More Skewing the News by Omission

March 22nd, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

Welcome to another installment in our series, “Skewing the News by Omission” (link, link), wherein we add a few new stories to the list of those the Albuquerque Journal finds unprintable.

Let’s do that through the eyes of a hypothetical reader who trusts the editors. We’ll call him or her the Poor Soul or (for brevity’s sake) PS. And we’ll illustrate how – not satisfied with news deprivation – the editors spike that reader’s morning coffee with a dash of cruelty.

Case # One arises from the Saturday, March 17 Money & Markets page (syndicated, not edited in-house. This ran under the rubric “Quotable”:

“To say there’s still arrogance on Wall Street is like saying, the sky is still blue.”

– William Atwood, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Investment, responding to the recent debate surrounding Goldman Sachs.”

What recent debate?

The PS has no idea what Mr. Atwood is talking about; the Journal never mentioned the story.

Next day, in the (syndicated) Wall Street Journal Sunday, columnist Al Lewis wrote about the story – a top Goldman Sachs executive, Greg Smith, quit via a March 14 New York Times Op Ed that blasted Goldman for putting its profits ahead of the customer’s interests.

Wow! The story rippled through newspapers, TV and blogosphere but somehow never made New Mexico’s largest daily.

I understand. It’s about how Wall Street works and our daily’s editorial agenda forbids institutional criticism of business. In Journal-world, it’s OK to condemn individual crooks but verboten to question the system.

Ergo, our Journal deep-sized a story still echoing in the Wall Street Journal 10 days later.

But back to the poor soul who, remember, trusts the Albuquerque Journal. Posit that PS was reading Kathleen Parker’s syndicated column Monday, March 12, when Parker – annoyed that her rightist friends have pushed social issues – listed:

“Virginia’s pre-abortion sonogram law that would have included a trans-vaginal probe…”

Huh? What’s that?

PS is bewildered, again and no wonder – the Journal censored that story, too.

No matter that news mediums everywhere reported it extensively last month – legislation backed by pro-life Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell would require that women considering an abortion undergo an internal ultrasound first.

No matter, either, that McDonnell later retreated.

About the Journal’s decision-making process, I can only speculate:

Editor A muses, “Ugh. A Church-State alliance against citizens? Let’s not go there.” And editor B responds, “Yeah, and anyway, what New Mexican cares about government invading the most intimate aspects of a woman’s life? Kill it.”

Case # Three emerges from a brief in the Around the Nation roundup Wednesday, March 14, that included:

“The widespread disgust directed toward super PACs from voters comes amid a Republican presidential primary election season in which these organizations have played an outsize role.”

What? Now the poor PS who followed Journal coverage of those primaries is tearing his or her hair out. Coverage of the super PAC role has been minimal. (Op Ed columns, yes, news pages, no.)

Now, as we approach Case # Four, and given the PS’s increasingly fragile psyche, let’s hope he or she didn’t get far into the Wednesday, March 21 front-page story headlined “Romney Cruises in Illinois.”

For on page 2, fifth graph from the bottom, AP reporters talked about Wisconsin where politics were “roiled recently by a controversy involving a recall battle against the governor…”

What recall battle?

Our poor, poor PS is now deranged.

For the Journal hasn’t published a single account of the recall effort. Not one.

Enough. This was just an update in our series, “Skewing the News by Omission”; I’ve not listed all the missing stories. But the number does raise a question – does the Journal employ an editor whose sole responsibility is drowning news that doesn’t conform to its editorial agenda?

If so, that editor is careless, having failed to excise miscellaneous references to censored topics including those cited above.

Or, he’s cruel, toying with New Mexico’s poor souls.

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