New York Times article stirs response

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 05:22 PM

 An editorial in the New York Times critical of recent moves by the N.C. General Assembly has rankled conservative leaders while offering fodder for those at odds with the current administration.
On Tuesday, the New York Times published an editorial about state government entitled, “The Decline of North Carolina.” Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, the editorial was the most viewed and the most emailed article on the New York Times website.
The article addresses what the editorial board says are major problems that have arisen since November, when Republicans gained the governor’s seat and a majority in both General Assembly houses for the first time in well over a century.
“Since then, state government has become a demolition derby,” the article states, “tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.”
The writers of the article take issue with recent legislation ending some unemployment benefits, the amount of funding allocated for education and several other pieces of proposed legislation.
“North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South,” the article concludes. “In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build.”
The top comments on the New York Times website were largely in support of the New York Times’ opinion. In contrast, Enterprise website comments largely disagreed with the article’s points, citing a liberal bias and factual inaccuracies. To read the full article and weigh in, visit


Here’s what local and statewide government and economic leaders have to say about the recent Times article:

•“It’s got people agitated, regardless of your political persuasion. I’m concerned that it could make some out-of-state clients reconsider moving here. You never know what might help tip the scale in one way or another.” — Loren Hill, President, High Point
Economic Development Corp.
• “It’s no surprise when you look at the liberal editorial board at the New York Times. The voters of North Carolina made their decision to change things in Raleigh. I think the impact [of the article] will be casual.” — Rep. Howard Coble (R), U.S. House of Representatives
• “I hope it will influence North Carolinians to show support for public education and for our teachers. I’m sympathetic about the challenges our General Assembly has faced the last four years, but states around us have found a way to support teachers by increasing salaries, despite facing similar challenges.” — June Atkinson (D), State Superintendent, who was quoted in the editorial
• “The New York Times editorial is riddled with errors, and maybe if they came to North Carolina, they would understand that Governor McCrory remains 100 percent focused on the economy, education and government efficiency.” — Statement from Governor McCrory’s office
• “I think it was dead on. They [Republicans] have forced the state to be something that it’s not comfortable with. If I were a businessman, I would never bring a business to our state the way it is right now. It’s a total, total embarrassment.” — Rep. Marcus Brandon (D), N.C. House of Representatives, 60th district