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Dear n/a:

The North Carolina Democratic Party would like to bring to your attention a
problem which we believe undermines the credibility and fairness of an
increasing number of news reports in North Carolina: Some North Carolina
news outlets have come to rely on organizations created and/or funded by
former Republican legislator Art Pope and his family as “news” sources or
validators for stories on political or public policy matters, without
disclosing the partisan political nature of these organizations.

The Pope family has a long history in North Carolina of promoting and funding
Republican candidates and policy positions. To further its efforts, the
Pope family has established a network of organizations that present
themselves as independent watchdogs and research organizations but which
are, in reality, closely related entities engaged in a coordinated effort to
promote Pope’s political agenda.

These organizations include:

. The John Locke Foundation
. The John W Pope Civitas Institute
. Civitas Action
. The Foundation for Ethics in Public Service
. Real Jobs North Carolina
. Americans for Prosperity

Too frequently, some reporters turn to these organizations for comment or
third party validation without disclosing to their readers/viewers the
partisan nature, Pope-family affiliation, and/or far-right policy positions
of these entities.

To be clear, we do not object to a news outlet printing or broadcasting
comments by representatives of Pope-related organizations. However, we do
object to news outlets doing so without disclosure of the Pope-affiliation
and/or partisan political agenda of these organizations. News outlets have
an ethical responsibility to identify the Pope-related employee or
organization as part of the Pope network so that viewers/readers can take
this information into account as they evaluate the employee’s or
organization’s comments.

For your convenience, here is a Raleigh News & Observer
article on Pope and his network of organizations. As the article notes,
Pope has been such an important funder of the state Republican Party, that
the state headquarters is named in honor of his parents. And his family
foundation has provided more than $28 million to finance the network of
organizations he created to pursue his political and policy agenda.

On behalf of the North Carolina Democratic Party, I respectfully request
that you re-evaluate your policies regarding the incorporation into news
stories of comment from Pope-related organizations to be sure that you are
providing your readers/viewers with the information they need to put such
comments into proper context.


David Parker
Chairman, North Carolina Democratic Party


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