This week, a column from the Carolina Journal was cited in an article in the Triangle area’s local News & Observer. The column, written by Dallas Woodhouse, in “The Woodshed” contained analysis and informed speculation after U.S. Census numbers revealed that North Carolina would gain a 14th U.S. House seat.
In the initial version, Woodhouse presented several scenarios of how new congressional maps might benefit Democrats or Republicans, noting the state’s growth and who could be candidates for the new seats. The original article posted did not make clear that the information was based on Woodhouse’s analysis, as well as speculation among political observers who are not lawmakers nor the decision makers in the redistricting process. The story was updated to clarify that within the hour.
Rather than acknowledging the story had been further clarified, the News & Observer chose to run a startlingly partisan headline and alleged Woodhouse’s piece was “softened” in updates. They chose to scandalize a common, game-day analysis shared by political observers of both parties. This decision was made despite Woodhouse’s willingness to provide them with an interview on the record. This behavior does not inform readers. Rather, it contributes to the reason Americans of all ideological stripes have lost faith in the media. We need to be better.