Add Jane Mayer to the list of liberals trolling the backwaters of North Carolina politics desperately looking for evidence to validate the lefts’s predetermined conclusion that Art Pope bought control of North Carolina politics.
Mayer, who authored the recent New Yorker piece on Art Pope, claims to be an investigative journalist. However, her work argues against the designation. In a pointed piece last week, John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation, tells how he freely supplied Mayer with information that challenged her thesis. Yet instead of following up on information that challenged her work, Mayer conveniently ignored all of it.
Interesting. Why did Mayer ignore information showing the size and giving of North Carolina’s left-leaning think tanks to be larger than that of the Pope Foundation or similar institutions on the right? Why didn’t Mayer know that Democrats outspent Republicans in 2010 legislative races $16 million to $14 million (and with few exceptions have consistently outspent Republicans on legislative races)?
In the New Yorker article, Mayer quotes William Barber on the election of a new conservative Wake County School Board. Barber said: “The first thing the school board did was start putting black children back into their so-called neighborhood.” Did Mayer check the accuracy of the statement? Mayer claims Art Pope engineered the election of a new majority on the Wake County School Board. Yet Mayer didn’t take the time to learn that three of the four candidates who won seats on the new conservative majority were outspent by their opponents. All these questions were conveniently ignored because they didn’t quite fit the story Mayer wanted to tell.
Mayer spent 10 pages telling her story in the New Yorker. Still, it is hard to ignore the troubling imbalance between who was interviewed, and who was not. It is also hard to ignore that the overwhelming majority of what was written was reported elsewhere.
These shortcomings, coupled with Mayer’s penchant for cherrypicking evidence in support of a predetermined conclusion, paints the New Yorker article a mere hit piece, similar to her earlier piece on Koch Industries. This isn’t reporting. It’s an attempt to distort facts to fit one’s reality.
If you read the liberal blogs you’d think the New Yorker article was a broadside on North Carolina conservatives. Far from it. The work of conservatives continues despite the smear. No one takes any joy in seeing a good and decent man such as Art Pope vilified and slandered. But it’s a pattern people need to see: when the left can’t win in the arena of ideas, when it finds itself losing elections and influence, the left needs an explanation for its problems. In North Carolina that explanation became Art Pope. According to the left, our problems are traceable to Art Pope’s control of North Carolina politics and that control is exerted through his policy organizations.
Such inanities humor conservatives. For the past four plus years, I’ve worked at the Civitas Institute, an organization supported by the Pope Foundation. I’ve never received direct advice from Mr. Pope about how to write or what to say about a specific issue, nor do I know any other individual at Civitas who has.
The wild allegations of control and widespread influence certainly make this relationship a legitimate line of questioning. Mayer’s article mentions representatives of several organizations funded by the Pope Foundation, including Francis De Luca, President of the Civitas Institute and Civitas Action, as well as myself. Yet she never bothered to interview us. If Ms. Mayer had bothered to contact either one of us, she would have learned how things actually work. Rather than receiving firsthand information, Ms. Mayer chose not to interview anyone from Civitas or Civitas Action. Why? I guess it didn’t fit the preferred narrative. When a reporter refuses to interview actors, but still feels compelled to write about the individuals and their organizations, it certainly raises questions about the quality and credibility of a reporter.
I doubt any conservatives think Mayer’s piece will have any lasting impact. Why? We’ve been through this before and because conservatives have faith in the people of North Carolina. Conservatives trust that when people have the facts, they will make the right decisions. The left doesn’t. Instead of engaging in a healthy policy debate , liberals concoct conspiracy theories and unleash ad hominen attacks – all in hopes of distorting the facts and creating a favorable narrative. It doesn’t work. Opinion polls and recent election results attest to that. When traditional messages fail, liberal fearmongering goes into overdrive with the intention of smearing conservatives and the causes they support. The tactics are telling and speak volumes about liberal convictions, or lack thereof. Mayer’s work simply puts the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of the left on full display. Why would conservatives worry? We can only benefit from the exposure.