Monday, November 19, 2012


Last summer I wrote a series of posts about Joe Olivo, a business owner from New Jersey who shows up in an unusually large number of news stories, usually denouncing health care reform, proposals to increase the minimum wage, or something else he perceives as a threat to his printing company. Olivo, as it turns out, is affiliated with the National Federation of Independent Business, and that seems to be the reason he shows up in the press as often as he does.

Well, today the business section of The New York Times has a story titled "Investors Rush to Beat Threat of Higher Taxes." The last person quoted in the story is a gentleman named Dyke Messinger, who worries about the potential for tax increases (or even a failure to avoid the "fiscal cliff") in the coming months:
Some business owners say they are holding off on hiring plans because they expect tax rates to rise. Dyke Messinger, chief executive of Power Curbers in Salisbury, N.C., said he would like to fill four slots at his construction equipment company but would only hire three people because he anticipated that his tax bill would rise by $100,000.

"It's not a huge amount of money," Mr. Messinger said. "But it's enough money that you don't want to make a misstep."
It turns out that Mr. Messinger has a lot to say about a lot of newsworthy subjects. Here he is in 2005 explaining how the cheap dollar helps his company get overseas business. Here he is in 2007 testifying before the House about government regulations. Here he is in 2008 heading off to the Bush White House to tell President Bush that America needs new energy policies to reduce the price of gas. (His solution: more offshore drilling and nuclear! Also, conservation.) Here he is in 2010 again explaining how the cheap dollar helps his copmpany get overseas business. Here he is in November 2010 publishing an op-ed in The Washington Times called "Tax Hikes Aimed at the Rich Hit Everyone." Here he is discussing business conditions after a meeting with President Obama in 2011.

Messinger isn't as hard-line as Joe Olivo. In this 2010 NPR story, he actually acknowledges that stimulus spending is helping his business. In this 2012 story, he's not as willing to toe the GOP's "You didn't build that" line as he could be:
By "you didn’t build that," Obama meant infrastructure, not the actual businesses themselves, his campaign said.

"It's almost much ado about nothing," said Dyke Messinger, president of PowerCurbers in Salisbury. "They're both right."

PowerCurbers could not exist without infrastructure provided by the government, Messinger said. Yet, the government had nothing to do with constructing the business itself, he said.
But why this guy? Why are we constantly hearing what he has to say? Well, he's an executive committee member of the National Association of Manufacturers. He's been a NAM board member since 2003.

But that affiliation is rarely mentioned in news stories that quote him. He's generally ID'd as just a humble small businessman.

Do reporters not know about his ties to a powerful lobbying group when they quote him again and again? Or do they just not care?


Victor said...

I don't belong to the "don't care" camp.
I'm in the "too lazy," camp.

Researching and investigating your sources takes work. And why do any, when everyone's got the same names they can use for multiple stories?
"Hey, Jane, who'd you use for that piece last year about __________________? Got it. Thanks!"

"Don't care," presumes they actually did some work to find out something in the first place.

Jonny G said...

Assuming that even IS the guy's real name!! "Dyke Messinger"-- I'm sure.

Lex Alexander said...

This is North Carolina. It could be either, but I'm betting on "don't know." The amount of institutional memory kicked to the curb in the news biz here in the past decade could've put the Five Families away and had skillz left over to find Jimmy Hoffa.