What’s a journalist to do when he doesn’t have a story? Apparently, if you’re with Indy Week, you’re supposed to make one up. That’s what Bob Geary did after the Civitas Poll Luncheon at the Doubletree Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh this past Thursday.
Geary’s article is replete with errors. The first comes a few lines down where he says, “It’s a private event, I was informed. So I left.” In fact, Geary was turned away because he arrived late and had not preregistered. Several protestors had registered for the event, along with people from liberal groups such as Action for Children and Common Cause, and the room was simply full.
In addition, Geary did not leave. He hung around and tried to sneak into the event once the lunch had already begun. He was greeted by Raleigh police and Civitas staff who reiterated that event registration was closed and that the lunch was currently in progress.
After two embarrassing failures to obtain a juicy story, the article Geary was forced to write reveals his frustration. Geary says that Art Pope failed to come back out to meet with the protestors after the lunch, as he said he would. The fact is, Art Pope would have gone to speak with them after the event, but they had already left.
In addition, Art Pope, along with Civitas President Francis De Luca, did actually meet afterwards with a liberal UNC student who had come to the lunch. The three of them had a productive conversation about the necessity to foster friendly discussion on public education.
But that wasn’t the only positive exchange that took place that day. Despite Geary’s claim that the conversation between Art Pope and the protestors before the lunch “went nowhere,” Pope’s discussion with Dov Rosenberg, the protest organizer, exposed much common ground between the two sides. In fact, Pope and Rosenberg both affirmed their support of public education and the necessity of local control, as seen in this video.
Geary does admit his ignorance when he says that he “cannot tell you what Pope, wealthy financier of right-wing Republicans, said about the future of education or even if he discussed education at all.” But if he had done even a whole minute’s worth of research on the matter, he would have found out that the day’s event had nothing to do with Art Pope’s opinions on public education. Civitas’ Poll Presentations are as bi-partisan as politics gets with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, organizations, and political affiliations hosted as both guest speakers and attendees.
But don’t think that just because Geary published a grossly misleading article filled with falsehoods that he will be willing to correct his mistakes. Geary has made it quite clear that he’s not willing to let the facts get in the way of a bad story. But here’s a hint to Indy Week’s liberal audience: if the only way to defend your point of view is to tout fiction as fact, then something must be wrong with your opinions.