FILE – In a Feb. 6, 2019 file photo, NC Gov. Roy Cooper (D) speaks with reporters after testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on climate change, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
As I wrote yesterday, there are a number of disturbing things happening in my state where local law enforcement officials are citing Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) March 30th executive “stay at home” order in order to shut down protests and make arrests for groups of people in excess of 10 and/or who are allegedly not practicing social distancing.
Questions have also been raised about the data local and state officials are using to justify continued stay at home orders at the city/county/state levels.
A little known fact about Gov. Cooper’s stay at home order is that if a prior stay at home order was put in place at the county level that was more strict than the governor’s, the county order is the one in effect for that area. And there are some counties, like Wake County (where the state capital is located), that have especially strict orders – so much so that state Republicans including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest have started asking more questions about the Wuhan coronavirus data being used as the basis for these orders.
The responses from Cooper’s campaign and Democrats in the state legislature to these questions have been, well, downright Orwellian (bolded emphasis added):
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants to begin discussions about reopening the economy and he says the state lacks key information it needs to begin those talks. Meanwhile, Democrats have taken issue with some of Forest’s recent comments about coronavirus data being “faulty” and “biased.”
On Tuesday, Forest sent a letter to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, with a list of 10 pieces of information to tackle.
Forest issued a press release about his proposal on Monday. In the letter to Cohen, Forest wrote that state officials have done an “admirable” job of slowing the spread of the virus.
State Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, said it’s “ridiculous for Dan Forest to attack public health professionals, scientists and the media for doing their jobs.”
His colleague in the House, Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, said “we need public officials who demonstrate leadership, not ones who undermine trusted public health officials or journalists.”
State Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, said he has “no idea” what Forest was talking about on the radio show.
“And I don’t think he does, either,” Jeff Jackson said. ‘He’s just looking for an attack to get some attention, and I guess he thinks casually smearing the scientists we’re working with is a good one.”
Gov. Cooper’s campaign spokeswoman Liz Doherty even got in on the act, alleging Forest, who is the Republican gubernatorial nominee, “continues to play politics in the middle of a pandemic.”
Questioning government officials on the data they’re using to justify shelter in place orders is “attacking”, “undermining”, and “smearing” them. It’s “playing politics.” How dare questions be asked of local state Democratic leaders in the middle of a pandemic?!?! How dare criticism be leveled at certain media outlets over their slanted coverage?
These same people, I should point out, have ZERO problem with Democrats who are aggressively questioning President Trump and Doctors Fauci and Birx on their data, though. And they also have ZERO problems with criticizing Fox News for their coverage. Very odd they hold differing views on questioning and covering, depending on who it is being questioned and what media outlet it is doing the covering.
Brent Woodcox, staff attorney for NC Senate Republicans, called out Cooper and state Democrats for their “just trust us” approach to the pandemic:
This argument is essentially that @RoyCooperNC is above any scrutiny whatsoever despite the lack of transparency his administration is relying on to make decisions on behalf of 10 million North Carolinians. #NCPOL https://t.co/IDpuU4xlPd https://t.co/84iKd77qKZ
— Brent Woodcox (@BrentWoodcox) April 14, 2020
And in case anyone thinks it’s just Republicans who are having problems getting information from local and state officials on Wuhan virus stats? Think again. WSOC-TV’s Joe Bruno tweeted about problems his media colleagues are having in obtaining information from Mecklenburg County health officials on nursing home infections:
One of the biggest issues my colleagues and I are experiencing is family members saying they can't get info from nursing homes and there's not a lot we can do to help because @MeckCounty won't release this information https://t.co/FGKxZ8lvzu
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) April 16, 2020
Mecklenburg County is controlled by Democrats. Do the math.