Have McCrory and the Observer broken up?

Gov. Pat McCrory thinks Observer editorial writers are “elitist.”
Gov. Pat McCrory thinks Observer editorial writers are “elitist.” cseward@newsobserver.com

We hadn’t given much thought to how our “relationship” to Gov. Pat McCrory has changed, but apparently others have.

Last month, Democratic consultant-turned-blogger Thomas Mills wrote a post titled “An ugly breakup.” He marveled at the governor’s recent letter to the editor in which McCrory called the editorial board “elitist” and said the Observer had “lost its way.” Mills explored the idea that our relationship with the governor “has been souring for a long time.”

Now Time Warner Cable News 14 is picking up on the theme. They invited me to join anchor Tim Boyum on a “Reporter’s Roundtable” segment today to talk about it. Boyum asked me about recent editorials and McCrory’s responses and suggested that something has changed in our relationship. You can watch the segment on Channel 14 in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington tonight around 7:20.

But nothing has really changed in the relationship. He does his job, we do ours.

The truth is that Observer editorial writers don’t give much thought to any relationship with McCrory one way or the other. We just give our opinion on a case-by-case basis about his performance and the public policies that confront him. We endorsed him for mayor seven times and for governor both times he ran (before we “lost our way”?), believing he had done a good job as mayor. Since he has become governor, though, we have disagreed with him on policy more often than not, and we’ve been alarmed a few times about his lack of transparency. And since it is our job, we said so. We have also backed him at times, like when we said he is right that it is the legislature, not the governor, who can take the Confederate flag off N.C. license plates.

We have no problem with our relationship with the governor: He takes public policy stands, or doesn’t, and we say what we believe. Just as it should be. -- Taylor Batten