Double Standards: How Media Treated Democrats When They Cut Teacher Pay

RALEIGH – Democrats in North Carolina love to hit Republicans for their draconian approach to teacher pay and education funding. If you only got the Left side of the story, which is often the case with a lot of news coverage, you wouldn’t faulted for thinking Republicans have actually slashed teacher pay in recent years.

Of course, Republicans have actually raised teacher pay and education funding substantially since coming to power. So, can you imagine the treatment they would receive, and the eye-roll-worthy rhetoric we’d all be subject to from the Left, if they actually CUT teacher salaries? It’d be deafening.

But just under a decade ago teacher salaries were cut, along with all state employees, by executive order from a Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue. The media response she got? Understanding, measured, sympathetic.

Check this WRAL pice out from 2009 after Perdue slashed state employee pay, including teachers, by half a percent.

“In an effort to close the gap on a state budget shortfall $1 billion more than originally expected, Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday ordered a half-percent pay cut for all state employees and teachers.

The pay cuts, for May and June, will save an estimated $65 million, a relatively small amount, she said, compared to the expected $3 billion-plus shortfall for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

That means state workers earning $30,000 a year could expect to see their monthly May paychecks cut by $75, followed by another $75 cut in June.”

No matter the circumstances surrounding the cuts – it was the thick of the Great Financial Crisis – if a Republican had made this move, he or she would have been excoriated by the same media. That $75/month reduction would have been trotted out as taking food off teachers’ tables and the clothes off of their kids backs. But this is a Democrat, so the reporting was vanilla, even sympathetic.

Further, this action in 2009 was done by an executive order. Can you imagine Gov. Pat McCrory cutting teacher pay by executive order, even in a recession, and ever hearing the end of it from Democrats and the media?

The kind treatment for Perdue continued:

“Acknowledging the order was not well written, the governor’s office had to clarify twice Tuesday afternoon what it meant.

Groups representing teachers and state workers said they expected possible salary hits next fiscal year but were surprised by Perdue’s announcement.

“We’re a bit disheartened by it, and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to stave off any further furloughs or cuts as we go down the line,” said Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina.”

Perdue’s “not well written” would have been a Republican’s “borderline illiterate.” The SEANC “disheartened”, but hopeful statement in response to a Democrat’s pay cuts, would have been a call for action, “take to the streets” toward a Republican governor.

In fact, it was just recently that this very same media outlet published an editorial described as the official opinion of its parent company, that labeled Republican lawmakers “dictators” and compared the North Carolina to North Korea or Iran.

Now flip this thought experiment around – a Democratic legislature that had approved five substantial salary increases in five years. The massive teacher walkout organized by Leftist groups would have instead been a celebration pep rally offering thanks to the benevolent politicians.

The hypotheticals are endless. The double standard is pervasive and obvious.

And these media concerns wonder why their approval ratings are just as low as congress?

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