Pickles, Politics and the Journal Hip-Hop

April 22nd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

Rick Nathanson’s Journal feature on pickles yesterday had me salivating for the crunchy, sour treat found in excellent Jewish delis. Also, I found myself in a pickle – for the newspaper’s Wednesday, April 21 issue reminded me how fascinating the Journal remains despite management’s misuse of it.

Take Dan McKay’s front-page story headlined “Union Preparing for Budget ‘War’” and sub-titled, “Employees Told to Pack Hearing”.

The story quotes Andrew Padilla, president of the AFSCME union “representing mid-level managers,” urging members and their families to “pack the Albuquerque City Council chambers” when the Council considers Mayor Berry’s proposed three percent wage cut. For, Padilla said, we’re in a “war of survival.”

That rhetoric prompts a smile; a bit heated, maybe? Then again, the Journal’s story almost made me laugh; our daily, after all, conducts an ongoing war against organized labor in editorials, Op Eds and – as best it can – its news columns.

Ergo, today’s editorial dumping on the union was no surprise. Nor was George Will’s adjoining column.

McKay’s narrative went on to contrast the union’s view that the public should make sacrifices, too, with the Mayor’s, via spokesman Chris Ramirez – “The city serves the taxpayers – not the other way around.”

Which set me to thinking. What’s my relationship (as a citizen) to the city? To the community? Chalk one up for McKay and the Journal for inspiring that.

Also on page one, UpFront columnist Thomas J. Cole reports on a victory for himself, the Journal and citizen-members of the Socorro Electric Cooperative – they defeated a board of trustees passionate about feathering its nest.

And on page three, Journal editors gave prominence to an AP Washington Bureau story –a fair account! – headlined, “Better Oversight of Banks” on how the old SEC failed to properly oversee Lehman Brothers, including testimony from a Lehman whistleblower fired for his efforts.


Atop the Op Ed page, Trever poked fun at Goldman Sachs. The libertarian cartoonist must feel totally comfortable these days, given the Journal’s embrace of his perspective and relative neglect of Pete Domenici/ Heather Wilson corporatism. Wilson’s April 9 Op Ed seemed, in fact, an echo from the past.

To grasp where the Journal’s coming from these days, go to Cato. org, find the Cato Policy Report (March-April) and read “Big Business, Big Government and Libertarian Populism”.

That piece, reminiscent of an old leftist manifesto, will give you context for what my colleagues have been documenting here at ABQJournalwatch.com – the daily’s growing dependence on copy from the Rio Grande Foundation and assorted other true believers in laissez-faire.

This may also explain publication April 15 of leftist Amy Goodman’s piece lambasting a corporation, Massey Energy. (Goodman’s columns are not posted on the Journal’s website.)

My kicks on Rt. 66 these days come from watching the Journal hip-hop back and forth between Domenician corporate socialism and the new (rhetorically) anti-corporate libertarians in the GOP – even as it fawns (nervously, I suspect) over the Tea Party crowd.

Using your newspaper to advance the GOP isn’t easy these days; keeping faith with corporate America, that is, while racing rightward to keep up with the rank-and-file as they race far, far out.

Back at the April 21 newspaper, it was good to see a “Political Notebook”; after all, the race for Governor is warming up. Perhaps the Journal will do more coverage, including the dueling ads. My favorite, thus far, is a TV spot in which Allen Weh, State Republican chairman for five years, portrays himself as a non-politician. Huh?

Must be time to quit exploring the pickle I’m in and, instead, get some pickles in me. Thanks, Rick Nathanson.

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