Nets Paint Amendment to North Carolina Law as Attempt to ‘Diffuse Widespread Outrage’

Keeping up the drumbeat against North Carolina’s religious freedom ;aw on Wednesday, the three network morning shows seized on Republican Governor Pat McCrory amending the legislation and used the development to further hammer the state.

In a news brief for NBC’s Today, fill-in co-host Willie Geist proclaimed: “We’ve got some new developments this morning surrounding North Carolina's controversial bathroom bill. Governor Pat McCrory signed an executive order Tuesday in an attempt to diffuse widespread outrage over the new law.”

He explained the specifics of the change:

Governor McCrory reinforced a provision that requires transgender people to use the bathroom that aligns with their identification. But the order would expand the state's equal employment policy to include both sexual orientation and gender. Governor McCrory also says he will ask lawmakers to file legislation that allows people to sue over discrimination, which had previously been wiped out by that law.

CBS This Morning devoted a full, nearly-three-minute segment to the news, with co-host Charlie Rose declaring that the move “failed to silence opponents” since the executive order “left the most controversial part of the bill intact.” Rose added: “The growing economic backlash could cost the state tens of millions of dollars.”

In the report that followed, correspondent David Begnaud parroted the same liberal complaints: “The Governor's critics say it's a softening but it’s not a reversal. As you said, the most controversial part of the law remains. And that is the part restricting and quite frankly policing which restroom transgender people can use.”

Begaud eagerly told viewers they were “going to hear from a transgender woman who bared her soul to the Governor recently.” Soundbites played of Candace Cox ranting:

I now find that fighting my own state and my own legislation in my own state is the hardest part about my transition....He has forced me to go through the pain and the shame of coming out all over again and having to deal with the potential backlash and the fear that I have for myself and that my family has for me.

Begnaud touted: “But now one legislator is having a change of heart. Democratic state representative Billy Richardson originally voted for the bill, now he wants it repealed.” Richardson scolded: “The way we went about this bill and the way we enacted this bill and the way we did it was not very loving. And it was not very tolerant and it was not very intelligent.”

Like Today, ABC’s Good Morning America also offered a news brief on the issue, with anchor Amy Robach stating: “Well, the governor of North Carolina is amending a controversial law that limits anti-discrimination protection for gay and transgender people. His new executive order will change the state's equal opportunity employment policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.” The headline on screen labeled it an “Anti-Gay Law.”

Here is a full transcript of Begnaud’s April 13 segment:

7:06 AM ET

CHARLIE ROSE: The North Carolina governor’s decision to change part of a law limiting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people failed to silence opponents. Protesters criticized Pat McCrory's executive order yesterday that left the most controversial part of the bill intact. The growing economic backlash could cost the state tens of millions of dollars. David Begnaud is in Raleigh with the financial and personal toll. David, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Carolina LGBT Clash; NC Gov. Backpedals But Controversy Still Simmers]  

DAVID BEGNAUD: Charlie, good morning. The Governor's critics say it's a softening but it’s not a reversal. As you said, the most controversial part of the law remains. And that is the part restricting and quite frankly policing which restroom transgender people can use. And the Governor's hits keep coming, Deutsche Bank said yesterday they’re scrapping plans to bring 250 jobs to the state. And this morning, you’re going to her from a transgender woman who bared her soul to the Governor recently, when she told him this:  

CANDACE COX: I now find that fighting my own state and my own legislation in my own state is the hardest part about my transition.

BEGNAUD: Candace Cox was born a man, but transitioned nearly 15 years ago. During her meeting with Governor McCrory, Candace says she told how this law affects her personally.

COX: He has forced me to go through the pain and the shame of coming out all over again and having to deal with the potential backlash and the fear that I have for myself and that my family has for me.

BEGNAUD: On Tuesday, trying to defuse the criticism, Governor McCrory issued an executive order expanding the state’s equal employment policy to include to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Governor will also ask lawmakers to pass legislation later this month restoring the right to sue in state court over discrimination.

MCCRORY: I have listened to the people of North Carolina the people of North Carolina are entitled to both privacy and equality.

BEGNAUD: Protesters on both sides of the issue are energized and rallying. But one legislator is having a change of heart. Democratic state representative Billy Richardson originally voted for the bill, now he wants it repealed.

BILLY RICHARDSON: The way we went about this bill and the way we enacted this bill and the way we did it was not very loving. And it was not very tolerant and it was not very intelligent.

MCCRORY: A lot of businesses have said they’re pulling out of the state. Some musicians have said they’re not going to play here, but Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers band says he will go ahead with a concert tonight in the city of Greensboro. But he released this statement, saying he stands “in solidarity with the LGBT community,” urging the Governor to “listen to the people and reverse this wrong.”  

Norah, within the last half hour, we got a release from the Governor's office saying that he will make a special announcement at 9:00 a.m. this morning.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Alright, we will be watching. David, thank you so much.

NB Daily Culture/Society Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Protesters Homosexuality Transgender ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Willie Geist Charlie Rose Amy Robach

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