Cooper Shuts Out, Blocks Questions from Unfavored News Outlets

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper gives an update on the state's response to COVID-19 during an afternoon news conference at the State of North Carolina's Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

RALEIGH – If you’re asking tough questions, and have not sufficiently demonstrated your fealty to the progressive cause and reelection of Democrats like him, Governor Roy Cooper doesn’t want to give the time of day. Honest questions during a Pandemic Panic in which the governor has mandated a near total disruption of the economy based on incomplete data and a mysterious illness? Doesn’t matter.

That’s the experience of news outlets that don’t fall into the favored status category, marked clearly by whether or not you carry water for the Left’s narratives and the politicians that benefit from them. North State Journal (NSJ), for which this writer used to provide political news content, has been essentially blackballed from the regular virtual press briefings on COVID-19. NSJ is a statewide newspaper — the only one — yet they have been allowed to ask questions less than a small Charlotte blog “covering entertainment, development, and news around Charlotte, has been called at least three times during Cooper’s briefings. NSJ, none.”

What gives? Well, NSJ ain’t the N&O or WRAL, in short. To wit, NSJ was founded as an alternative to the Left-leaning biases of legacy media, by people who are center-right and have connections to Republican institutions and administrations. A statewide newspaper founded by Republicans to compete against the favored Democratic legacy media that gleefully praises the emperor’s new clothes without hesitation? That makes one an enemy of petty Roy Cooper, and he’ll apparently take it out by the denying the freedom of some the press to ask questions.

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From NSJ:

“Gov. Roy Cooper has been a frequent image on screens across North Carolina since the COVID-19 outbreak. The briefings include his chief lieutenants and prepared remarks from the state’s chief executive. Many of Cooper’s virtual press conferences have allowed for questions from the media to the governor and his staff.

North State Journal reporters have diligently attended press conferences and online briefings. However, those same reporters have had little opportunity to ask questions of Cooper during his media availability briefings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, or in obtaining public records from his office.

Since the March 27 briefing, North State Journal has not been called on during any of the governor’s question-and-answer sessions. Cooper has typically given two, and sometimes three, briefings per week since that time. For the entire months of April and May, NSJ has been shut out of asking questions to Cooper.

That was not the case earlier in March.

At the onset of the activation of the Emergency Operations Center and in-person briefings, NSJ began attending them along with reporters from Raleigh-area television and newspaper outlets. At the March 17 briefing, NSJ was able to ask three questions (one and then two follow-ups) regarding application of mass gathering limits at churches.

The next week, as the pandemic quickly became very serious, Cooper announced in-person briefings would be canceled to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and instead, a dial-in number was provided for media questions. Twice during the latter half of March, NSJ was called on to ask questions of the governor.

March 27 was a Friday, and the last time the governor and his press team would call on NSJ.

Beginning on March 31, Cooper’s administration began using a new platform to conduct the media availability. This new platform required users to register each day for the briefings. Transitioning to technology platforms is a familiar routine in the current state of affairs, but the new digital queuing system has given the administration the ability to pick and choose who can ask questions.

It is no surprise that certain outlets such as WRAL, the Raleigh News & Observer, and ABC 11 seem to get called on during every briefing. Charlotte Agenda, a website covering entertainment, development, and news around Charlotte, has been called at least three times during Cooper’s briefings. NSJ, none. North Carolina’s only statewide newspaper is not the only outlet to voice frustration. The Carolina Journal and WBT Radio’s Brett Jensen have also reported similar treatment. […]”

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