The Rio Grande Foundation's "Secret" Presence On The Journal's Op-Ed Page

March 25th, 2010 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

The Rio Grande Foundation’s unannounced reign over the Albuquerque Journal’s op-ed page continues unabated.

On Monday, the newspaper ran a guest column by Kenneth M. Brown, whom the Journal identified as a “Retired Senior Executive, National Science Foundation.”

Brown’s column, called “Template for N.M. Governor,”  sketched out in great detail what the author, an economist, says he would look for in a candidate for governor of New Mexico. In making his case, the author took a number of pot shots at the state’s current governor, Bill Richardson.

To wit:

New Mexico needs an honest governor, and I don’t mean one who merely avoids jail or denounces corruption in the abstract. I don’t need a governor who feigns surprise at its existence – “I’m shocked! Shocked! to learn of pay-to-play (sic).”

Oddly, Brown’s piece about his vision of New Mexico’s ideal next governor ends with a rousing cheer for Scott Brown, the recently victorious candidate for Senate in Massachusetts who was so rabidly championed by the Tea Party Movement.

What is a reader to make of this arguably partisan attack – one that’s not so cleverly disguised as a scholarly guest column?

Would it help to know that Brown is Director of Research for the Rio Grande Foundation, a libertarian group that has supported a number of Tea Party demonstrations in New Mexico? The Journal identification of him leaves that pertinent fact out.

We’ve written about the Journal’s propensity for Rio Grande Foundation columnists before and noted how odd it is that the paper never identifies the writers as such.

In fact, on Feb. 21, Brown himself co-authored a guest piece critical of several of President Obama’s economic initiatives with Micha Gisser, a Senior Fellow at the Rio Grande Foundation. I wrote about that column here and identified Gisser as a RGF operative, but missed Brown’s affiliation.

The Rio Grande Foundation’s extreme association with and access to the Journal’s editorial pages continues to astonish.

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • dlabq

    I noticed that the letter commending Brown in today’s paper was written by Gary Wolf, who writes the New Mexico Liberty blog. …

  • Tracy Dingmann

    Ooh, good looking out, dlabq!

  • Javier Martinez

    Tracy – great article, thanks for this. However, the same can be said of New Mexico in Focus – Jim Scarantino (who as you know works for the RG Foundation) makes the case for the RG Foundation on a weekly basis, more often than not without anyone opposing him.

  • Tracy Dingmann

    Yes, Javier…I have heard that sentiment before.

  • Gary Wolf

    Just for the record, I do not “write the New Mexico Liberty blog,” as commenter dlabq alleges. I do of course appreciate the opportunity to revel in my newfound imaginary power. But alas, in reality, my connection with that website is tangential, and boils down to having been mentioned on its pages once or twice, and posting something on their open forum.

    You should know that I attended an event sponsored by the Rio Grande Foundation. Does that make me an RGF “operative”?

    Now that I’ve left a comment on ABQ Journal Watch, I suppose that makes me an ABQ Journal Watch operative, too!

  • Tracy Dingmann

    The commenter never labeled you an RGF “operative,” Mr. Wolf. However, he or she should indeed have included the crucial word “on” between “writes” and “the New Mexico Liberty blog.”

  • Gary Wolf

    Thank you for those clarifications. I did not mean to imply that anyone had actually labeled me an RGF operative. It was rather a form of satire, extending the association=operative theme, prevalent in your analysis, to new lengths.

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