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by Jordan Green

SILENCE ON STERILIZATION

There hasn’t been enough reporting on the halting debate over whether and how to compensate victims of North Carolina’s shameful forced-sterilization program that blemished the state through the early 1970s. That’s just my opinion, and it’s given with the open acknowledgement that our newsroom hasn’t pulled its weight. Mark Binker, state legislative reporter for the News & Record, says he hasn’t been inclined to write much about it because there’s not a unique Greensboro angle. That excuse doesn’t work for us, considering that Rep. Larry Womble, a Forsyth County Democrat, has been the primary champion of correcting this injustice.

The increasingly grumpy Binker says on his Capital Beat blog that he has another reason for not writing about the eugenics disgrace: Members of a governor’s task force on the matter and staff at the Department of Administration made it known that they would not be available for comment about the release of a preliminary report on Monday (available at www.sterilizationvictims.nc.com).

“That is both dumb — it’s a slow news cycle, with a little effort you could own the day by giving reporters a break from weather stories — and an embarrassing lack of responsiveness by a government and quasi-government agency.”

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