People unclear on the concept

12/31/2008

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley believes the media’s job is to pat him on the back.

In an interview with the Greensboro News & Record, Easley complained about how newspapers, particularly The Raleigh News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer, have treated him, according to a story in the Observer.

“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,” Easley said in audio of the interview posted on The News & Record’s Web site.

It will probably be news to most political scientists that the NC State Constitution includes a bit describing the governor’s job as “being nice to other people,” and there isn’t a daily paper in the world that defines its job as being nice to elected officials.

Does the media get sidetracked on minutia or unimportant issues when covering government? Yes. Does it carry a vendetta against some in public service? From time to time. Does it allow itself to be manipulated by those with opposing views? Most certainly. But none of that releases the media from its duty to serve as the ears and eyes of the public and to hold elected officials accountable.

Easley is either a fool, which would seem unlikely given he is about to end his second term as governor, or is trying to get the press to go easier on him by presenting himself as the victim.

This whole blowup may be nothing more than an attempt on Easley’s part to soften up the media as it prepares stories detailing his legacy.

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