By Arthur Alpert
I hope you are as pumped as I am about the Albuquerque Journal’s improvements; you can read the newspaper’s website on computers, tablets and smart phones and add apps for the digital version of the paper and breaking news.
Now you have several nifty ways to search for stories that aren’t there.
Like the scandals surrounding Governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) of Virginia, and his family.
Because the Washington Post emails its headlines daily, I know it unearthed evidence of McDonnell’s enriching himself in March and continues to follow the story.
Because the Journal is a Post customer it can publish those stories, but it won’t. Editors have ignored every development in a soap opera starring an enterprising chief executive who took big bucks from a businessman, favored his benefactor and obfuscated the facts.
So why did I decide to blow my whistle now? Well, first because the story has climaxed, with Governor McDonnell somewhat reluctantly admitting something, according to Laura Vozzella’s WP account July 30.
And because I cannot resist pointing out the Journal has improved accessibility to missing content!
Vozzella’s latest Post story says Gov. McDonnell finally apologized and promised to return all gifts from businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. of Star Scientific.
McDonnell said he “had repaid $120,000 in loans that Williams provided: $70,000 to a real estate company owned by the governor and his sister and $50,000 to first lady Maureen McDonnell.”
Vozzella notes the written apology was issued “as he was en route to Afghanistan to visit Virginia troops.”
(Nicely done, Governor. What did Samuel Johnson say? “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”)
As the WP exposé broadened in April, May, June and July, remember, the Journal published not a word.
But back to Vozzella’s story:
“With about five months left in his term, McDonnell is trying to move past the controversy even as it remains the subject of state and federal probes.”
“It has consumed the administration since late March, when The Washington Post first reported that the governor and first lady had promoted Star’s nutritional supplement about the time Williams paid the $15,000 catering bill for the wedding of one of the McDonnells’ daughters.”
The Post reported earlier the Star executive also provided a $6,500 Rolex watch for the governor, a $15,000 Bergdorf Goodman shopping trip for the first lady and a $10,000 engagement gift to another daughter. And Maureen McDonnell may have received free cosmetic dental work.
“It remained unclear,”Vozzella wrote, “whether [what he returns] will include reimbursement for the $15,000 in wedding catering Williams provided to Caitlin McDonnell. Jeanine McDonnell recently returned her $10,000 engagement gift.
None of this appealed to our local daily.
Turns out Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), a climate change-denier running to succeed McDonnell, also accepted $18,000 in gifts from Williams.
The Journal hasn’t bitten on the Cuccinelli angle, either.
Oh, did I mention that McDonnell favors right-to-work, privatization of state functions, offshore oil drilling and opposes higher minimum wages? That oil and coal interests financed his last campaign?
McDonnell doesn’t just oppose abortion. He supported a bill to require a trans-vaginal ultrasound for any woman contemplating that legal medical procedure until loud public protests pushed him back.
He opposes gay marriage, too.
(Mind you, he’s no Cuccinelli; that small government advocate would ban oral sex.)
Not being a mind reader, I cannot say the Journal finds McDonnell’s ethical blindness unworthy of print because, well, the Journal and the governor share an economic agenda.
Nor can I say it’s because Journal management bans stories about politicians who talk “small government” but favor invading individuals’ privacy at medical clinics and bedrooms.
Yet, the Journal’s Wednesday, July 31 edition carried story number 67 (approximately) on the strange compulsions of Anthony Weiner, the liberal running for mayor in New York City.
Admittedly, Weiner trumps McDonnell; it’s hard to resist a guy in thrall to an organ of the same name.
But maybe, just maybe, the Journal’s scoring is a bit lopsided.
Weiner, 67 stories, McDonnell, zero?
In fact, lopsided (def., sagging or leaning to one side) is an apt adjective for the Journal content now so easily found. Or not.