HB2 Fallout: $42K Taxpayers Money Produces $Millions in Bad PR

The news articles and media commentary sampled here are part of the  ongoing international fallout from the NC Legislature’s legislative fiasco of December 21. That was when, after announcing a deal with the Charlotte City Council to repeal the notorious Bathroom Bill, the GOP-dominated chamber double-crossed Charlotte and let the law stand.

On Bloomberg, a premier international business news network, the head of Bank of America spread the message worldwide.

I won’t go over the blow-by-blow of that mess again (details are here if you want them).  Except to note that several times, NC senators who supported HB2 repeal noted that the one-day special session cost the state’s taxpayers $42,000, money spent to achieve nothing. 

Well, the senators were not fully correct abut that last part. Yes, the session produced nothing in legislative terms.

The Wall Street Journal has a million-plus readers every day.

But as an investment in public relations for the state, it was a bonanza, a real goldmine. Sure, we’re talking negative PR, but hey: this  is the year when such notions have been upended, right?

The Wall Street Journal, another business bible that is hardly a liberal rag, was right there too.  I  looked up its ad rates: for a half page, it would be $157000, not counting the color.

The New York Times published about it more than once.

And then go down the list: The Washington Post and the New York Times  gave major space to the story. So did the Chicago Tribune, and even the Los Angeles Times.

It also had legs outside the country: The BBC,  probably the world’s primo broadcast news source, had it, as did CNN. So did the Globe & Mail in Toronto. Agence France Presse sent out a sizable piece, which showed up in French-language outlets from from Montreal to Africa. 

Vive le France?

 I don’t have time to look up all the ad rates; but I think it’s a safe guess that the exposure from the special session was easily worth several million. That’s a lot of leverage to get out of a measly $42,000 “investment.” (And keep in mind that this doesn’t include any TV coverage; but video cameras were all over the place at the special session.)

And yes, even Fox News  reported on it.  They called HB2 “Controversial,” in an uncharacteristic burst of understatement. 

Here are a few more clips. The Los Angeles Times, which ran two big articles, takes the “Ya Think?” award for the most obvious headline. (NC politics “deeply divided”? Wow – hard-hitting stuff, Dudes) . . .

And one of the most memorable lines for me came from a Pennsylvania paper, which asked simply, “Now What?”

USA Today, another readership behemoth flipped it: “What Happens Now?”

What now? Looks like 2017 will start out with more of the same [bleep] that the state was showered with for most of this passing, can’t-be-over-with-soon-enough twelve months . . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens now?? Yeah — what happens now??

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