What a Newspaper!

February 8th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

“What a country!”

Comedian Yakov Smirnoff used that trademark line to punctuate his routines.

He meant the U.S. is heavenly, unlike his native Russia.

Frequently, on finishing breakfast and the Albuquerque Journal, I find myself thinking, “What a newspaper!”

I refer not to heaven but to stew, the Journal’s amazing goulash of amateurism, cynicism, Hearst-ian ethics (from William Randolph Hearst) and excellence.

Sometimes, it comes in a single issue as happened Monday, Feb. 6. There, on the cover, was a headline on the top story that merits at least a silver medal in the “Least Informative” competition.

It read, “Top Posts Get New Officials”.

No, make it a gold; it also uses a passive verb and it’s hardly English.

The page three head, “Syria Coalition Proposed”, about a scheme to help Syrian rebels, would be accurate as, “U.S. Urges Anti-Assad Coalition” in a smaller type.

More on amateurism – please note an egregious typo (I think) in Jerry Pacheco’s Business Outlook column. It’s near the bottom of the first column:

“Although incidents of violent crime seem to be subsidizing, if only a little, most Mexicans are fatigued…..”


At the Journal, typos are endemic.

While in Business Outlook, consider Win Quigley’s pieces on structural unemployment and state taxes. The latter actually questions the proposition that “tax cuts will create jobs.”

Quigley’s not perfect. In a recent essay, for example, he concluded that corporations are nothing more than a collection of individuals.


But he deals with the real economic world, does solid research and strives to be fair.

He represents excellence at the Journal, maybe a saving grace.

And he’s not alone. Monday’s Journal included another humane UpFront column by Joline Gutierrez Krueger.

Alas, the front page also carried an Associated Press Washington Bureau specialty that was  headlined “2nd Term Could Alter Balance of Federal Courts.

AP Washington consistently editorializes in “news.” So we have to read deep into the account to learn that conservatives dominate the circuit courts and the federal bench and they’re younger than recent non-conservative appointees.

Back in the Op Ed pages we find an Esther Cepeda syndicated column on college loans. Cepeda, who specializes in education, is one of two Hispanic columnists Journal editors publish regularly. I gather she’s socially conservative and politically centrist.

(The other, Ruben Navarrette, is a partisan residing on the right end of the spectrum.)

I cite Ms. Cepeda because of a local Op Ed on the facing page under Josephine De Leon’s byline. Appended were the names of several other notable New Mexico Hispanics who “signed” her essay; they included Ralph Arellanes of LULAC and Christine Sierra of Southwest Hispanic Research Center.

None is a regular columnist. In fact, the Journal carries no regular opinion from a left-of-center Hispanic writer; not syndicated and not local.

José Armas, a liberal who wrote for the Journal years ago, probably was the last.

Of course, the Journal carries no local columnist of any ethnicity who throws southpaw.

Finally, because it matters what the Journal doesn’t throw into the soup, the Washington Post revealed Monday that “a landmark government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners — already 20 years in the making — has been delayed….”

Industry and sympathetic Congressional representatives didn’t want it out.

Of course, the Journal spiked the story.

There’s an overview of the Albuquerque Journal, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.

“What a newspaper!


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