Mainstream media coverage of the HB2 “transgender bathroom” bill, both statewide and nationally, has predictably reflected the far-left slant that is produced by journalism schools, and not difficult for discerning audiences to recognize.
A recent report on the topic produced by nonprofit radio station WFDD, the NPR affiliate in the Piedmont Triad, was a more nuanced attack on rural North Carolina (and America) and its values, couched in a soft-focus profile format. The segment was broadcast on the national “All Things Considered” program.
The story’s headline, “North Carolinians Who Support ‘Bathroom Law’ Say They’re Being Drowned Out,” might make you think reporter (and WFDD news director) Emily McCord has filed a sympathetic portrayal of some Tar Heel citizens who feel their opinions haven’t received fair treatment from the media.
You’d be wrong.
Instead we get more of the typical caricatures and backwoods-hick portrayals we so often see served up, which usually come more overtly from progressive commentators.
McCord sets the stage for her NPR left-elitist audience, most who believe – as she does – that the bathroom bill “limits civil rights protections for LGBTQ people” and “has cost the state hundreds of jobs, potentially millions of dollars and widespread condemnation.”
Having established her perspective, McCord reports, “nearly half the people in North Carolina say they support parts of House Bill 2.” In other words, how can this be? To help her loyal NPR students, McCord carves out a community from the vast Tar Heel State and places it in her on-air petri dish for their mutual examination.
You see, McCord wants to inform NPR listeners what an HB2-supporting North Carolina municipality really looks like, so she can broad-brush the entire non-urban areas of the state with her interpretation. To accomplish this she visits the tiny (population: 800) Rowan Co. town named “Faith” – perfect! Notable for its lack of stoplights and three churches, it’s the perfect setting for the stereotype McCord hopes to construct.
And what better place to gauge the pulse of a representative North Carolina small town than a local salon? What McCord finds at “Hairport” in downtown Faith, besides cosmetologist Chrystal Cretin, is a relic from the past, where “the old seats still have ashtrays nestled in the arm rests.” Cretin obligingly chirps, “You feel like you’ve been taken back 20 years when you come here.”
That’s exactly the picture that McCord wants: an extremely small town that can’t possibly represent contemporary values, hopelessly stuck in a past where even the beauticians can’t rid themselves of tobacco-necessitating accessories.
Cretin says she doesn’t mind the transgenders, but that so many in the town are “confused.”
“A lot of people get transgender people mixed up with pedophiles and rapists and all that,” Cretin tells McCord.
Sounds like the reporter found her useful idiot. While most argue that the controversial Charlotte ordinance that spurred HB2 would have blown open a huge legal loophole for predators to justify their presence in restrooms of the opposite sex, there has been no (or very little) claim by HB2 advocates that transgenders themselves are pedophiles or rapists. It’s highly unlikely that Cretin has heard that allegation herself, except from media and LGBT activist distortions, as her explanation of transgenders indicates.
“A transgender person is just someone who made a change in their life to be happy with who they want to be,” Cretin says, echoing the left’s narrative. “They found their self.”
And then there’s God. McCord moves on to a nearby soda shop, where she finds Faith resident Katie Funderburk, who helpfully tells her the “real” North Carolina is in places like this.
“You have some bigger cities that are very open to gay rights, and that’s their thing,” Funderburk says. “But as far as when you get to the heart of the South in North Carolina, I think that you have a lot more strong Christian values, and that people side with Pat McCrory on this and feel strongly about this bill and it being passed.”
At this point you can envision NPR listeners cringing, but unable to look away, at the activity in the petri dish. So McCord enlists her selected “expert on Southern culture,” UNC-Chapel Hill professor of “folklore” Bill Ferris, to explain the fascinating-but-horrifying behavior playing out in this foreign habitat where there are “two states within one.”
“That is the kind of crossroads we’re facing,” he says. “Are we going to move with a vision of progressive leadership, or are we going to move in another direction that will have severe economic consequences?”
And that’s the exclamation point McCord delivers for the curious NPR audience, summarized nicely for her by Ferris. Backwards, Bible-believing tiny town is hopelessly anchored to a harmful past tainted with tobacco and prejudice, unable to break free of their chains, and thus missing tremendous enlightenment and economic advancement.