By Arthur Alpert
Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal continued its war on health care reform in an editorial with this amazing sentence:
“The legislation continues to be unpopular, no doubt made more so by the backroom deals and sleight of hand used to get it passed and Republicans are certain to take advantage of the low approval numbers leading into November.”
I don’t mean the boilerplate rhetoric. No, I refer to the nerve of the GOP partisans who operate the Journal writing about “Republicans” as if “Republicans” were somebody else.
It would be honest to say, “we.”
But therein lies a problem for me.
Here’s why. After keeping the business solvent, the Journal’s major purpose is to promote one of our major political parties. It does so by means fair and foul. When I point that out, it’s easy for you and other readers to presume that I’m siding with the other party.
I have come to believe that thinking in “party” terms is mistaken. Neither party is autonomous. And, deep down, they share a lot. As leftists have long known (and some tea partiers recognize), both bend to corporate power.
(That’s why the Journal’s editorial partisans don’t write that Pete Domenici – patron saint of corporate welfare – could love the Democratic health reform. The pharmaceutical and hospital industries found it so comforting, they backed it. As did the AMA. And the “reform” leaves private health insurance in place to find new paths to profit.)
I know that it’s my job to aim darts and laurels at the Journal’s journalism. So like any beat reporter, I use my biases as reminders to be fair.
Of course, keeping my eye on the journalism ball permits – no, it demands – that I clobber Journal management for infecting the news with partisanship.
That’s exactly what the Journal did last week when reporting how verbal threats and violence were aimed at Democratic legislators who voted for the health reform bills.
It’s complex, this interweaving of politics and journalism -unraveling it requires very, very careful exposition.
Which exposition, I will save for a post later this week.