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james moeserJames Moeser.
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John L. Robinson.
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Deadspin.com, The News & Observer, the former editor of Greensboro’s News & Record and scores of Internet commentators have lashed out at last week’s interview with former UNC Chancellor James Moeser.
In an interview with Editor Matt Dees in The WEEKLY, Moeser passionately defended “The Carolina Way” and took shots at the local media for treating UNC unfairly in its coverage of the academic scandal. The following excerpt from the interview with Moeser fairly sums up his over-arching argument:
“I think [the media] has really put a target on the university, and they’ve treated The Carolina Way in a very cynical fashion, trashing it, really, and indicating The Carolina Way was always just a fiction, a façade we put in front of misbehavior. I really resent that. I think The Carolina Way is genuine, I think it’s real. I’m really angry about the [media]. I think they target people, and they take pleasure in bringing people down. I think their real goal here was to remove banners from the Smith Center.”
A lot of folks assume that Moeser is referring to The News & Observer’s reporting for the past couple of years; a lot of people are right. UNC-CH has been on the rough end of the paper’s reporting, and there is a developing theory – or paranoia, depending on your point of view – among Tar Heel fans that The N&O’s leads are being fed to them by unidentified N.C. State fans out to ruin their rival.
Significantly, Moeser did not challenge the media’s accuracy, rather its underlying motivation and vehemence.
Here are sample media responses this week (for more on the Deadspin article, click here):
John L. Robinson, former editor at the News & Record (read full editorial here):
". . . The N&O discovered some rot in the internal workings at UNC in athletics and academia and, like an infection in the body, you have to keep going after it to get rid of it all. That’s what The N&O has done and is still doing. There is a perception that the stories just keep coming, like a faucet dripping throughout the night. That’s because stories don’t come out fully baked. This isn’t a television program that ends at the top of the hour with a bow on top. Instead, reporters don’t know where the story is going to lead; they ask questions and try to follow the answers to get at the truth.”
The News & Observer's Executive Editor John Drescher (read The N&O's full editorial here):
"We weren’t trying to get anybody, but we were trying to get to the bottom of what happened at UNC. Most of our readers understood that and appreciate the digging we did.’” TW