Twitter twaddle and press priorities

Wilmington, North Carolina StarNews staff and editorialists seemed to make a concerted effort to discredit Woody White the newly elected chairman of the New Hanover County commissioners. White is one of few local conservative politicians and, in my opinion, the only one who actively represents the fiscally responsible interests of the taxpaying public. His record is long and consistent on criticizing wasteful progressive projects.

Thus—no surprise—he is despised by the StarNews liberals. Recently, they fired double-barreled assaults at him on the front page and in the ‘Our View’ column on the “OPINION” page of the paper. (Links below)

Typically, editors changed the inflammatory print-edition headlines in the online versions to tone-down their over zealous attempt to make White part of a “Twitter-battle” and picking “an odd fight” with weirdo celebrity Whoopi Goldberg.

I’m not defending Mr. White’s comments on social media about Goldberg’s booking at the Cape Fear Community College arts center—although I believe it was bad judgment for college staff to invite an anti-American, black activist who hates our president-elect for an opportunity to promote her Marxist ideology.

Instead of questioning that insulting decision, editors chose to praise her and sarcastically criticize Mr. White whose main point was questioning the use of a publicly-funded facility. Editorial response: implications that White is “trying to throw his weight around” and is “bored and looking for something to do.”

Actually, he has found something important to do that editors should support—protecting the public from misuse of their money. But the editors have little interest in that public service. And they speak with forked-tongue: “We admire Commissioner White for his diligent over-sight of how tax dollars are spent.” Obviously, they don’t.

In 2008 a small percentage of voters in New Hanover County passed a $164 million bond debt on to the rest of the taxpayers. In 2010 empire-building began at the Cape Fear Community College with three new buildings vaguely planned. StarNews editors and staff have promoted the debt and building all the way, and without question.

Woody White, virtually alone, often questioned the need for kind and amount of building space. No matter cost or type of building, StarNews editors frequently supported it prior to and during the expansion period (I’ve kept a five-year record of this). They called Mr. White “well-intentioned,” but “myopic.”

In the editorial cited below, writers’ state, “there is no taxpayer subsidy for (Goldberg’s) performance.” Previous StarNews reports indicate that the Humanities and Arts (Wilson) Center imposed $54 million debt on County taxpayers, in addition to several million dollars annual maintenance expenses paid by our taxes. By my count, that is a new subsidy, otherwise people could perform at an existing county library or in half a dozen other theaters in the city (all subsidized).

Furthermore, this facility was never justified, was rushed to completion, and is out-of-touch with the mission of the community college.

A few personal comments between Mr. White and Ms. Goldberg is inconsequential, but the public cost of unnecessary buildings and their maintenance is serious and worthy of criticism.

Editors’ and staff writer Tim Buckland interjected themselves in the former at the expense of the latter—wrongly implying that White and his board is not “ready and eager to move forward on the many serious issues we face.” Clearly, Mr. White has shown that he is.

If the StarNews had not created this issue, few people would care. But, of course, editors often show us that they are on the wrong side of serious matters.

Their priority is to stand with the local self-interested political class, the Wilmington social elite and government bureaucrats rather than the people whose money is confiscated to pay for their progressive projects.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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