Local News

Harsh national media spotlight trained on NC

Posted July 10, 2013
Updated July 11, 2013

— A Wednesday editorial in The New York Times is the latest blow to North Carolina's reputation as a progressive state.

Headlined "The Decline of North Carolina," the editorial criticizes the "grotesque damage" created by the Republican-led General Assembly.

"State government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot," the editorial states.

"North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South, an exception in a region of poor education, intolerance and tightfistedness. In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build."

The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Fox News also have pointed a harsh spotlight on changes in the state, from cuts to unemployment benefits to the repeal of the Racial Justice Act to the abortion restrictions now under consideration.

"I don't think they're headlines that are necessarily good from an economic development standpoint," said Rick French, chairman and chief executive of French/West/Vaughan, a Raleigh public relations agency.

Many people absorb information and form opinions based on headlines, said French, who noted that he doesn't take sides on any of the issues and follows the debates only from a public relations perspective as to their potential impact. Moral Monday arrests PR exec says protests, legislation tarnishing NC image

"The question is, is North Carolina doing damage to its reputation? And the answer is probably so. Is it doing irreparable harm to its reputation? I think that remains to be seen," he said.

"I think (people) will still come here to play. The question will be, will they come here to live and work?" he said.

Officials with the state Department of Commerce said the negative publicity hasn't hurt their business recruitment efforts. Companies are more concerned with tax reform proposals that lawmakers are considering, including the future of any state incentives for business relocations and expansions, they said.

A spokesman for Gov. Pat McCrory issued a response to the Times editorial Wednesday afternoon and said the governor plans to write to the paper's editorial board.

“The New York Times editorial is riddled with errors, and maybe if they came to North Carolina, they would understand that Gov. McCrory remains 100 percent focused on the economy, education and government efficiency, as he has been for the first six months in office,” the statement said.

French said he believes the state needs to provide a stronger response to the news stories and editorials, calling it a basic Issues Management 101 case study.

"These headlines are out there and people are believing, 'Wow, what's going on in North Carolina?' There's no one from North Carolina who's really advocating why these things are being discussed," he said.


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  • commonsense4 Jul 15, 2013

    "i myself dont care whay anybody thinks in New York..keep your liberalism in New York ..we have enough with these lib professors brain washing the students here..."

    In other words you are saying we like to be uneducated so keep your progressive, bright, equal and fair ideas in the North so we can continue to preach hate and ignorance in the south!

    Southern hospitality - the biggest myth in history!

  • gibbman67 Jul 15, 2013

    i myself dont care whay anybody thinks in New York..keep your liberalism in New York ..we have enough with these lib professors brain washing the students here...

  • crystalswisher Jul 12, 2013

    moving forward is not always a good thing.......and I would say, in the case of "progressive" government, from what I can see, it's been a disaster. There are some things that just don't need to be "moved along." We are "progressing" outselves right into the toilet!

  • weasel2 Jul 12, 2013

    The only decline is the ones that want to go backwards 50 years to keep their jobs. Cant stand moving forward.

  • dare107 Jul 12, 2013

    If this is true then WRAL should stop fanning the flames! Just Sayin!

  • LocalYokel Jul 12, 2013

    This harsh publicity of NC is not good for jobs in NC.

  • rocket Jul 12, 2013

    "The federal government is now at a surplus"

    For one month. Let's see them do it annually and we will be making progress.

  • bubbaOK Jul 12, 2013

    Who do we look like, the little sisters of the poor?

  • whyalltheproblems Jul 12, 2013

    both comments are true, beef!

  • beef Jul 12, 2013

    "The federal government is now at a surplus"

    Don't you love how well sequestration is working?