NPR’s Voting Rights Battle: 92-Year-Old Black Woman vs. Racist Governor

Media liberals have been up in arms since the Supreme Court decision that Congress should revisit the Voting Rights Act. They’re also upset about North Carolina, which on Monday, August 12, passed sweeping new voter laws including the use of state issued ID cards in all elections starting in 2016.

On the August 13 All Things Considered on NPR, reporter Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio mostly channeled the view of unlabeled “voting rights advocates” like the NAACP, who presented a sympathetic 92-year-old woman who was allegedly being denied the right to vote by Gov. Pat McCrory: [Story continues after page break.]  

DEWITT: The State Board of Elections estimates that a half million North Carolinians don't have a valid ID. One of them is 92-year-old Rosanelle Eaton. Because she was born at home, the name on her birth certificate isn't the same as what's on her driver's license. She says she's proud to be a plaintiff on one of the lawsuits.

ROSANELLE EATON: Because it is absolutely wrong. Everything they can do to low us down and decrease us is what they are trying to do.

DEWITT: Standing by Eaton's side, Reverend William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP said at a news conference today that the law unduly restricts African-American voters like her.

REVEREND WILLIAM BARBER: It took nearly 200 years to secure and protect the right to vote from the abridgement. And in 96 seconds, this governor gave his pitiful and untruthful rationale for undermining our rights.

DeWitt didn’t include a recent speech from Eaton where she boasted “I have registered over 4,000 citizens in the state.” So how is it that she can’t manage to acquire a valid ID? She also attacked Republicans as un-Christian: “The leadership of this Republican supermajority are deaf to the cries of what Jesus called the least of his little ones.”

NPR typically couldn’t identify the NAACP as liberal, or identify these activists as Democrats.  DeWitt said “Governor Pat McCrory signed what some feel is a law that makes it harder for traditional Democrats to vote.” He could have said “Democrats feel it makes it harder for Democrats to vote.”

DeWitt misled NPR’s listeners about the heart of the bill, failing to mention that the state of North Carolina will provide all citizens with free state-issued ID cards and that the number of total early voting hours will remain the same in all future elections.

Rather than including this information, DeWitt hyped the impending lawsuits against the state of North Carolina, including Allison Riggs of the "Southern Coalition for Social Justice" who whined that:

They saw the room to move forward in passing laws that would be discriminatory towards black voters in North Carolina the same day we lost some of the protections of the Voting Rights Act. We think that's evidence of their intent.

McCrory was given two soundbites to state his intent: “I think our right to vote deserves protection. And I think photo ID, which you use to board an airplane, which you use to get almost any basic government service, including food stamps, you have to use mainly your driver's license to get that.”

DeWitt concluded his anti-voter ID piece with another sentence pretending liberal Democrats aren’t partisan or ideological: “It may be more than just advocacy groups taking North Carolina to court. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated he's considering legal action.”

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.