I was a newspaper reporter and editor for almost 30 years (10 at The News & Observer). I’ve seen the media’s shortcomings, and one of the most lamentable was evident in the Nov. 27 story about Superior Court Judge Abe Jones.
The story left the impression that an N.C. Bar Association survey that gave Jones low marks was valid, and that Jones’ criticism of the survey was just typical defensiveness.
This was a survey with self-selected respondents, many of whom knew one another. That presented plenty of opportunity for mischief. How hard would it have been for one side to quietly spread the word to rate Jones’ opponent highly and to rate Jones poorly? Forgive me for being skeptical.
Abe is a friend of mine. But you don’t have to know Abe to suspect that the survey was not quite kosher. His opponent, with not a blessed day on the bench compared to Abe’s 17 years, was rated higher in legal ability by a wide margin. Seriously?
I think Abe’s biggest problem was thinking that voters would judge him by his years of dedicated service and pay little attention to a highly questionable survey and that’s precisely because he is a man of integrity, used to playing fairly and expecting the same from others.
Assistant professor, journalism and mass communications
Saint Augustine’s University