A Gap in Legislative News: Citizens United

February 10th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Denise Tessier

Those who read ABQJournalWatch’s sister Web site, Clearly New Mexico, know that the state House of Representatives has voted to ask Congress to send the states a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

House Memorial 4 passed that body 38-29 more than a week ago (Jan. 31). Two similar Senate memorials (SJM 24 and SM3) had already passed the Senate Rules Committee, according to an email newsletter from state Sen. Dede Feldman, D-N.M. that same day. These Senate memorials “would signal the state’s opposition to the Citizen’s United Ruling and the concept that corporations are persons . . .,” Feldman wrote.

Search as I may, however, I’ve yet to find even a paragraph about these Citizen United actions in the Albuquerque Journal.

That the state’s legislators would endorse such an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not only news (a similar resolution failed to pass the House last year), but is of interest to a lot of New Mexicans.

Why would the Journal ignore it?

Covering the Legislature is a tough job, as Journal State Editor John Robertson described it on Tuesday (Feb. 7), and he didn’t even mention the “Capitol Crud” that seems to hit nearly everyone (reporters, legislators or lobbyists) cooped up in the Roundhouse during winter flu season.

The sheer crush of activity in the Legislature (hundreds of bills and memorials have been introduced) dictates that reporters can’t cover more than a small number of legislative actions in depth. And the Journal has afforded detailed coverage to other issues, giving the Legislature both a page in the A section (as is its long-time custom) and front-page coverage as is dictated by the newsworthiness of daily legislative action.

And with the Legislature’s Citizens United actions, we’re talking about memorials, not bills.

Still, considering the importance of this legslative endorsement to a large part of the state’s constituency and Journal readership (and the fact that these memorials support the efforts of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. in Washington) it should merit at least a couple of paragraphs on the Legislature page.

Perhaps a story is in the works. Despite its management-level biases, readers still want to see what the Journal’s experienced reporters have to report.

(For a reporter’s take, meanwhile, one can go to The Santa Fe New Mexican. And Matthew Reichbach’s coverage on Clearly New Mexico provides a good sampling of legislators’ comments during debate on the House measure.)

Tags: ·········

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment