What's happening with NCAA boycotting North Carolina? Don't bother reading Raleigh paper

The NCAA has decided to boycott North Carolina over its bathroom law.

Rather than pick on the Charlotte Observer again, I decided to see how the Raleigh News & Observer — the newspaper in the state capital — covered the story.

This is the front page of today's News & Observer:

As you can see, the NCAA decision is the lead story. 

My journalistic questions: Will this story offer an evenhanded reporting of facts? Will it treat both supporters and opponents of North Carolina's law fairly? Will readers be able to tell where the newspaper stands on the law? 

Let's start with the lede and see if it gives us any indication:

Since the North Carolina legislature last March passed House Bill 2, a controversial law restricting transgender bathroom access and limiting the civil rights and bathroom usage of the LGBT community, the state has lost the NBA All-Star Game, Bruce Springsteen and other concerts and conventions and millions of dollars in revenue.
Now North Carolina is losing the NCAA tournament. The NCAA announced on Monday that the seven championships scheduled in the state during this academic year, including NCAA men’s basketball tournament games in Greensboro, would be relocated because of House Bill 2, better known as HB2.

OK, after those opening paragraphs, is there any doubt where the News & Observer stands? Does the newspaper not make clear — by the way it describes what the law does — that it sides with those who oppose the law? I mean, is there any other way to read phrasing such as "restricting transgender bathroom access" and "limiting the civil rights and bathroom usage of the LGBT community?"

Is there no other side of the story — no other way to view the law? Apparently not, at least if your only source is the News & Observer. Yes, the paper eventually explains that HB2 "dictates that on state property transgender people use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate." But the story does not quote anyone defending that stance or explaining it.

The newspaper does allow for a brief statement from the North Carolina Republican Party criticizing the NCAA's move, but the story mainly focuses on what the News & Observer presents as the negative ramifications of HBS.

Is there any chance that anyone reading this story could finish the piece and wonder, "Gee, I'm curious whether the News & Observer agrees with the supporters or the opponents?" Nope. Both the tone and presentation make the answer crystal clear

And if the story itself doesn't do that, the reporter whose byline appears with the article is totally open on his Twitter page about his disdain for the law:

The reporter — making no pretension of impartiality — even praises an opinion column that criticizes "all this craziness" associated with the law:

And the reporter defends the column against a critic:

Looking for unbiased coverage? The News & Observer is not the place to turn. 

Of course, the Raleigh paper is not alone in that regard, as we've noted in previous posts about media coverage of the North Carolina law:

Your turn, GetReligion readers: Have you seen any fair, accurate coverage of the NCAA decision to boycott North Carolina? By all means, share the link in the comment section below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

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