Beverly Perdue was sworn in today as the first female governor of the state, a great milestone for Southern women. But I cannot let this moment pass without commenting on the gentleman under whom Perdue served as lieutenant governor.
Let’s be frank: Governor Mike Easley had to be hitting the crack pipe a few weeks before leaving office.
Y’all remember the national story when UNC-Chapel Hill student body president, Eve Carson, was murdered last spring? Horrible. Horrific. Turned out that one of the two guys charged is also implicated in the earlier murder of Duke engineering grad student, Abhijit Mahato, almost exactly a year ago.
Both of the suspects were out on probation but violations should have found them in prison at the time both murders occurred. In fact, 580 NC probationers have committed murders since 2000, plus there’s a little issue of the state losing track of 14,000 other criminals.
Hence, one might have anticipated a major local news organization to investigate the status of the state’s probation system. Indeed, that is what occurred with the Raleigh News & Observer in December, with a series called, “Losing Track: NC’s Crippled Probation System.”
I predict that this series by Sarah Ovaska, Joseph Neff and David Raynor (with other staff support) will result in a Pulitzer.
However, then-Governor Easley had a different take, as told to the Greensboro News & Record:
“My job is to be nice to other people, and their job is to be nice to me. Just because they’re not doing theirs doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do mine.”
d00d, I’m a little short of a five-spot. Wouldja spot me have a rock since I voted for ya – twice?
As you might suspect, this quote (Easley’s, not mine) was beaten to death by local editors.
But what really got my attention was the subsequent quote that the press and op-ed folks missed: Easley’s reason why the press shouldn’t have covered a story revealing that 580 NC probationers since 2000 have committed murder:
Easley said that newspapers often run a story that the electronic media will want to ask questions about. “The trick is to try to get away from that,” Easley said.
Now, I can’t tell if this was an insult to the MSM in that no one cares until bloggers or Drudge get ahold of a story.
Or was it a cut on those of us who make our hobbies of providing analysis and commentary on issues that arise in the MSM?
Does this mean that if one keeps honest, fact-based criticism away from the MSM, criticism from the electronic media won’t materialize?
Actually, frmrguv, what the fuck did you mean?
Let’s face it. I do have a day job. I chose not for it to be journalism. But I am a citizen and I have a very low tolerance for bullshit – during the day, and when I read the morning fishwrapper whilst sitting on the hopper.
I’m in awe of the many people who do this for a living, for example, such as the three reporters who put together the N&O probation series.
So, it pisses me off when the now-former governor of the state blows off as “gotcha journalism” a several thousand word exposé by three top-notch reporters spread across five days.
Not to mention the Easley’s insensitivity toward Eve Carson’s family:
“Some young lady gets brutally murdered by a couple of probationers … it’s now the probation officers [sic] fault,” he said.
Er, uh, yeah, douchemonkey – that was one of many points in the series (and note that he made no mention of Mr. Mahato).
I have no idea what Easley will be doing next in private life. However, I would encourage him to catch a clue as to the opportunities, not threats, of the “electronic media.”
Fellow NC Democratic pols such as Rep. Brad Miller and US Senate candidate, Jim Neal, certainly grok the e-world. Moreover, they recognize the positive catalyst for change that we pajama-cloaked hacks contribute with our words – and our bucks.
Adapt or die, or at least stop being a thoughtless, insensitive, self-serving ass.
Let’s hope Governor Perdue has better sense.