Deflect and Cover

December 16th, 2010 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

The Albuquerque Journal’s political strategy on the Republican-Obama tax deal has now come into focus.

Briefly, the newspaper is using its so-called news pages to promote the GOP establishment agenda – passage. And, to that end, the Journal wants to deflect attention from what the deal makes clear.

Specifically, that GOP (and Journal) mongering of fear on the deficit is a ruse cloaking the party’s top priority – making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the super-duper-rich.

Using that context, look at the Dec. 15 front-page story headlined “Tax Deal Support Stronger.” It’s the sixth consecutive Journal news report that fails to mention Republican opposition to the deal.

I repeat, not one of the previous accounts (Dec. 9, 10th, 11, 13 and 14th) contained a word on GOP dissent.

Not persuaded? Consider, now, the headlines on all these Journal wire stories, mostly from Associated Press (Washington):

(Thursday) “Obama: ‘Get this Done’”
(Friday) “Way Cleared for Passage of Tax Bill”
(Saturday) “Bill Clinton Backs Tax Compromise”
(Monday) “Obama Tax Deal Expected To Pass”
(Tuesday) “Tax Bill Clears Hurdle”
(Wednesday) “Tax Bill Support Stronger”

I understand perfectly where the Journal stands on the deal and my comprehension comes from reading news columns, mind you, not editorials.

As a voice of the GOP, however, the Journal hates displeasing its most energetic supporters. This, I surmise, is why the editors are allowing dissent to appear elsewhere in the daily.

Like Wednesday’s Trever cartoon, a libertarian critique of the deal.

And Cal Thomas’s essay Tuesday.

And Charles Krauthammer’s view (last Saturday) that President Obama “won the great tax cut showdown of 2010” by getting a second stimulus in return for the tax cuts.

In sum, the Journal’s editors have decided to reflect Tea Party, laissez-faire and other rightist dissent on the opinion pages but censor them from the “news” columns.

Of course, the rightist opposition hasn’t been very loud. It is true – though the Journal hasn’t seen fit to print any of this – that Sen. Jim DeMint squawked, Sarah Palin seems to have done likewise in a recent, illiterate tweet (see my last post) and Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who heads the House Tea Party Caucus, and Chris Chocola, head of the rightist Club for Growth, have objected.

But that’s hardly a full-throated roar.

Which raises the question, has the Tea Party sold out to the wealthy and corporate? So soon?

If true, what a heckuva story!

Journalists would pursue it eagerly, but rest assured the Journal won’t.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Ross

    I think you are on the wrong track, Arthur. It seems to me that the Tea Party is already flexing its muscles among the Repubs. Didn’t they just torpedo the Omnibus budget deal? The right is just going to get crazier. The Journal will find the bus and hop onto it soon enough.

  • laura woodford

    i agree with your assessment. i quit taking the paper twice after getting really angry at the obvious bias, not only in the way they report news, the editorials, but also even the pictures they choose. they often choose pictures of the President, for example, which shows him in a less than favorable light.

  • AFH

    Growing up in Phx in the 50’s and 60’s with a newspaper reporter for a father and one news publisher in town to work for, I can remember my dad coming home steaming about the way things were being covered and what was really the truth.
    After all these years of this GOP taint in Arizona, look at them now ~ Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio … obviously New Mexico is not far behind. Thank God for the internet and websites like yours!

  • Arthur Alpert

    Good hearing from you all.
    Ross, you may be right long term. I tried to describe where the Journal is right now, playing both sides of the GOP street – the Establishment and the Tea Party. Should the Tea Party wing gain ascendancy, the Journal may well follow.
    But the name of the newspaper’s game is not ideology, it’s Republican political power.
    Or so I am forced to conclude on the evidence of what the editors use in the “news” columns and Op Ed pages and what they leave out.
    Arthur Alpert

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