Hidden agendas can be dangerous, particularly when the goal is to influence public opinion with political attacks in the guise of impartial journalism. Recently, a supposedly “independent, not-for-profit news organization” has stepped into the public arena. NC Health News promises to “provide crucial information about health care in North Carolina,” but few people realize that the organization is just another propaganda outlet for the Progressive Left.
NC Health News was founded in November 2011 by Rose Hoban, a former radio reporter for WUNC. Since then, Hoban’s “news” outlet has had considerable success at getting out its message. Mainstream media organizations frequently treat Hoban’s writing as authoritative, but they are willfully ignoring the obvious ideological agenda behind her organization.
What is that agenda? Well, it is simple, and readily explained by a strategy memo leaked this February. A liberal organizing network called Blueprint NC distributed a 38-page document that outlined a “collective statewide strategy” to discredit Republicans and conservatives in North Carolina. One of the immediate goals described in the memo was to “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.” In order to do that, Blueprint concluded, it was necessary to have
Enter Rose Hoban and NC Health News. As a former reporter, Hoban had the connections necessary to cozy up to mainstream media outlets. Those outlets, for their part, were more than willing to push NC Health News’ liberal agenda. They did not question the blog’s self-description, which reads:
“We are serious about our independence and are not affiliated with any political party, special interest organization, or activist group.”
That’s interesting, because even a cursory Google search would have turned up evidence to the contrary. Two out of three of the founding board members also serve as officers or board members in Blueprint NC member organizations. Leah Devlin is a board member at Action for Children, while Satana Deberry is the executive director of the NC Housing Coalition.
NC Health News may be a spin-off of another liberal mouthpiece with close ties to Blueprint. The blog receives much of its funding from and shares staff with the Raleigh Public Record; Hoban was once the Record’s managing editor. The Record is another “nonprofit news organization” that is heavily propped up by leftist Blueprint bankrollers like the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which is backed by Jim Goodmon, the owner of WRAL.
Finally, NC Health News is frequently featured on the liberal NC Policy Watch blog, while NC Health News in turn features Policy Watch articles. NC Policy Watch is a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, which is a “Leadership Committee Member” of Blueprint NC.
Let’s go back to that memo from Blueprint NC. Blueprint urged its operatives to use “relationships to statewide media” in order to push their liberal agenda. And indeed, NC Health News is doing exactly that. Mainstream media outlets march in lockstep with Blueprint by deliberately ignoring the obvious links their “independent” news source has to a powerful political network. And ordinary North Carolinians are none the wiser, as NC Health News advances the message of Blueprint NC with the Trojan horse of ”… employing the highest journalistic standards of fairness, accuracy and extensive research.”
Currently, NC Health News is on the front lines of Blueprint’s “collective statewide strategy” to attack conservatives. This week, Rose Hoban published a blog post with a sensational headline: “McCrory Administration Officials Suppressed Insight Into Medicaid.” The headline was quickly used as a talking point for Democratic legislators attacking Secretary of Health of Human Services Aldona Wos, while mainstream news outlets integrated Hoban’s blog post into their own stories. Judging by this week’s events, the Blueprint plan to “eviscerate the leadership” and “weaken their ability to govern” is apparently in full swing.
Everyone has an agenda. But NC Health News’ agenda is hidden, and for North Carolinians that can be unhealthy.