Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm moving. (Sort of.)

I'm packing and hauling - across the newsroom. I'm honored to be taking a position on the Observer's editorial board.

I'll continue to do columns - at least weekly - that tell our stories and talk about issues, so keep sending me your thoughts and ideas. Those columns will appear in this blog, so online readers won't notice much of a difference moving forward. In print, the columns will appear in our Opinion section instead of the Local section.

I'll also be participating in the editorial process, and I'm excited to share my perspective with editorial board members, who are among the most thoughtful people I know. Regular readers of this column know that I land center-right on many issues, especially fiscal. But not all.

As I wrote in my first metro column a year ago:

I’m 45, a husband, a dad. I’m about to become the third smartest person in my house, behind my wife who was ahead of me all along – and my 9-year-old son, who is gaining fast. I attend church each week. I like sports. I write beer reviews. I grill.

....I’ve been writing news and features and sports for almost 20 years, long enough to understand that you rarely peg folks based on first impressions, or even third impressions.

Here’s an example: If I tell you I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, which I did, some of you will get to work taping up that ideological box we like to put people in. But what if I tell you I voted for George Bush in 2000? And that I’m not entirely comfortable with the way either decided to spend my tax dollars?
Regular readers also know I welcome your thoughts and won't hesitate to discuss the topics I write about in the comments that follow. That won't change with the new gig.

I'll start on Monday. Talk with you soon.



Anonymous said...

I'll be honest with you, Pete. Nobody reads the editorial section of this fishwrap anyway. It leans so far left, it fell over and the kudzu covered it up years ago. Good luck on your new assignment.

Anonymous said...

"'ll be honest with you, Pete. Nobody reads the editorial section of this fishwrap anyway. It leans so far left, it fell over and the kudzu covered it up years ago. Good luck on your new assignment."

So are you "Nobody"? Or is this another post from a hyperbolic knee-jerk who imagines a non existatnt bias?

Freddy said...

Isn't it sad how right-wingers lable anything that advocates smart, common-sense, positions that favor individual freedom and social equality as "leaning left"? Maybe because they wake up in the morning angry - and wrong - about everything, and their day goes downhill from there.

Anonymous said...

If you wake up every morning as a negative two (-2) on a scale of 1 to 10, Liberal to Conservative, when you venture to try to be balanced, you can appear at 2 or 3 to the positive...still squarely in the liberal spectrum. That's what upsets conservatives. Like the incredible rant about the legislature taking over redistricting today. Where was the outrage about John Edwards or Jim Black or Mark Basnight or Mike Easley when they squandered our surplus in some of the most economically successful growth years in this state's history? Can we have outrage on both sides? Basnight, Easley and Black hijacked this state for years and years and ran rough shod over conservatives. I just don't remember any outrage. Good luck Peter. Thanks for keeping an open mind. Aren't you lonely at the Observer as a church-goer?

pstonge said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Anon. And no, not lonely here as a church-goer; I can think of five who go to my Presbyterian church. I'd guess there are lots of others at other churches.


Anonymous said...

I'm flabbergasted that there are people who can hold the opinion that the Observer isn't left-biased. I guess there are brainwashed fools everywhere who will believe anything the media tells them to believe.

Lynne Stevenson said...

Had me scared there for a second! Thought the layoff monster had gotten you too. Congratulations on the new gig, even though you are not technically moving away.

Jim said...

Brainwashed? That's what FOX News and AM talk radio are for. There are no equivalent of these blatant propaganda outlets on the left side of the political spectrum, sorry. Since conservatives are so used to having bad ideas spoon-fed to them via their "trusted" sources, they imagine the left goes about it the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Liberals neither need nor want propaganda. The facts and a strong moral center are all that's required to know right from wrong, and to arrive at the moral and ethically superior position on an issue. Conservatives are lacking on both counts, and I blame the ceaseless right-wing propagada machine for that. When you're fed lies day in and day out - like Obama not being an American citizen or believing Saddam had WMD's for example - you eventually start to believe them.

I believe that's the major underlying problem affecting the U.S. today. Half the populace literally has no idea what's going on, and have allowed themselves to become willing tools of the conservative elites who buy favored legislation the way an average person buys a loaf of bread. And we all suffer because of it.

Anonymous said...

Bias and common sense are a lot alike. Most folks who talk about "common sense" simply believe that everyone thinks like them. There's also the assumption we all make that we in the middle so anything right or left of us is bias.

As for you Peter, I was really worried when I started reading that you would no longer be tasting and commenting on beer. Glad to read that isn't the case!

Anonymous said...

Ahh, politics. What a breath of fresh air.

pstonge said...

Thanks, all. And yes, beer still has a cherished spot in my job description.


bigdealsam63 said...


You seem like such a nice fellow but how on earth can you possibly say that you are "center right" after voting for the most liberal president in American history?
Just for the record, how would YOU characterize the political leanings of the CO editorial board?

pstonge said...


Obama won the 2008 election because he persuaded enough center-right voters - and some further right than that - that he was the better choice among the available candidates.

As far as my characterization of editorial board members: Given that I just posted about not putting people in a box, I'm hesitant to start my tenure doing so. And really, we label others based on the "center" in which we stand.


Anonymous said...

I chuckle about the sophisticated, better than thou liberal thinker with a superior discernment, morally and analytically. To say that media is predominately conservative is such a joke. The only three outlets conservatives have for unbiased news is the WSJ, Fox and some AM commentators. I watched CSPAN today and heard liberals screaming on the floor of Congress about conservatives ripping out Pell grants, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid...anything they could do to rile poor, uneducated people into believing their assistance would be cut in August. Liberals love to spend, spend and never worry about outcomes or even whether the money gets to the right place. Just throw the money out there and sleep tight with moral authority and a huge ego. Needy people should get assistance. The problem is that a large number of nanny state folks are coasting and/or gaming the system. Once somebody has gotten something free, it is incredibly difficult to take it away from them. Especially with the Dems using class warfare ("We may not be able to get you your Social Security check").

Dr. Horrible said...

Center-right, Pete? Seriously?


pstonge said...

Doc: Yes, seriously. Read the columns and tell me what you think.


Anonymous said...

"Brainwashed? That's what FOX News and AM talk radio are for. There are no equivalent of these blatant propaganda outlets on the left side of the political spectrum, sorry."

Apparently you've never heard of Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, nor never read the Huffington Post.

The left has just as many blowhards are the right.

What we're really missing is intelligent centrist dialogue that can actually have a chance of helping this country. But that doesn't get ratings in the way that yelling and screaming from a soap box does.

Good luck, Pete.

Dr. Horrible said...

I've read the columns. That's why I asked.

I dunno. In the real world, it takes more than occasional, oh-so-gentle needling of Tim Newman and the "world class city" crowd to be center-right. Pat McCrory was center-right. Bush 43 was center-right.

But, then again, I don't live in a world where Fannie Flono is anything like mainstream, so maybe I can see where you're coming from, working in Observerland.

pstonge said...

Doc: I think you might have missed a couple. But as I said, most everyone bases their labels on the assumption that their own beliefs are somewhere close to "center." So keep reading, and tell me when you think I'm way off (or not.)



John said...

Pete - congrats on the promotion. Nice to see a more central view being given an opportunity to "opine" on the issues of the day. Still a little left of me, but I like the thought provoking columns. Looking forward to your new columns.

Cedar Posts said...

There's been a lot of bad news in the news business latley much of it from South Tryon.

The other day Ken Burger of Charleston's Post and Courier posted his exit column.

No doubt others will follow Ken out the door.

The days of extra editions and last second copy changes are gone.

But I still remember the first time I rushed into the photo lab with a roll of Kodak Tri-X.

It was the big story and I had the only photos. I remember holding my breath as the film was processed and the look of surprise on the my editor's face.

It was more than a good job look it was acceptance into the brotherhood of shooters.

I hope this change gives you some of what I felt that day so long ago.

Anonymous said...

Good luck in your new endeavor, Peter. You're one of the few writers at the Observer who can say things in a coherent manner.

Anonymous said...

congratulations. But doesn't the Observer, and every other newspaper in the US, need more reporters more than it needs more editorial writers? As a longtime subscriber, I want more news, less opinion.

Anonymous said...

Obamas dead meat in 2012. The trick to get tens of millions of red voters legalized didnt work that Bush brought in to build all those 10 mill now foreclosed homes doing jobs noone else would do.

No tens of mills of white voters this time around. Thats out. Brown Santa Obama spending 3 times what previous biggest ever spender Bush wasted means crushing defeat for the commies. Socialism def wont work in depression.

TParty winners will hear SOS whines and crys of racism bigotry blah blah blah ... to deaf ears.
TP already ordering millions of toy baby bottles for post election pass outs to the lib loser babies.

That 15 minutes coming to a quick end ... wont be long now ... hehehehe

BIG ole woodshed butt whoopin party on tap ...

Anonymous said...

You say "I land center-right on many issues, especially fiscal".

Seriously? I don't know of any center-right folks who voted for Obama. We all held our noses & voted for McCain. How anyone could vote for Obama after the Jeremiah Wright fiasco & the Bill Ayers ties I cannot possibly understand. Try thinking of it this way - what would you think of a Republican candidate for President who had attended a "church" which preached KKK, "white"-centered theology? Would you give that person a pass? Of course not. And neither would I.

I'm sure you also consider yourself open-minded & tolerant. Here's some highly recommended reading, for someone who considers himself "center right":

In fact, you could do a book review right here. How 'bout it?

pstonge said...

Anon, 2:32: We disagree. As I mentioned earlier, Obama won by convincing enough center-right voters (and some even further right) that they didn't need to hold their nose, as you say, and vote for McCain.

I know other center-right - and right - voters who did just that. Would they vote for him again? Now that's altogether different.


Anonymous said...

Peter you surprise me - strange to hear anyone in the media admit that Obama wasn't voted in because he was their first choice or the best choice. Really wish we could do away with the party labels and require each candidate to campaign specifically on their qualifications - including their voting record, experience, accomplishments, and capabilities. And then if the voting public would do their own research to make an informed decision that isn't based on emotions or what the media or some biased television personality recommends.

The nation has gone through several painful years - hopefully there are lessons learned and better decisions will prevail in the 2012 election.

Bob said...

Hi Peter,

It looks like you move to the opinon page has silenced you. Perhaps that was the idea. Batten and Flono write a column every two weeks. Nice work if you can get it. They have silenced you.

part time teacher said...

Please write something.

pstonge said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the concern, but I haven't been silenced. I've been learning some of the less visible parts of my new job and helping design a new online product that will be debuting soon. We're excited about it.

I'll also be revving up the weekly column again in the next couple of weeks.

See you soon,


Anonymous said...

Okay, you wrote this over a month ago, but have done nothing since.

The move not working out?

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the CO's condescending advice/business analysis of Bank of America's problems. Now, how about a similar treatise on McClatchy's business moves and failures the past few years?