Friday, September 18, 2009

Not So Fast There McClatchy

The McClatchy Company is the dominant newspaper group in the Carolinas. Among the papers they own are the one in the biggest metro area, The Charlotte Observer, and the two state capitals, The Raleigh News & Observer and The State in Columbia, SC. You would think that in South Carolina, a state that has just one Democrat holding a statewide office (he won by 500 votes), the capital city news outlet would at least be moderate. You would be wrong. The State is just another unreadable lib rag.

When the Joe Wilson story didn't go exactly the way The State hoped-- most people thought Joe was a hero not someone who should be run out of Congress-- they tried another tactic. While MoDowd and Jimmy Carter were hollerin' about race The State promoted on their "news" pages the speculation that Joe Wilson's calling out of President Obama for blatant fibbing would lead to tourism declines. You have to understand, South Carolina has a large tourism industry. It's not Florida large, but given the size of the state it's pretty important-- especially on the coast. So when a legacy media outlet says that something will hurt tourism they want to scare people.

Well, that didn't work out for the McClatchy gang either. Probably because the story itself was pretty much fact-free. They did find some underling in the state tourism office who said that they had received 147 e-mails from people who were never coming to SC because of Wilson's famous two words. Well, most of us figured that 100 of those were from the SEIU, 40 were from ACORN, and 7 were from the senators who voted to keep giving ACORN taxpayer dough. In other words, we yawned.

But today we have real news about South Carolina tourism. The Carnival Cruise Lines have announced that they will begin more than 70 cruises/ year from the port of Charleston next spring. It's hard to find much about this on The State's site this AM, but the Charleston Post & Courier has it front and center.

-- The 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy will embark from the end of Market Street for five-, six- and seven-day voyages to the Bahamas and Key West, Fla., beginning in May. As many as 70 calls per year will more than double the current number of cruises and, by some estimates, inject millions of dollars in direct local economic impact with each of them.
Top port and political leaders excitedly shared the news Thursday from a Waterfront Park pier while curious tourists observed from the nearby oversize swings. Onlookers gazed into Charleston Harbor and over at the freshly painted cruise terminal being prepared for a major overhaul.

A city-organized task force in 2004 found that a ship stopping in Charleston spends $1.7 million in supplies from local vendors and State Ports Authority fees, while a ship originating in Charleston spends $2.5 million.