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Carolina Journal Radio No. 885: Debate continues about pace of N.C. reopening

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2020 8:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 885: Debate continues about pace of N.C. reopening

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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May 4, 2020 8:00 am

As North Carolina grapples with the impact of COVID-19, debate has turned to when and how to reopen the state’s economy. While many are calling on government officials to ease restrictions tied to the pandemic, some worry that a reopened economy could lead to major health-related problems. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, analyzes the debate. Families across North Carolina have been grappling with the challenges of online education since COVID-19 shut down brick-and-mortar schools. Catherine Truitt, chancellor of the online Western Governors University North Carolina, offered ideas for parents and students during a presentation for the John Locke Foundation. Truitt also discussed how COVID-19 could lead to long-term changes for N.C. public education. Tens of thousands of North Carolinians have joined a social media group named Reopen NC. It’s goal is to see all coronavirus-related economic restrictions lifted in the state. Lead organizer Ashley Smith introduced herself to members online. You’ll hear highlights from her remarks. Before COVID-19 threw the education world into turmoil, entrepreneur and school choice advocate Bob Luddy was making the case for expanding educational options for parents. Luddy believes excellent schools constitute the best community development programs. In a “Locker Room” Talk segment, JLF Vice President Donna Martinez and Senior Political Analyst Mitch Kokai discuss several aspects of the ongoing pandemic. The discussion includes the media’s intense focus on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, along with the process Gov. Roy Cooper and Health Secretary Mandy Cohen have used to screen media questions during emergency briefings.

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From Cherokee to current tagging from the largest city to the smallest town and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most of public policy events and issues book of the Carolina Journal radio why Michiko guide during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. The covert 19 pandemic is forced.

Many North Carolina families to learn quickly about online education that of an online public University of North Carolina offers some helpful hints. Tens of thousands of people in the state of signed on to a social media group, dubbed reopen and see you'll hear a lead organizer explain why the group is protesting recent government actions before the pandemic entrepreneur and school choice advocate Bob Luddy was touting the benefits of excellent schools for community development you learn why and a locker room talk segment will focus on media response to the pandemic. Those topics are just ahead.

First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline as of late April, North Carolinians continued under a statewide estate home order imposed by Gov. Roy Cooper in response to the covert, 19 pandemic but around North Carolina groups of residents echoed their concerns about their economic livelihoods under the order. Some even protested around the governor's mansion in Raleigh to make their voices heard one of the observers to all of this is Becky great. She is a senior vice president at the John Locke foundation, a frequent guest here in Carolina Journal radio Becky welcome back of your healing well. Yes indeed, the message of the protesters who are talking about reviving our economy will what's your take on what they're trying to communicate to the governor and other officials. I think there with her trying to communicate is a very deep frustration as this thing does not think it's important to note that you know there are other movements similar to this. Were seeing this across the country on the North Carolina movement is very organic. It started with a Facebook page and some icing headache and I'm really frustrated with this amount of work I friends are out of work. Anybody else share my concerns with this.

All of a sudden, they have tens of thousands now on the Facebook page. There were thousands of people who have come to Raleigh to express their frustration as well. The message that I think they're trying to get across is first of all public safety is at the first of everyone's minds.

But we also have an economic health question in an economic health crisis on you. Now imagine if you will and you know you don't, you don't have to imagine much because I think a lot of people who were listening to us today know exactly what I'm talking about.

You lost your job through no fault of your own. You have no money you have kids to feed you have kids home from school who you know want want breakfast lunch and dinner and other activities and and does kind of things you have a mortgage or a rent payment to make you have other financial obligations you are trying to get unemployment benefits that you are entitled to. But there is tremendous frustration with that system being with the volume that we have that system is so overwhelmed you would rather be at work.

You don't want to have to balance whether you can pay your rent whether you can feed your kids, you know you you had a job you like your job. Work is really the essence of who we are in the competence and everything else we have these are people who don't want to be dependent on government they want to work and it died. In fact, at the point you and I are talking more than 600,000 N. Carolinians have applied for unemployment insurance. It's staggering, get up and down and that number is going off as the qualifiers for that now we are extended to contractors and self-employed people said there's kind of a whole new on group of folks who were now eligible who were going to be applying which puts additional pressure on the system in the addition to that what we are hearing every day is that businesses are closing they are furloughing employees. They are having to lay people off.

Whether it's a small business in Kinston or North Carolina's Department of Transportation and everything in between. So these unemployment lines.

The folks who fall into this category. Again, through no fault of their own. These numbers are growing and the frustration is just let us go back to work open this up let us go back to work and I think it's important to note that everything that I have saying there is nobody who has said let's just throw out the public safety in the public health concerns. Everyone has said we can do social distancing their businesses that can do that if we can open up grocery stores with one-way aisles in 60 Marxist soup to check out or to limit the number of people in the store. Why can't we do this for other retail operations. Why it can't affect other states are starting to move forward state of Georgia is opening up some things again with those public health precautions in place, whether it's face coverings or gloves or distancing one-way aisles, etc. there are some states that are trying to get back to work. What is been really curious in some ways alarming to me watching this is that as you have seen more people speak out and try to to have their voice heard about their economic concerns for their family and what the future may hold it as you put it so so rightly and so well through no fault of their own. One day you have a job and literally neck the next day you don't you own a business right in the next day you gone your doors are shuttered in the wake of that there actually are voices who are pushing back against people who are expressing their concerns and in the narrative, at least from from Psalm is that somehow or another. It is an all or nothing situation that it's either public health or its economic health and I think reasonable people understand that's not the case, there can be a balance but nonetheless there some vocal people out to continue to see this and again don't unity or point the it's not for its and we can have the public health concerns. We can have the social distancing we can wear masks we can assume that responsibility for ourselves. In many ways and means you know if the governor or local governments want to put that into regulation may states that I'm seeing are very conscientious of this wants to get sick today don't hundred and then I'm going to decide what exactly is how people are assuming the responsibility if you go if you go even to the parks that are open or out in neighborhoods to walking a people in a goat with a grapes separate themselves.

The social distancing people using the door when a new in you walk the other way, exactly. Everybody stops in their tracks and you and you steer clear right and end unit.

The same with the masks and gloves.

You know you're saying people choose to do that is of course the unit. We had a shortage, but the that seems like the supply chains have caught up with that now people are making masks, kids are out of school, have learned how to sew and measure all that have a golden you know coming lot. There are some silver linings on this on their there are in fact on my stepdaughter who is is grown has kids of her own and that lives in another state. While she knows that we are Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

And so, sure enough, we get a box little box that shows up on the doorstep a few days ago and its facemasks and with Dodgers material so that she knows her dad would actually be comfortable wearing that but she is one of those and examples of people who are just taking charge, rather than strictly being fearful.

She's taking charge. Her husband works in food distribution is an essential business is out and about in stores every single day.

She makes facemasks for him to wear different ones every single day.

She dug out the sewing machine. She never thought she would use that's been something we've seen a lot to people just taking responsibility.

If you do that and get me think with all needed some guidance from government.

There is a core function of government, and I think we can all agree that in a public health crisis.

There is a role for government think this is about balance and I think that we also need Inc. about personal responsibility, and having the confidence in the American people that you know working to do what's right.

Give us the opportunity will do what's right for gator is been one disturbing situation that is involved you personally and the impact of social media as people exchange their views as we all work work through this pandemic and it had to do with that. The message of getting back to work and you are on twitter at Becky Gray and you are a frequent commenter on other people's twitter feeds and one person from the left, took offense to something you said about needing to get back to work yet you it was again some of some of my twitter account of research base and some are just lighthearted kind of interactions with folks and there was thread about a guy who would put an apple in an Insta pot and there was a long thread with all kinds of comments about what he showed her suggestions about how to cook apples and that kind of thing and I just commented and said this is an example of why this is gone on too long.

People need to get back to work much time on their hands and this is what were talking about reaction from right when this troll said that I should be robbed of my platform to speak. This is disturbing. This is extremely disturbing and so as this as this continues, one thing that I've noticed on is it seems to bring out as we taught the best in people and also brings out the worst in people and I think this is an example of when a lighthearted comment is receiving troll action like this morning babe to be robbed of my platform to speak think that's disturbing.

Thank you Becky thank you stay with us much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment tired of fake names tired of reporters with political axes to grind. What you need to be reading Carolina journal, honest, uncompromising, old-school journalism, you expect and you need even better, the monthly Carolina journal is free to subscribers sign you'll receive Carolina journal newspaper in your mailbox each month. Investigations into government spending revelations about boondoggles who the powerful leaders are and what they're doing in your name and with your money.

We shine the light on it all with the stories and angles.

Other outlets barely cover but there's a bonus print newspaper is published monthly by our daily news site gives you the latest news each and every day lot on the Carolina once, twice, even three times a day.

You won't be disappointed. It's fresh news if you'd like a heads up on the daily news sign up for our daily email do that Carolina Carolina journal rigorous unrelenting old-school journalism. We hold government accountable for you what Qubec Carolina journal radio I Muskoka is Kovic 19 is forced many families to venture into the world of online education John Locke foundation has been consulting experts, what's the best way to make virtual learning work during a recent online event.

Catherine Truitt offered her ideas. She's Chancellor of Western Governors University, North Carolina, and an education advisor to former Gov. Pat McCrory Truitt offered some basic advice for getting started.

First day of school. Our ground rules are, our class rules if you will with the students and of course, as all good teachers more input you give your students into that process, the more likely they are to follow it.

The thing I would add that I knows it's got a funny but it's true, is don't be afraid to bribe your kids thoroughly with money, but find out what their currency is and do a little horsetrading.

They may be more likely to follow through with Truitt says there's a range of responses to online education among traditional classroom teachers probably every teacher is a different comfort level with this and the best advice that I would give principals and superintendents is to find your teachers who are already comfortable and leverage their expertise in helping other teachers who are perhaps more of a novice with remote learning in an online learning to just really help with this process.

We got so many pockets of excellence across our across our state.

Districts that have been doing this for a while and for whom this was, not a difficult transition just from the teacher point of view, but then we have other districts who have nothing in place yet for many reasons. So I think this is an opportunity for both parents and teachers to be patient with one another. Truitt says there is a wide variation across North Carolina as school districts respond to the Kovic 19 pandemic and online learning needs. The districts who are ahead of the curve, and you have been doing this for a while made an intentional choice to do this on their several years ago and so they found funding sources on their own. They leveraged private industry and got grants and so forth on their own and it was really through what I would consider to be the visionary leadership. Many local superintendent.

I think that is important to think about the fact that when we talk about who's doing what. It's important for everyone to remember that everyone's doing the best that they can with the system that some place teachers in particular, I feel like they're stuck in a lot of ways because they are doing the best with what's being given to them. They are doing the best operating in the system.

By and large is not equipped to handle a overnight switch to remote learning and so I think that when the dust settles were gonna have to have some hard conversations about what this system looks like. Because if there's one thing that I've been thinking about so much the last couple of weeks is how much this is highlighting truly our system of K-12 education, not just North Carolina but throughout the US, 19 is highlighted that this is a broken system that works for some kids but not for all, and unfortunately those districts that are able to kind of soldier on and do this really well are going to do a great job I'm sure, but were going to see the digital divide increasing during cobra 19 and I think that's again something that we don't want to not educate anybody out of fear, but we also need to be aware that the digital divide is going to grow even more. During this time.

That's Catherine Truitt, Chancellor of Western Governors University, North Carolina. She took part in a recent online event with the John Locke foundation. Truitt focused on the need to modernize public education across the state K-12 needs to modernize not just because we could have another event that leaves people at home but it needs to modernize because that's the right thing to do with it needs to modernize because we need to go over the rest of the world already is and the fact that most of the people on this call have probably been able to go about their daily lives, or at least their jobs with not a whole lot of interruption. It's mainly inconveniences. I mean, I can still buy batteries on Amazon if I need to like in bank online. I can order food online and of course in continuing to do my my job remotely and that's not the case with with K-12 or or universities for that matter X and must must your online like WG you and so there there are a lot of challenges to flipping the switch for K-12 mean you one of the reasons that this is this is going to be so problematic for so many counties is be because of access to broadband is a time for North Carolina to change its school funding system. How about a system in which money follows a student to a range of educational options.

The idea of being money following the student is something that a lot of people agree with on paper, you say, do you think the money should follow the student they say yes, but the course text, not really how funding works in North Carolina and a lot of other places as well and I think that that when when this is all said and done, I would love to see some sort of convening from DPI to reach back and do a deep dive into lessons learned all the way from students and parents to the teachers and the administrators and superintendents so that we can create a lessons learned document so that we can start to address some of these issues because certainly there's a big appetite right now, again because of the west of report to look at funding in North Carolina help with whatever funding mechanisms are.

I would also say that as far is teachers go. I think a lot of teachers would agree and will be gratified to see that one outcome of this crisis is going to be the fact that it will become very obvious to a lot of people that our system is so focused on the compliance around learning that we boxed ourselves out of the ability to be innovative and so again hopefully there will be an opportunity to revisit all these things that were were talking about so that we can reset our focus on kids rather than on kids outcomes their learning outcomes rather than just input. What about the future of online education will replace traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Truitt suggests 1/3 option.

It is not going to be about either or anymore it's going to have to be about one and blended learning that leverages technology in order to produce a personalized learning experience for the student is key and I think again alive. A lot of folks in the education community.

Totally agree with.

It's just a matter of actually making it happen. And the truth is that we are going to have to do a fundamental shift in the way we think about learning and assessing learning if we are to truly create blended learning experiences for kids that's Catherine Truitt, Chancellor of Western Governors University North Carolina during the recent John Locke foundation event.

She discussed efforts to boost online learning in the face of the Kovic 19 pandemic will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment. If you love freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina it's one stop shopping for North Carolina's freedom You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James Dean Martin, Center for academic renewal commentary in polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Try it today. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper.

Don't wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal. Who knew you could shop and invest in freedom at the same time it is true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shop using the Amazon smile program and designate the John Mott foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop Amazon donates money to pass the John Locke foundation Curaao log on to Amazon smile is the same Amazon you know same products same prices. But here's what's better. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon smile purchases to the John Mott foundation to try it. Be sure to designate us as the nonprofit you want to support. It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy. You also support freedom. Don't forget log on to today, something nice and help defend freedom, help support the John Mott foundation will Qubec Carolina journal radio why Michiko got as North Carolina shut down much of the economy in connection with the Kovic 19 pandemic. Some people raised objections. Thousands of people joined a group dubbed reopen in the sea organizer Ashley Smith introduced herself to members online. My freedom fighter, libertarian, and I'm a constitutional conservative. There's been a lot of discussion about the constitutionality of the shutdown heard a lot of people say it is constitutional because once he passes an executive order or state of emergency that would make it legal. So what I tell you today is that I disagree with that, tell you why the Constitution is a document that grants us are right, it's a document that recognizes our rights.

It's a founding document that our founding fathers said was important because it recognized the rights that were granted to us by the creator said and I given my man and therefore they can be taken away by man, they're not disposable in the time of a pandemic. They're not disposable in the time of war or not disposable at any time as a Constitution keeper tell you the First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The fact that churches cannot get together right now. Reach out to your church leaders. Why are we standing for this as a nation. Why are we okay with our freedom of religion just being squashed.

We could still be smart adults and socially distant to passive people feel the need to do, which I think should be completely voluntary because I'm an adult and I have the right to make my own medical decisions have the right to make a decision if I want to be tested are not right because I'm a sovereign entity and my right friend out by my creator so please a misunderstanding. I'm trying to light a fire under your derrire today because if we don't all come together and get passionate about our freedoms and our right there anything in the past 20 years and maybe tell my grandchildren about a time when America used to be free. And I want that to happen.

I want us to come together now has to be on the phone every single day. I've been calling my government. My Lieut. Gov. my Sen. and my representative at least three times a week. Since all this started only on through the governor one time that is very telling, even to leave a message. His lines just mentally busy part of elected officials want to know where their constituents stand and it's how they do make decisions if they're not hearing from they just decide what they think is best that they hear from a united front on a regular basis. They're more likely to vote if it comes to vote or to speak on our behalf than if they're not hearing from us.

That's Ashley Smith and organizer of the group reopen and see will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet. And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes headlock is a little bit different. It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right, like Carolina journal radio headlock is smart and timely but with headlock you'll hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well.

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Listen to Carolina journal radio each week and listen to headlock to remember, you can listen to or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation will Qubec Carolina journal radio why Michiko Kai excellent schools are the best community development programs that was the title of a recent presentation. Our next guest delivered to the John Locke foundation's Shaftesbury society Bob Luddy is founder and president of captive air systems and is also founder and chairman of Franklin Academy St. Thomas more Academy and the group of schools known as Thales Academy. Welcome to the program pleasure to be here with you today, Mitch. Two excellent schools are the best community development program. So why do you think so because parents are most concerned about their children and that they get good schooling and think about it, the family settle somewhere near school kids are safe that her mom can travel further to work, but they want kids to be in a nurturing environment close to home. It is very logical, but is also proven out by data. Now this is something you been working on for a long time. Excellent schools don't necessarily mean just the traditional district schools that the that are run by the school board. This could be a lot of different options right excellent schools could be any and all stripes that you can possibly think of to include private charter, faith-based, and to some degree, homeschooling and homeschooling cooperatives nail are becoming very popular around the country. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in this process because we as we mentioned at the top you are founder, adjournment of some charter schools and private schools back in the mid 90s side became much more concerned about the educational attainment of many students so some students were doing well but many students weren't doing well and that's when I decided to start the public charter school Franklin Academy turned out to be major input. Long-term change in the community of workforce roles will more than what County.

How did it help. Well, it's interesting.

Nobody knew what a charter school was in 1998, but we open with 160 students and by the following year we had over 200 students and it became the school of choice within a year or so. Think anytime you have a new offering in the market. If it's attractive the words can spread quickly. What was it about Franklin Academy. In addition to a just being a new option that you think made it so popular why think initially we introduce direct instruction, which is one of the best methodologies of teaching reading, math, phonics, we had a small nurturing school. We made sure that every single child in that school at least reached your grade level. Many of them were one of two grades ahead so is a very strong interest in every single student in the school and parents notice the difference is I tell parents consistently. You don't have to wait for grades you don't have to wait for test scores to see the difference in your child in a matter of weeks in the school where chatting with Bob Luddy. You could have stopped right there and said hey Franklin Academy's working were going to stick with that, but you also moved on to help with some other projects including outside of the charter school model the private schools that are Thales Academy is now up at least eight I think of schools I was going to a schools open so somewhere around 2005 or six were no more charter schools available because we had a camp in North Carolina so begin to think more about private education and had a small meeting in our corporate office expecting about 10 parents in about 30+ showed up three hours later asked him to go home is that I think you sent a strong message to me that you're interested in something like a Thales Academy in this literally word the school was born and tell us a little bit about how Thales has grown from just the initial school to now having the eight men and summer are in the pipeline open again if Thales began with about 20 students in 2007 and now has over 3000 on eight campuses and were now know this courier will be opening schools in Virginia Richmond and in Nashville Tennessee. So the idea of this private school affordable cost.

Caring about every student safe and nurturing has called on how do all of these schools and others that have been successful in North Carolina. How do they fit in with your general theme that excellent schools are the best community development program. I think you can see that in northern Waco, for example, there hasn't been any public schools built there in recent years, and in fact there are half a dozen charter schools now in that area. What's also very interesting is that in spite of all the school choice and all the seats available. Everyone is filled up so as more choice expands people being began to understand it better that they have multiple choices and they can change your mind.

Year to year and if you look at the economies of northern wake there absolutely booming as school choice is a big factor. How does this help the families if they know they have this good option for their kids.

I would imagine that's allows frees them up to do other things that that also help the economy. People stop me in the street or in the marketplace over and over and they often say you can just change the lives of our children.

You change the laws of our family because they know that their children are very safe, nurturing place, and have the confidence that they're going to have the character formation in the academics to be very successful in life. What are some of the things that you have learned about a successful school from having gone through this process, both through charter schools and now with private schools over some of the things you've learned that you did know about education. Well, I think one of the most important things is character formation is equally as important as academics, so good discipline of loving discipline is very important to children because it says some on a glide path for life. Also, parents are going to agree with everything the school does, and when we often say to your never going to agree with everything we do, but it's a choice, and you have other choices. So think about of parents had 10 or 15 choices in the market. They would make the best choice for their children at that particular point in time.

Some parents will come. They may come to T5 and make another choice. In six grade others will make a different choice in ninth grade. This is all good and the competition is what makes all businesses in all schools. Better typically, we hear in schooling, they don't like the word competition. But if we didn't have competition in our marketplaces, we wouldn't have a great America we have today you mentioned competition that I'm glad you did because it sounds as if if the if there are a lot of options that also makes the providers have to be better absolutely. Or if your model is good for some people but not for others. You might have to adapt to make it better for even more thing. And it's on the minds of any charter school private school with him to be really good to attract these people because they have many other choices and whether it's business and industry are schooling.

That's a really good thing that we had to provide the highest level of service to whoever were serving possible benefits not on her mind really degrade very quickly what you see as the future for school choice here in North Carolina I think school choices going to grow more rapidly in the future.

So we see 100,000 homeschoolers we see consortiums of homeschoolers working together over and have more private schools.

Charter schools are being unleashed some of our rural counties have not had the opportunity to have charter schools so there's a lot of work to be done, but based on all the people I talked to. They now understand 20 years later, school choice, how important it is. But politically, it's still a major challenge will certainly an interesting topic and the gentleman we was drinking with the certainly knows of what he speaks.

He is founder and chairman of Franklin Academy St. Thomas more Academy and the group of schools known as Thales Academy Bob Luddy. Thanks much for joining us pleasurably with you, Mitch will have more on Carolina journal radio really influence you either have it or you don't and at the John Mott foundation we have it, you'll find our guiding principles in many of the freedom forward reforms of the past decade here in North Carolina. So while others talk or complain or name call. We provide research solutions and hope our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day jobs, healthcare, education, and more.

We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control over your life.

Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse, the envy of every other state research is how policymakers make decisions that ensure you keep more of what you are. Expand your choice of schools for your kids. Widen your job opportunities improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future for truth for freedom for the future of North Carolina.

We are the John Locke foundation. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio and another edition of locker room attack. I'm Donna Martinez joined here by my cohost of the program Mitch coke. I mentally wanted to take an opportunity to kind of them make some observations about the pandemic, and what we seen from government officials and media coverage and really got me thinking about this because you wrote a calling for more data and continued analysis of the data in the pandemic and were getting some of it at the state level were getting a lot of it at the federal level, but we need more would really spark this is the fact that almost every news briefing and all of the initial major reports you see in media outlets about the cobra 19 pandemic tend to lead with two statistics, the number of confirmed cases in the number of deaths.

Both of those are important statistics but neither one of them really tells us what we need to know so we can decide what we need to do about the pandemic, and the next steps forward in the way that I would about this in the column was to compare those to me statistics with the two main statistics you tend to see we have a hurricane.

This is the thing that most of us are used to when were out when were dealing with the issues of emergencies and the need for emergency action is you'll see the governor and his team come out and talk about what's happening in a hurricane, and they often spout two statistics in that case, one is also deaths and the other is power outages in that case with a hurricane when there are deaths with a hurricane. You know it's a big deal but sometimes are hurricanes or just go up and down the coast to do a lot of property damage that's bad they don't kill anyone so went once a hurricane really leads to deaths. You know it's a big deal and that you kinda need to take precautions because this could affect anyone in the path and power outages in a hurricane that gives a great sense of what's happening what what is been knocked out the power outage number goes up then eventually peaks in the goes down so you know that things are getting back to normal. The statistics that tend to come out with the up pandemic are different because the number of deaths doesn't really tell you a whole lot about how that affects the community at large. You need to know the difference between the number of deaths of people who are children. Working age adults, seniors, people who are perfectly healthy before they get covered 19 versus people who have some underlying medical condition you'd want to know that you also will want to know a little bit more detail so that you could take the proper precautions also number of cases doesn't tell you a whole lot because it that you does it give you the percentage of the people of the total population of the cases plus the number of cases is never going to go down, not like the power outages.

It's always good to go up and we really need to know okay among that larger number of how many people actually have it right now and what's the danger we have had these have pretty much held daily news conferences from Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen is the Sec. of Health and Human Services, and they provide the update and they've given us some data and the Health and Human Services agency's website also has the basic data that you've talked about, but more and more. We have seen reporters including those from Carolina journal push with questions about some of the issues you've talked about and wanting, wanting officials to drill down a little bit more deeply so we can have a better sense of the state home order that the governor put in place through the end of April. Is that justified based on all of the data, not just deaths and confirmed cases the media coverage is been pretty fascinating with these phone news conferences that we have been seeing and it makes it difficult for reporter to follow up and it makes it difficult for every reporter to get the nuance that that you can get from actually being in the room with with the official that you are questioning what you make of how the. The coverage has gone yet certainly new situation we understand why government would do that to keep people from being all clustered together in the same room effect after some of those briefing started, you started to see the public officials themselves realize that we should all be standing cluster podium until it is six report so they started distancing. But you're right that this really does limit the ability of an individual reported to drill down.

If the answer to his or her question isn't the one that they were really looking for or didn't get into much detail and it does limit the ability of particular news outlets to get a question asked if the government has the opportunity to control who's getting and it is getting out. We notice that the for Carolina journal, a daily tried to get into these briefings and had a hard time. Eventually a Lindsay Marcello associate editor was able to get in with the question but I was after several days of no CJ reporter being able to ask a question, even though they were in the queue every day juxtapose that with what's happening at the federal level and the White House.

Now the White House is been holding these daily briefings as well. They have had reporters actually in the room but social distance at least 6 feet apart the president or vice president. The medical professionals from the NIH and CDC have been there. They stand 6 feet apart so it's different, and in the big difference I think it gets to that back and forth between reporters and the president of whom over whomever the question has gone to seems to me that's one way that that the public gets more information. The back-and-forth get that's certainly true because let's face it politicians often have their stock standard answer so you get a question you're able to get your stock standard answer out there, but sometimes it doesn't actually really answer the question so the reporter can go back to gather.

It's not really what I was asking or doesn't quite get to the point I was trying to get you to make and so and sometimes it's just that the that the person up there didn't quite understand the question or what thought it was something else. And so the chance to ask for clarification can help get that more information out there, but do it certainly is a difference when you have reporters in the room then when they're on the phone and be given an opportunity. Every once in a while just to chime in. I've also notice the difference in the length of these news conferences between Gov. Cooper and Pres. Tromp governor Cooper essentially limiting those sad news conferences to say 30 or 40 minute minutes the president on occasion has gone on for an hour and 1/2 to 2 hours and he has been criticized royally by a lot of folks saying that he is started to turn them into more political statements versus an update on the pandemic that is any dental water for you. Well you know I it's probably log to go for a couple of hours but basically as long as reporters are asking questions is orders if they had a concern that this was turning into some sort of campaign event. They could only think it's a thank you, Mr. Pres., walk out as long as they're still continuing to ask questions and ease Q2 and continuing to answer them.

I don't know how you call this a campaign about it's the reporters were controlling this and I've always thought it fascinating that damn the criticism of the president.

In this regard that he talks too much, or that he tweets too much and from a journalist perspective. I mean, that's cold because it's a primary source who is talking directly to you.

And so it seems to be the more access the better. At least that's what I was taught in in journalism school many moons ago but dumb that you wanted to have that access to a primary source and that you have some reporters today who are openly advocating that the president should not be speaking as much, yeah.

And I think part of that is because people see that when Pres. Tromp speaks to people and is unfiltered and it does not go through the media lens.

People like what they hear and for a lot reporters they're not too thrilled about that is the state of journalism that we will leave that issue to another edition.

Carolina journal radio Mitch okay I thank you very much. Thanks.that's all the time we have for the program this week. I'm Donna Martinez, on behalf of Mitch and me in the entire Carolina journal radio team help you join us again next week for another edition. Have a good week everybody Carolina journal radio is a program of the John one. To learn more about the John Locke foundation donations that support programs like Carolina journal radio send email to development John Locke done or call 1866 GLS info 1-866-553-4636 Carolina journal radio is the John Locke foundation Carolina's remark and maintaining an Carolina broadcasting system, Inc. all opinions expressed on this program are solely those did not merely reflect the organization. For more information about the show or other programs and services of the foundation. John Locke toll-free at 866 JL and would like to thank our wonderful radio affiliates across Carolina and our sponsors. All of us that Carolina journal radio. Thank you for listening. Please join us again next week

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