Every newspaper and news website makes mistakes, but there is a difference between a mistake and an attempt to rewrite history.
The News & Record, on its news and in particular on its editorial pages, is attempting to rewrite history.
The recent Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals decision that Guilford County is responsible for paying the estimated $600,000 in legal fees to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in its lawsuit against the Guilford County Board of Elections, gave the N&R all the excuse it needed to launch yet another attack against former state Sen. Trudy Wade.
In both a news article and in an editorial, the N&R called the bill to draw new Greensboro City Council districts “Wade’s bill.” That is wrong. The bill that became law was House Bill 263.
Senators do not write or sponsor House Bills. Wade’s bill was Senate Bill 36, which passed the Senate but failed to pass the House, so it never became law, and no lawsuit was filed over Wade’s bill.
Wade did support the redistricting and worked hard to get Senate Bill 36 passed. When that effort failed she supported House Bill 263, as did the majority of legislators in both the House and the Senate.
The fact that the N&R wants to rewrite history so that Wade’s bill passed also explains another mistake that is in both the news article and the editorial about the lawsuit. Both state that the bill divided Greensboro into seven districts, which is wrong. House Bill 263, which was written by a conference committee made up of members of both the House and the Senate, divides the city into eight districts. It was House Bill 263 with eight City Council districts that was challenged by a lawsuit filed by the City of Greensboro and eight citizens represented by the Southern Coalition.
But the N&R is so committed to the bill being Wade’s bill that it even published a map of Greensboro divided into seven districts – a map of a district plan for a bill that never passed and has nothing to do with the lawsuit.
The editorial in the N&R suggested that the $600,000 bill should be paid by Wade, as if Wade not only wrote the bill but some how all by herself had the bill become a law.
The reason the bill passed the House and Senate was because the leadership of both the House and Senate supported House 263 and pushed it through. Wade voted for the House Bill 263, as did the majorities in both the House and the Senate. Rep. John Faircloth voted for the bill. Even Rep. Jon Hardister voted for House Bill 263 once. He also voted against it once, which he said he did for procedural reasons and not because he opposed the bill.
The N&R went all out against redistricting Greensboro, publishing over 200 articles and editorials against it. The newspaper, which claims to be unbiased, went so far as to sell T-shirts opposing the bill.
In the end, the N&R won that political battle in court because the Southern Coalition won its lawsuit overturning the bill, so perhaps the N&R should be the one that pays the $600,000 legal bill.