Klein, Kliff, Pincus and Sloan

June 16th, 2014 · 2 Comments · economy, journalism, role of government, tax policy, Washington

By Arthur Alpert

It’s a great offer.

The Albuquerque Journal announced Wednesday, June 11 that its subscribers can get the Washington Post online at no additional cost.

I have been reading the WP on my iMac for years now, with particular appreciation for the contrast between it and the daily that hits my Albuquerque driveway daily.

Some differences arise from the Post’s location. It covers government, lobbyists and government employment a lot and often from a local perspective because many Post readers work in those occupations and live in the district or suburban Maryland and Virginia.

Like the Journal, the Post is editorially rightist but unlike the Journal it boasts a wall between editorial policy on one hand and journalism on the other. I have detected no narrow political agenda for news assignments or layout. It’s quite possible Post editors recite the traditional, “OK, let’s beat the opposition on this story.”

And – humongous difference – the Post’s opinion pages and blogs offer a wide gamut of views while the Journal….but you know how that works.

If you’ve been reading the Journal but not the Post, though, you might not know there’s a chasm, even a Taos Gorge between the papers. Why? Because our local paper, a client of the WP news service, mostly reprints Post material that dovetails with, or at the very least, doesn’t contradict the Journal’s narrative.

It’s true. The Journal ignores excellent Post reporting. Ditto, stimulating opinion. With very rare exceptions (including the regular mild-mannered “liberal” syndicated columnists), our local daily will not pick up what doesn’t dovetail with the Journal’s plutocratic principles and neocon foreign policy.

This is so egregious, so funny (or sad) that a year ago I created a computer folder called “WPvs.ABQJ”. I‘d meant to acquaint you with it long before this, but hey, better late than never, right?

OK, I just opened the folder and what jumped out at me were the names Klein, Kliff, Pincus and Sloan.

It’s not a law firm.

Ezra Klein invented the Post’s WonkBlog, heavy on economics and domestic policy, which became required reading within the Beltway. He became a favorite guest of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. This past January, Klein resigned from the Post to start up Vox, a Web experiment in longer form analysis of politics and economics.

The Journal never ran a Klein essay.

Sarah Kliff was the Post reporter assigned to cover health policy. I found her stuff excellent, especially on Obamacare. According to the Journal’s website, our statewide daily published nary a one.

(As you know, the Journal warred against passage of Obamacare and maintains fire editorially, in tilted opinion pages and – here’s the cardinal journalistic sin – in its so-called news pages. Only Winthrop Quigley’s articles covered the issues fairly.)

Pincus is Walter Pincus, a veteran, prize-winning reporter who writes on national security for the Post. From my reading of his “Fine Print” pieces, he’s very tied into Pentagon and spy agency sources.

Pincus also is a hawk on the military’s waste of tax dollars, which he writes about often. The Journal has never published a Pincus column decrying Pentagon waste.

(Incidentally, the Journal didn’t carry the Feb. 25 Pincus column on how unification of military health care might save millions and improve care.)

Allan Sloan is Fortune’s senior editor at large. The Post publishes his essays on topics financial and economic. I became a fan of his common sense and plain English columns for Newsweek eons ago. Fortune, the WP, Newsweek – it’s clear Sloan is no Bolshevik, but he does question corporate America, as in his May 30 WP piece headlined “Stopping companies from feeling the U.S. tax code.

The Albuquerque Journal has never published a Sloan column.

In fairness, the editors do give us a steady diet of Robert Samuelson and laissez-faire-ists galore, so who needs more?

There’s a lot to look at in my “WPvs.ASBQJ” folder but let’s stop here to restate the first, inevitable conclusion.

Editors at the Albuquerque Journal select Washington Post material that doesn’t contradict the Journal’s narrative. This is why they have ignored outstanding reporters and opinion writers like Klein, Kliff, Pincus and Sloan.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • mark ropel

    Mr. Alpert,TY for the $ saving deal from AJ for Wa-Po, I find saving $ great. And yes, some of their staff, Ruth M or “Gene” for instance , are great and easily accessed free online. My beef ? From my vantage point there’s no shortage of the Neo-Con viewpoint, yet there is, of, say a Thom Hartmann viewpoint,that IS what we need. The AJ ,from it’s bought & paid off Upper Mgt to it’s Anti Labor lower Mgt , will serve our Community best, the day it ceases publication.

  • Arthur Alpert

    Thanks for the comment, Mr. Ropel. I would stress that we need good reporting, the kind Sarah Kliff did, as well as a wide variety of opinion, including Thom Hartmann’s. The Post offers lots of good reporting.
    Arthur Alpert
    PS Since Hartmann is a New Dealer and today’s political right equates the New Deal with socialism, look for Hartmann to gain respect only after the next Depression.

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