Thursday, April 24, 2008

Consider the Source-

Voters: Please “Consider the source”
of news, endorsements and
effectiveness” ratings!"

By Fern H. Shubert

For years, when told of an outrageous misrepresentation of facts in The Charlotte Observer, my standard response was “Consider the source.”

The Charlotte Observer and I have been on opposite sides of an amazing array of issues, including Jim Black. They praised his “effectiveness” and badmouthed his opponents, while I started criticizing Black’s abuse of power during his first term as Speaker and openly opposed his re-election.

Thanks to the FBI, everyone knows I was right and the Observer wrong about Black. I’m not holding my breath waiting for the “Progressive” media to acknowledge my accuracy, because they’re too busy praising Black’s so-far unindicted co-conspirators.


The Observer’s bias is well-documented, as is their supporting role in the misleadingly named Wilmington Riot of 1898, when Democrats committed murder to advance their political cause.

The Observer’s ties to the Democrat Party, although well over a century old, are undimmed by time, as I’m reminded regularly by their candidate endorsements and misuse of “defectiveness ratings.”

A comment that ran in this week’s Charlotte Observer indicates the current editors are at least aware many recognize their bias. “The Observer’s agenda isn’t “hidden.” For a printed copy, write: Democratic National Committee, Washington, DC 20003.” (The Buzz, April 22, 2008)

Actually, that day’s Buzz had several gems, including “Negotiating with someone who wants to destroy you is like helping them reload, aim and shoot you between the eyes,” and “DejaMoo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.”

The abuse of “defectiveness ratings” by the Observer and other papers is certainly “DejaMoo.”

Like the Observer, many papers are eager to support “effective” Democrats like Jim Black and Marc Basnight, and RINO Republicans (Republican-In-Name-Only), but quick to criticize real Republicans.

A typical article begins “A report on state law-makers’ sway blasts two local legislators and lauds another. The study, conducted by the nonpartisan (sic) North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, ranked” and goes on to praise the Democrat insider and trash good Republicans.

The supposedly “nonpartisan” study is so partisan that, before the Morgan "co-speakership" confused loyalties, the Republican caucus boycotted it. Honest legislators should boycott it, because the deck is stacked against them. Highly rated Republicans are deservedly viewed with great suspicion by those who know how the survey really works.

Despite the Republican boycott, Ran Coble, who headed the “nonpartisan (sic) Center,” claimed his survey was still a valid measure of effectiveness. House Republican Whip Frank Mitchell responded, “I try not to be shocked any more these days, but I was surprised at your audacity in claiming that the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research Center's "Effectiveness Rating" "was well above accepted standards of statistical validity." “No survey in which responders are self-selected, and where one major group boycotts it, can be considered valid by anyone's standards, except I guess by your partisan standards in favor of the Democrats.

You claim in your May 28, 2002 letter that the "response rate from House was 60% this year." But, as you were previously informed, the Republican Caucus boycotted your biased survey. Attached to this letter is a list of fifty-two Republican members of the House who boycotted your biased survey. Where is your 60% response rate if at least 52 House members boycotted your survey? And where is your disclosure to the public and the news media when you do not reveal that virtually all of your respondents were Democratic members of the House?

Even without one-sided input from the Democratic members of the House, your survey is fatally flawed when it relies on ratings from the lobbyists. I understand that your lobbyist survey includes the employees of the Easley Administration, who are of course advocates for the Democratic Party's agenda, and not very kindly inclined to Republican legislators who voted against Easley's busted budgets and tax increases.”

Later, two more Republicans reported they had boycotted the survey, meaning that even if every Democrat participated (unlikely), the maximum response was 55%, not 60%. So does the Center have a problem with math or integrity? How can anyone suggest the “defectiveness” survey is “nonpartisan?”

A recent letter from a resident of Moore County provided convincing proof the survey is still partisan. He asked how it was possible that their local representative, a Republican, received a 92% attendance rating for attending 115 days of sessions while Speaker Hackney, a Democrat, scored 98 percent for attending exactly the same number of days?

According to Frank Carrara, “The writers tried to explain this as "differences between their separate schedules." I do not know where they learned math. At my school, if we both were present for the same number of days of business, our attendance record would be identical.

“Next, let's look at those who were queried by this survey. It polled all 119 state representatives (78 responded), 614 registered lobbyists (184 responded), and 12 state capital news correspondents (6 responded).

“Let's see if I have this right. Our representatives were called ineffective because a sample of 268 respondents, 69 percent of whom were lobbyists, said they were ineffective...

“If I had turned this caliber of work in to my editor, I would have been exiled to the copy desk to proofread stories for a very long time.

“I'm not a supporter of either legislator; but I think having lobbyists passing judgment on our representatives is a gross disservice to them and your readers.”

I was so intrigued by Mr. Carrara’s comments that I phoned him and learned he’s originally from upstate New York where he worked for the Associated Press, which gives his opening comment extra weight: “The Pilot's reporters, who wrote the story about the rankings of our Moore County state legislators, should go back to journalism school.”

At least one local paper didn’t stop with reporting the biased ratings, they added an editorial that not only used the biased ratings to trash Republicans they would like to replace, but also attempted to bully them into participating in the survey. They actually had the nerve to criticize Republicans for refusing to help give credibility to the Center’s partisan hatchet job by participating.

Refer back to the comment about “negotiating with someone who wants to destroy you.” Why would any honest paper try to bully legislators into participating in a game we all know is rigged?

The answer is fairly obvious . . . they support “effective” legislators like Black and Basnight and want to help eliminate those who won’t follow their lead.

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