In Praise of Frankness

April 20th, 2012 · No Comments · economy, role of government, tax policy

By Arthur Alpert

It would be overstatement to say the Albuquerque Journal is two newspapers, that management’s Journal is an advocate of a partisan agenda and that the staff’s version is about searching for truths, aka journalism.

Overstatement yes, but not by much.

Consider first all those awards Journal staffers earned from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies contest reported Wednesday, April 18, on C2.

Competing against bigger papers, Journal reporters came home with six first-place awards and lots of others. Familiar names (many of which we’ve applauded here) were among the winners – Jon Fleck, Mike Gallagher, Colleen Heild, Leslie Linthicum, D’Val Westphal, James Monteleone, Rivkela Brodsky and Winthrop Quigley among them.

(Aside – how puzzling that Quigley placed second in business columns; surely his outstanding analyses of the health business, like the April 3 “Health Care Ruling Won’t Change Much”, merit the gold.)

I suppose competitions may produce a few arbitrary awards, but the number the Journal garnered makes clear that this is a deserving rank-and file.

And while in bouquet mode, let’s proffer one to an editor, John Robertson, whose UpFront column promoting Journal coverage of election season appeared in the same issue.

The applause recognizes that Robertson, who oversees political coverage, has (not for the first time) stated his bias rather than pretend to “objectivity.”

“For Congress, we will be electing participants,” he writes, “in the growing debate over the big picture role of government, especially with federal government finances increasingly in the red.”

That frankness is not only good journalistic practice but forced me to think; what do I figure is at stake?

Answer: I’ll be monitoring the nation’s drift from democracy toward plutocracy, the growing commoditization of political power (to the highest bidder go the spoils), the failure of our political institutions including both parties and, finally, the human tragedy of joblessness.

But that my concerns differ from Robertson’s is unimportant.

He, boldly, has given us a context within which we can evaluate the Journal’s political coverage from here to November.

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