“Plutocrats Against Democracy”: The news deemed not fit to print by the Journal

October 29th, 2014 · 2 Comments · climate change, economy, health care reform, journalism

By Arthur Alpert

I had no idea Paul Krugman read the Albuquerque Journal, did you?

Hard to believe, I know, but his Oct. 23 NY Times column contains big hints that he follows our local daily closely.

It’s headlined, “Plutocrats Against Democracy”.

Krugman argues first that plutocrats (that is, persons whose power derives from their wealth) fear democracy. He says that’s why they invest in propaganda, telling voters, “often and loudly, that taxing the rich and helping the poor will cause economic disaster, while cutting taxes on ‘job creators’ will create prosperity for all” by way of “a lavishly funded industry of think tanks and media organizations dedicated to promoting and preserving that faith.”

See what I mean? The Nobel-winning economist has offered a neat description of the Journal’s narrative. He’s also noticed our daily’s reliance on “lavishly funded industry of think tanks” for its Op Ed pages. I wish he’d mentioned the Journal’s unwillingness to identify the money behind those essays, but c’est la vie.

Krugman also points to the plutocrats’ efforts to make “sure government programs fail, or never come into existence, so that voters never learn that things could be different.”

He must have had the Journal’s eternal war on Obamacare in mind, don’t you think?

“But these strategies for protecting plutocrats from the mob are indirect and imperfect,” Krugman wrote. And the obvious answer, he concluded, is “Don’t let the bottom half, or maybe even the bottom 90 percent, vote.”

“And now you understand,” he continues, “why there’s so much furor on the right over the alleged but actually almost nonexistent problem of voter fraud, and so much support for voter ID laws that make it hard for the poor and even the working class to cast ballots.”

OK, at this point, I must cease being a wise guy. Paul Krugman almost certainly doesn’t read the Albuquerque Journal. He’s writing about the plutocrats, not the Journal. I pretended otherwise to highlight the strong resemblance – maybe they’re twins – between plutocrats and the paper.

For the Journal is not a newspaper defined by the search for stories (and let the chips fall where they may) but rather a politics-driven advocate for the very rich.

Now I just said a mouthful. It’s a big, broad indictment. To back it up, I should be able to demonstrate not just how it spins the news it prints (as we do habitually at ABQJournalWatch.com) but also that it refuses to cover stories or carry opinion that contradicts its political line.

Well, guess what? I can. Without breaking a sweat. Censorship is the case. Exactly. Egregiously. And in spades.

The Albuquerque Journal averts its eyes from huge swaths of the local, national and global scenes – pretty much everything the plutocracy would have us ignorant of.

Which is why I have a little list of such stories, about a dozen, assuming I can read the notes I’ve been scribbling for the past week or 10 days. Let’s look at a few today.

First, picking up from where Krugman ended, voter suppression. We’ll do it in detail another day, but for now let’s note only that the Journal has punted on the story, closing its eyes to efforts in Southern and Midwestern states to depress voter turnout.

Not incidentally, this has required ignoring what U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner of Chicago – a famously conservative jurist – said about Wisconsin’s voter ID law, that assertions about voter fraud are “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters.”

I mention that so you don’t mistake the Journal’s plutocratic agenda for something conservative.

Moving right along, the Federal Reserve is supposed to regulate the big banks. Hah! As ProPublica reported Sept. 26, Fed regulators were palsy-walsy, buddy-buddy, deferent to Goldman-Sachs in 2011, only a couple of years after Wall Street’s latest implosion. We know this because a Fed examiner, one Carmen Segarra, recorded some of these cozy meetings.

This was widely reported by journalistic enterprises, not the Albuquerque Journal.

Next, Josh Barro of the NY Times reported Oct. 22 that “Kansas has missed its tax revenue targets again, and the state is in for new fiscal pain as a result.” Republican Gov. Sam Brownback executed the supply-side game plan, promising an economic bonanza. Fellow Republicans are now in rebellion.

Never happened in Albuquerque Journal-world.

Speaking of economic snake oil, Western Europe, having already suffered a double-dip recession, may go down a third time, thanks to the reign of austerity. Given the global economy, this may already be hampering the American recovery.

In the pro-austerity Journal, we read that Europe is in economic trouble but never, never why.

One more. Climate change is a national security threat, said a Pentagon report Oct. 13 that was reported nationally.

Not fit to print here, decided Journal editors.

May I quit here for now? Thanks. Sometimes, when I hold Journal management to account, it’s a kick. Today, the exercise has brought me down.

I can’t fathom how Journal management fails to distinguish between their politics (to which they’re entitled and which they can espouse in editorials) and what newspapers are otherwise supposed to do. Reporting fairly, I mean, on what is happening, what events may mean and how opinions differ – all with the goal of empowering we, the people.

If, as Krugman asserts, plutocrats fear democracy, it’s journalism’s job to defend democracy.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Susan Clair

    Perfect! Thank you.
    It’s a disaster for Albuq. and, actually, most of NM, that the ONE major daily paper is so biased and, clearly, in bed with the right/plutocrats.
    Readers must find other ways to get their news because the ABQ Journal is not, most of the time, a reliable news source—either by commission, omission, or blatant error. I tell people, as often as I can, about VB Price’s NMMercury, where people can get the other side of the news.

  • C. Wister

    The Journal’s censorship of Doonsbury has always annoyed me. Readers are missing out on a quality comic strip.

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