April 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

The Journal had a whopping six corrections listed on Page 2 yesterday, ranging from the truly cringeworthy: “A politics notebook item published in Saturday’s paper incorrectly described former Sen. Pete Domenici as D-N.M. He is a Republican; it should have said R-N.M.” to the mundane: “In Monday’s Health section, an incorrect time was given for an Ambercare seminar on a living will plan called Five Wishes.”

Six corrections is an awful lot, it’s true. Somewhere at 7777 Jefferson NE, department heads are likely getting chewed out at a staff meeting.

But what interests me is what still hasn’t appeared in the Journal’s designated correction spot on Page 2.

It‘s now been well over a month since the Journal ran “Businesses ‘Slept’ in Last Election,” a story that contained a serious error of fact about the Better Choices New Mexico coalition, a group of advocacy, faith and service organizations that formed in the fall of 2009 in advance of the 2010 Legislative session to raise awareness about alternative ways to raise revenue and avoid making cuts to vital state jobs and services.

In the story, Association of Commerce and Industry president Beverlee McClure was paraphrased as saying Better Choices helped several progressive candidates oust more conservative incumbent legislators in the 2008 elections.

Her assertion, which was completely untrue – Better Choices did not exist in 2008 and engaging in that activity would have violated its tax status – was allowed to stand unchallenged and uncorrected in the March 11 news story. We wrote about it at the time.

More than a week later, the Journal ran a guest opinion piece from a coalition member who pointed out the error (Read “ACI Head Misrepresented Group’s Relation to Politics.”) But the Journal never ran a formal correction on Page 2. We wrote about it again.

Why is posting corrections so important for the state’s “paper of record?” Here’s one reason – in the Journal’s paid archive, corrections are attached to stories that have been corrected, creating an important and accurate record for those who go back and look up stories for research or history.

But there is no such record on the Better Choices story. Apparently there never will be.

The Journal knows McClure’s statement is factually inaccurate – they ran a guest opinion piece stating so.

But still no correction.

I wonder what it will take?

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