Edwards rails against Buncombe news coverage

FAKE NEWS: Sen. Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville accused the Asheville Citizen-Times of being unwilling to publish positive state news at a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on July 14. Photo by Virginia Daffron
FAKE NEWS: Sen. Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville accused the Asheville Citizen-Times of being unwilling to publish positive state news at a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on July 14. Photo by Virginia Daffron

While complaints from local politicians about perceived bias in media coverage aren’t unprecedented, Hendersonville Sen. Chuck Edwards kicked it up a notch in remarks to the Council of Independent Business Owners’ July 14 breakfast meeting. Brandishing a July 12 copy of the Asheville Citizen-Times displaying the headline, “Buncombe Democrats frustrated by GOP,” the Republican senator blamed the article for causing his wife to order a second drink with dinner. “She was just fuming,” he said.

The Council of Independent Business Owners met at the UNC Asheville Sherrill Center on July 14. Photo by Virginia Daffron
The Council of Independent Business Owners met at the UNC Asheville Sherrill Center on July 14. Photo by Virginia Daffron

“Had I had a chance to write this article, I would have titled it something like, ‘North Carolina is doing great and the Asheville Citizen-Times won’t print it,'” Edwards continued.

According to Edwards, in addition to composing headlines to which he objects, the Citizen-Times does not allow him to dictate what topics the newspaper covers. “I’ve sent several press releases with some great things that have essentially been ignored,” he said. In a dig at Buncombe legislators, he added, “If you spent your time in this past session trying to name spiders or legalize marijuana, then you deserve to be frustrated.”

Some of the good news that is going unreported, Edwards said, includes measures of North Carolina’s fiscal stability, including the state’s AAA bond rating and a July 11 ranking from George Washington University’s Mercatus Center as 15th among states for fiscal strength.

“This summer the N.C. Department of Commerce released record tourism numbers for 2016,” Edwards said. “We’ve seen unemployment fall from 11 percent in 2010 to 4.5 percent this May, better than cut in half. We now enjoy a savings reserve of $1.838 billion, the highest ever in North Carolina.”

Economics aren’t the only good news, the senator said. This year, “North Carolina also celebrates having its highest-ever fourth-grade reading proficiency, with 74 percent of fourth graders reading at or above grade level,” he told the crowd.

Edwards said many of those in the room had asked him to advance legislation that requires Asheville to implement districts for seats on its City Council. The bill the senator introduced became law on June 29; it requires the city to draw six districts by Nov. 1.

Audience member Sheila Surrett asked Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer whether the city still plans to hold a referendum on whether to adopt district elections on Nov. 7. Manheimer replied that it does.

Edwards concluded, saying, “I will tell you that the citizens of Asheville need to get out and find candidates and fund candidates and get folks to the polls — because if we have participation as low as 6 percent in the future, as we have had in the past, districts are not going to help us at all.”

Rep. Brian Turner also addressed the gathering, which filled the meeting room at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center. The Buncombe Democrat is working to increase the number of school counselors, which he described as inadequate to meet the needs of large numbers of North Carolina students affected by trauma. Dealing with the state and local opioid addiction crisis, he said, is an important priority. Praising Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan‘s efforts to get the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan “in the hands of those who need it,” Turner also said that he will be working to restore $2 million cut from the state budget for the Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Black Mountain.

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer answered questions about budget shortfalls on the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project. Photo by Virginia Daffron
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer answered questions about budget shortfalls on the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Manheimer gave a brief overview of changes to the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project approved by Asheville City Council on June 27. When bids for the project came in significantly higher than anticipated, Manheimer said, city staff worked quickly to preserve $14.6 million in federal highway grants pledged to the project. By eliminating or modifying several elements, the mayor explained, the project can move forward.

Items left on the cutting room floor include protected bike lanes along Lyman Street, from Amboy Road to a new roundabout in the former location of 12 Bones Smokehouse; a retaining wall along Riverside Drive near the Norfolk Southern railway bridge; the planned French Broad West, Bacoate Branch and Town Forest greenways; and the Livingston Street Complete Streets improvements.

Though those elements have been reengineered or postponed, Manheimer said, the goal of the project to create a “palette for private investment” will nonetheless be fulfilled by the revised scope.

Retired attorney Sidney Bach asked how it could have happened that the city was so surprised by the final bids.

“I think the question was, ‘How come the Council didn’t know till pretty close to our meeting what the bids came in at?'” responded Manheimer.

Though the mayor said she couldn’t speak for city staff, she theorized they didn’t want to present elected officials with the problem of dramatically increased costs without at the same time proposing a solution. “Because of the federal funding deadline, they were able to only have one community meeting and we were only able to have one Council meeting before having to move ahead with this, or we would risk losing $14 million,” Manheimer said.

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About Virginia Daffron
Associate Editor and News Reporter. Lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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62 thoughts on “Edwards rails against Buncombe news coverage

  1. luther blissett

    “I’ve sent several press releases with some great things that have essentially been ignored.” — MiniDaca Edwards, Viceroy for Henderson County.

    Perhaps MiniDaca should ask Tim Moffitt if he’s still in the business of putting out press releases as pretend newspapers? Or perhaps he should stop treating Asheville like a restive colonial fiefdom that needs to be governed from Raleigh and Hendersonville?

    • Lulz

      Perhaps some here should stop cowering to corporate interests at the expense of residents. And maybe realize that those making the money are contributing the least amount. If Asheville wasn’t a scam, Biltmore would be donating land and money to build up the RAD. Not sit back while others struggle to make ends meet. Or employees of Biltmore who make 10 an hour while that place rakes in millions. Seems to me those that aren’t paying are the most protected by both council and the media.

      • Lulz

        Delete that 2nd comment.

        Biltmore was pretty instrumental in getting rid of the speedway. Do they contribute at all the the upkeep of Carrier Park?

  2. “Surrett asked Manheimer whether the city still plans to hold a referendum on Nov. 7. Manheimer replied that it does.”

    How much did that crackpot survey cost? Why doesn’t she just use that?

      • bsummers

        “My question has ̶s̶t̶u̶m̶p̶e̶d̶ bored even the expert-in-all-things.”

        • Peter Robbins

          I believe he was talking about me, but you’re still right.

          • bsummers

            “I believe he was talking about me, but you’re ̶s̶t̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶ always right.”

          • Able Allen

            Okay, let’s please stay on topic and not fill the thread with common chatter.

          • Peter Robbins

            So, uh, to get back on topic, is there actually anything people didn’t care for in that Citizen-Times article? I mean other than they way they let Democrats speak, too? Looked to me as if the reporter gave Edwards paragraph after paragraph to rhapsodize about all the great achievements of the legislative session. It’s not the paper’s fault if he can’t think on his feet. Or maybe the mere shadow of bias in a raised eyebrow unnerved him and left him too angry to collect his thoughts. Not to worry. Next time they interview you, Senator, bring a hip flask .

          • bsummers

            Right – he somehow failed to mention the subtitle of that article:

            But Turner, Edwards find some positives in long session.

            That’s the new definition of bias among Republicans: Sure, you gave me space to state my side, but you also unfairly gave space to Democrats.

            Notice how they also made a point in the subtitle, that at least one Democrat said the session wasn’t all bad. But Mr. “It’s only fair if it’s only my perspective” won’t be mollified.

  3. NFB

    NC is doing great? Tell that to the rural hospitals cutting services and struggling to stay open because of the legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

    But I guess Baby Doc(ca) hasn’t gotten the approval from Papa Doc(ca) to push for that.

    • Jim Hysong

      Yes, why wouldn’t we wish to expand a thoroughly corrupt and inefficient program like Medicaid? What is called for is a complete investigation and a Medicaid Reform Plan. Medicaid is meant for only the most needy of citizens and those who are unable to afford their dire healthcare needs, but it is rift with fraud and mismanagement. Just another compelling reason why it should be removed from government hands and turned over to a free market solution. Then the people that deserve it will receive what they need, and the others won’t!

      • luther blissett

        Let’s try that with Medicare first and see how the citizens of Hendersonville like it. My guess is that they’d like it as much as having people come down from Asheville and tell them how to run their city.

        • Jim Hysong

          There are big differences in the two programs, although it would probably be a good idea to take a close look at Medicare, since it is administered by the government. Those folks on Medicare have been paying in for a long time (along with their employers or double withholdings if self-employed). Medicaid has become a growing, out of control welfare program that was initially designed to assist those who were unable to take care of themselves, but now covers illegal aliens, as well as the cheats and parasites that have learned how to game the system. The costs are crushing our hospitals and medical professionals and driving up our taxes, while a misguided government thinks it is a good thing to have more citizens dependent upon them. The graft and corruption are running wild! Those on Medicare deserve the coverage because they have paid for it (ostensibly). Medicaid is welfare and paid for by the taxpayers. Have you noticed how the Medicare coverage is being reduced more and more each year? First the coverages have been cut back, and now in addition retirees are paying more premiums via reductions in Social Security benefit payments. Paying more and receiving less is what we receive from government run programs … and even more so since Obamacare came on the scene.

          • luther blissett

            Can’t be bothered separating the abject lies from the half-truths there, but it’s a reminder that “welfare for me but not for thee” keeps Hendersonville’s population going on its Hoverounds.

        • Jim Hysong

          Luther, please point out one “abject lie or half truth” from what I wrote. I realize that what is considered a lie by the left is a subjective matter, but please enlighten me. We can add your name to the list of products from the Mushroom Farm. We have all been there, but you folks seem to prefer it … kept in the dark and fed fertilizer “liberally”. Many are realizing that is what CNN and the rest of Fake News is and are choosing to abandon the farm. BTW, just in case you had not figured it out yet, millions of people have figured out about the duplicitous reporting and non-reporting of the news as well as the corruption in Washington, and that is why Trump was elected. Well, that and Hillary was not someone that exactly instilled confidence in those who wanted to see America restored. if you prefer Socialism, Marxism, Communism, Globalism then there are plenty of other choices around the globe…or you can just move to California, Illinois or Michigan.

          • bsummers

            Well, that and Hillary was not someone that exactly instilled confidence in those who wanted to see America restored.

            And yet, she received several million more votes than the Orange One. Go figure.

          • Jim Hysong

            to bsummers, and yet she was so soundly beaten. Sorry that it is so hard for you to accept. You can thank your lucky stars that she did not win … a majority of the counties, states and people across this nation are. Granted she really took it in California, so as far as I am concerned, she can have it.

          • bsummers

            Yes, only in “fair-and-balanced” world does a 3 million vote lead equal being “soundly beaten”. I understand that the Tiny-Handed One can’t accept that more Americans preferred a woman over him, but I can’t understand anyone else not wanting to acknowledge it. He won because of the arcane Electoral College system, but he didn’t “soundly beat” anyone. So no, a “majority of the people across this nation” are not glad Trump won. Get over it. He’s a loser: the lowest job-approval numbers for a President at this point in his term, ever. Even the Tiny-Handed One sort of acknowledged it – why can’t you?

            “almost 40% is not bad”
            https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/886588838902206464

          • luther blissett

            Abject lie: Medicaid “covers… illegal aliens.” Nope.
            Half-truth: Seniors have “paid for” Medicare through their working lives. No, they get out far more than they put in, which is fine enough, but that means the people talking about “parasites” ought to hush their mouths.

            http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/412945-Social-Security-and-Medicare-Taxes-and-Benefits-over-a-Lifetime.PDF

            But you’re boring me. The GOP’s proposed Medicaid cuts would shut down most of the care homes in Henderson County. For some reason, “Freedom to be a Carcase” Meadows and MiniDaca Edwards haven’t issued a press release celebrating that.

  4. bsummers

    “Had I had a chance to write this article, I would have titled it something like, ‘North Carolina is doing great and the Asheville Citizen-Times won’t print it,’”

    I just blew milk out my nose, and I’m not even drinking milk. Chuck, you couldn’t possibly get more favorable treatment from the AC-T’s editors down in Greenville SC. This “you’re not running my press releases as news stories” act is embarrassing.

    • Jim Hysong

      Yes, you are as reliable and trustworthy as CNN. What happened to honest, objective journalism? A biased and dishonest press is the most threatening force to a free and safe nation. Leave the editorials for the Editorial Page and report the facts whether they agree with your political ideologies or not. No wonder FOX, OAN, Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio are capturing the highest viewer/listener ratings. People are fed up with the Fake News!

      • bsummers

        I’m not sure why you’re comparing my “trustworthiness” etc. to a news network? I am not one.

        And if are you seriously stating that Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, and OAN (“If Mr. Trump has interest in launching a cable news channel after the election … he could simply give us a call,” Charles Herring, president of Herring Networks Inc., which owns OANN) are honest, unbiased, objective, etc…. Well, it is to laugh.

        • Jim Hysong

          I inferred by your defense of the ACT, that you were their spokesperson. Since you seem to be an authority on what is honest, unbiased, objective, etc. I would like to know how you accept what CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. report as being honest and objective journalism. The difference with FOX, OAN, Rush, etc. is that they do not try to hide who they are or represent themselves as something that they are not. They also do not overtly lie or cover up what is actually taking place, aka the facts. They try to present the various opposing views and open up their programs to folks with opposing views to express their opinions. Not the case with the Fake News Networks. The other big difference is that FOX, etc. will admit it if they misreport something or have been mistaken in their presentation of the facts. You may not like what you hear on FOX, OAN, Rush, etc. but you can rely on them reporting things as truthfully and carefully as possible. I believe that Senator Edwards was referring to the positive accomplishments by the Republican-led State House and Senate as well as nationally by the new White House Administration and President Trump, not to his personal accomplishments. There is clear bias in the media by ignoring these positive accomplishments, because they do not serve their liberal agenda. The profession of journalism is at an all-time low ebb in this country, and the Asheville Citizen is daily documented evidence.

          • bsummers

            Yeah, again – if you really believe that FOX, Rush etc. are honestly presenting both sides, and ultimately telling you the truth, you’re a goner. I used to work with an otherwise-intelligent guy who honestly believed that WWE wrestling was real. Sad!

          • bsummers

            And besides, I was pointing out that the Asheville Citizen-Times is actually run by Gannett editors down in South Carolina, people who don’t really have to give a dang about Asheville or Chuck Edwards. If you construe that as ‘defending’ the AC-T, I don’t know what to say.

          • bsummers

            Careful Peter – Sen. Ralph Hise voted against the Brunch Bill. Maybe some bad blood there with restaurateurs like Chuck Edwards.

          • Peter Robbins

            I know it sounds harsh, but you really can’t trust the judgment of anybody who can’t make up his mind whether or not to grow a beard. Look at Tim Moffitt.

        • Jim Hysong

          Yes, Shepherd (FOX News) is an obvious leftist. Imagine that, a liberal hosting a program on FOX. Does anyone really think that if there was one tangible piece of evidence of collusion between DJT and Russia that this thing would be going ballistic? There is abundant and well documented evidence of the interaction between Hillary and the Russians. What is going on with that?

          • bsummers

            Yes, obviously he hasn’t drunk the ‘bash Democrats every chance you get’ koolaid, and that’s the definition of ‘leftist’. A news anchor who doesn’t work for the GOP.

            And sorry, but the ol’ ‘What about Hillary?’ dodge won’t distract us from the danger represented by a president in bed with the Russians.

            Wow! A ‘Click To Edit’ feature! Way to go, XPress!! Finally I have an opportunity to sit & reflect: “Do I really want to say that?”

  5. John Penley

    I suggest he get Carl Mumpower to offer the ACT $100 for every press release they cover. Everytime Mumpower offers money for something [never actually happens] the ACT covers it. Last one was $100 for someone to debate him. Problem is that absolutely nobody thinks he is someone worthy of debating. Except me, but Mumpower declined, said he would only debate someone from a group and hung up. Personally, I think the whole thing was a scam. publicity stunt to get coverage in the ACT.

    • bsummers

      What Chuck Edwards needs to do is contact the AC-T’s “Branded Content Strategist”. I’m pretty sure they must have one – I know the Greenville Gannett paper has one. (Here’s a Gannett ad for one in the NY area. Read the job description, and you’ll get an idea what they do.)
      https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/392039888/

      Any “story” can be told for a price, Chuck.

      So your wife ordered a second drink? Really? I didn’t know that your McDonald’s in Hendersonville even served beer.

      • Peter Robbins

        Kinda puts the impetus behind the Brunch Bill in perspective, though.

        • bsummers

          Yeah, what business is it of some pointy-head liberal in Raleigh to tell me I can’t have a couple of tall frosty McLagers with my McGriddle samich on Sunday McMorning?

          • Lulz

            I agree what business was it of Purdue and the Democrats to tell people they couldn’t smoke in places where one has to be 21 to enter.

          • Jim Hysong

            Clever liberal nonsensical chatter. it is clear that bsummers and Peter Robbins are the products of a mushroom farm and are very pleased about it. We are very fortunate in WNC to be represented by Senator Chuck Edwards and U. S. Representative Mark Meadows. They are honest, honorable men that are working to do what is best for NC and the nation. Is it too much to ask that our news media give a full and honest accounting of what is transpiring across our state and nation…good, bad and undetermined. It is unfortunate that liberal biased souls lack the objectivity and discernment to recognize it … most likely because they refuse to view matters through fair and clear lenses. None of us are perfect, but should at least have the decency to give credit where credit is due. Heaven knows the criticism will not be withheld! Most people are smart enough to understand when everything is one-sided from the media that something is not right.

          • Able Allen

            Let’s please take it easy on potential personal attacks about fellow commenters. I’m not sure what you mean by mushroom farm, but please be respectful.

          • bsummers

            It is unfortunate that liberal biased souls lack the objectivity and discernment to recognize it…

            Yeah sure, Jim. In ‘fair-and-balanced-world’, it’s not that we disagree, It’s that people who hold “liberal” views are simply incapable of seeing the world properly. Or as Eric Trump says, maybe we’re not even “people” in the proper definition of the word.

            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/7/eric-trump-calls-fathers-critics-not-even-people/

            (I tried to find a FOX news reference for you on this, Jim, but golly, couldn’t find one. It’s almost like they don’t really want you to know that the President’s son is such a hater.)

          • Jim Hysong

            To Abel Allen: If I offended your sensibilities, you need to know that I do not subscribe to the edicts of political correctness. What I said was not profane or vulgar, it just is a very descriptive metaphor for those who wear blinders and do not use common sense, objectivity or sound logic to evaluate what they see and hear. I realize that is a bit harsh for snowflakes and liberals to hear, but is nothing compared to the stuff that you try to force down our throats and make us conform to. In case you haven’t gotten the word, we are fed up with the political correctness movement and the left’s efforts to control what we say, think and do! So please, save your breath!

          • bsummers

            Able – ‘mushroom farm’ refers to the joke about being “kept in the dark and fed nothing but b***s***”. It’s a continuation of the general insult that people with liberal points of view aren’t smart enough or free-from-blinders enough to accept the truth as the conservative media tells it.

            Some folks on the right are overjoyed to live in a time where the President of the United States suggests it’s OK to commit violence against members of the media, at least the ones who report things they don’t want to hear. This is going to get worse before it gets better, I’m afraid.

          • Peter Robbins

            Wow. That’s what “mushroom farm” means? I guess we know now why the McMushroom Burger didn’t sell. Even so, bring it on, intrepid Culture Warrior. I don’t know how anyone else feels, but to paraphrase Donald Trump Jr., I’m lovin’ it.

  6. Helen Gordon

    Doing great. Ask the teachers? Lower wages than any other state, cutting classes. Ask anyone who works how well they are doing. HB2 effects still remain in force for labour. The only reason it is doing great is they have a slush fund of 16Million$ from visitors to use solely to promote themselves, legislated by Raleigh. The city struggles to get any improvements and eventually asks it residents to help. A portion of all visitor money should go to services that have to help them.
    I think I need another drink now.

    • Lulz

      Pay them a million each. Plenty of 10 buck an hour slaves to steal from. That line of yours is old and stale. And teachers don’t have it so hard. These people can always go dig ditches for a living yet they stay put.

    • Lulz

      The city struggles? Is that before or after they poured millions of dollars into gentrifying the RAD?

    • Deplorable Infidel

      you’re kidding about NC teachers and all their raises by republicans, which they never got whilst the ‘crackkks were in power for 150 years , right ?

  7. Peter Robbins

    I agree totally with Senator Edwards. He’s been treated most unfairly by the press. For months, all I’ve been reading about is his scheme to rip Asheville apart and carve it into rival clans. Like it’s a big deal or something. You stomp on one little town’s throat and that’s all these reporters can remember. I’m sure he did some positive things, too. Why the blackout on them? Would it kill you press types to give a guy credit once in a while for something he doesn’t have to be ashamed of?

    • Lulz

      Don’t be scared. It’s your friends wasting millions along with the incompetent people in government that is doing it. When a guy who doesn’t reside in the city sits on council and the matter is swept under the rug because of leftist corruption, it’s time to break this party up.

      • Peter Robbins

        You’re missing the point, Lulz. If the press only reports the bad things, people may start treating Baby Doca as if he hadn’t earned our respect and gratitude. That’s no way to start a new regime.

    • luther blissett

      “I’m sure he did some positive things, too.”

      He gave a speech while Papa Daca was drinking a glass of water. That takes special talent.

  8. Deplorable Infidel

    Mushroom farm! roflmao! the most clever comment thus far! touche Mr. Hysong!

    • bsummers

      “Clever”? It’s a joke that’s so old, our young moderator Able had not even heard it. But it’s been around since I was a kid – not that clever, really. But of course you love it, Fred Caudle – it’s an insult without substance.

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