White Noise: News and happenings from inside the media bubble

by Brian Clarey and Jordan Green

All up in MySpace

Last week social networking website shared information with the NC Attorney General’s office regarding 245 known sex offenders who were registered to the site. This came on the heels of a legislation passed by the state Senate to make it a felony for sex offenders to use site like This is all well and good, as MySpace is pretty much a toolbox for sexual predators who like the young stuff. But it also goes to show just how little these codgers in state government understand how the internet works. Now, in order to lure unsuspecting jailbait into their vans via MySpace, sex offenders will have to go to the trouble of creating a fake name. We suggest Sweaty McRaperson.

– BC

Reality-checker needed

Lou Dobbs, whose brand of economic populism takes aim at both corporate globalization and illegal immigration, has long caused unease among his fellow journalists with his practice of casually mixing fact and opinion. The CNN anchor does not exactly fit the stereotype of the network once derided as the “Clinton News Network.” In the current fractured media landscape, his jeremiads are often recycled passionately in the right-wing blogosphere. New York Times business writer David Leonhardt suggests that Dobbs’ real problem may be a tendency to mix fiction and opinion. One of Dobbs’ correspondents reported there had been 7,000 cases of leprosy (spread by immigrants, it was suggested) in the United States in the past three years. It turns out there have been 7,000 diagnosed cases of leprosy over the past 30 years. Leonhardt also takes Dobbs to task for reporting that one-third of the inmates in the federal prison system are illegal aliens. Non-citizens actually make up 6 percent of federal prisoners, compared with 7 percent of the overall population. Leonhardt doesn’t hold back his opinion of Dobbs. “I have been somewhat taken aback about how shameless he has been during the whole dispute,” he wrote on May 30. “Mr. Dobbs has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

– JG

Trolls beware

Fax-loving District 1 Greensboro city council member T. Dianne Bellamy-Small has started a blog,, following the path laid by other elected officials like Sandy Carmany ( who use the format to interact with constituents and further transparency. Bellamy-Small, you might remember, is currently undergoing a recall process after accusations of leaking confidential information, misappropriating bus passes, intimidating a Greensboro police officer at a traffic stop and generally rankling other council members. She’s using the blog to answer her critics, but also she’s posting pictures of community events, commuting personal philosophies. It’s pretty good. But we can’t wait to see how Bellamy-Small, not one to mince words, deals with it when the trolls start showing up.

– BC

The week in transparency

Tom Boney Jr., publisher of the Alamance News in Burlington, was arrested last week for refusing to leave a monthly meeting of the Burlington Airport Authority. At the core of the contention is an economic development deal for the airport and funding and loan requests totaling $11 million, unanimously approved by the Burlington City Council. But when the airport authority convened on Tuesday and went into closed session, Boney stood firm. He was taken into custody by Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson and charged with a misdemeanor.

– BC