The leftist group Media Matters is huffing and puffing because — gasp! — of the way newspapers describe Civitas. All their study really shows, however, is that Media Matters is an outside organization that doesn't know North Carolina, and doesn't know much about newspapers either.
According to the left-wing group, which analyzed recent news stories that mentioned us:
30 Percent Of Articles Referencing The Civitas Institute Did Not Disclose The Organization's Conservative Ideology. Seventeen of the 55 reports that included op-eds by or reference to the Civitas Institute made no disclosure of the organization's conservative leaning.
That may be a big deal to out-of-staters. But we are proudly and openly "North Carolina's Conservative Voice."
As our mission statement proclaims:
The vision of the Civitas Institute is of a North Carolina whose citizens enjoy liberty and prosperity derived from limited government, personal responsibility and civic engagement. The mission of the Civitas Institute is to facilitate the implementation of conservative policy solutions to improve the lives of all North Carolinians.
People here know that. The North Carolina political junkies who are especially interested in these topics know this. And for those who may have missed it, our friends on the left constantly bring it up.
There's no need to point out our conservative beliefs to Tar Heel newspaper readers. To do so would be like saying, on the cooking or lifestyle pages, that "eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce is vinegar-based." Or, on the sports pages, "college basketball is popular in North Carolina."
Newspapers don't have to repeat what the average reader knows. Readers know who we are, and a couple of mouse clicks will affirm that to anyone who has questions.
Media Matters tries to raise a kerfuffle over similar facts that are generally known or obvious — e.g., that because Civitas is a conservative group, many of our donors are conservative. File that under, "Well, duh!"
The next time Media Matters wants to critique us, they ought to really come down here and investigate. They might learn something — at least, if they come to our part of the state, how vinegar-based barbecue with a side of hush puppies is mighty tasty.