about how to make The N&O a better paper?


Gerry said...

"Bury it" I said, "bury it somewhere where no one will notice it"

Barry said...

Controlled Demolition comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Well, perhaps they are actually improving.

They buried the Air America for a lot longer and gave such a confusing spin that no-one could tell what it was all about.

In any case, good think Michaux wasn't a ultra conservative religious leader!


George said...

Minority politicians tend to get a passed for this sort of thing.