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Some members of Governor Easley’s email study commission are privately critical of the news media – like the N&O – for both covering the story and being part of the story.

The commission members believe the dual role has led to slanted coverage. They think media representatives have been unreasonable and inconsistent in their appearances before the panel.

Here is the members’ viewpoint, as I understand it:

The media has taken the position that ALL email messages should be saved and kept on file for public inspection. State employees should not and cannot be trusted with discretion to delete messages.

Well, the commission members ask, what about spam? Oh, says the media, you can delete the spam.

Then, the commissioners ask, what about personal email? Oh, says the media, you can delete that, too.

Aha, the commission members say. You are conceding that state employees should have some discretion. So the real question is how much discretion and on what schedule.

I don’t know whether the criticism is fair. But the commission members raise an interesting point: Can you trust the media when the media is reporting on itself?

That’s always a bone of contention in newsrooms. You’ve seen little coverage lately, for example, on buyouts and possible layoffs at the N&O and Charlotte Observer.

And many readers don’t understand why the N&O is suing to get Eve Carson’s autopsy report.

Sometimes the cobbler’s children don’t have shoes.

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