Get Ready for the Journal’s Right to Work Campaign

December 31st, 2014 · 1 Comment · inequality, labor, NM Legislature

By Arthur Alpert

And so it begins. The Albuquerque Journal launches its campaign to pass right-to-work legislation in New Mexico.

Unlike the Journal’s never-say-die resistance to Obamacare, which originated before passage and continues to this day (Tuesday, Dec. 30, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar’s A3 story), this campaign will be an offensive effort.

Offensive as in forward leaning, I mean. Oh, and offensive to simple journalistic fairness.

As in the anti-Obamacare campaign, however, the newspaper will bring to bear all its political assets – its editorials, its heavily Rightist opinion pages and its so-called news columns.

At that last stop, the Journal high command will work subtly, in particular where capable staff reporters turn in professional copy; there the editors will rely on story placement and headlines to promote management’s political agenda.

And the desk won’t assign stories that question the virtues of “right-to-work” legislation. It’s not bias, it’s just that two or three sides to a story will confuse readers.

Similarly, the editors will pass on contentious material from the Associated Press, Washington Post and other regular suppliers of news and views.

Please hold me to account for every prognostication above and while we’re waiting, let’s look at what compelled me to trumpet the Journal’s latest political onslaught.

Monday, Dec. 29, the editors ran an Op Ed essay from the Rio Grande Foundation. As usual, the Journal identified RGF absurdly, even inaccurately. RGF is not, for example, “independent;” it owes fealty to its financiers, the Koch brothers’ network.

Nor, judging from Paul Gessing’s essay is it “non-partisan.” If it were, he would have targeted GOP Governor Martinez as well as Democratic Sen, Michael Sanchez, for favoring a richer “closing fund” to entice new businesses to relocate here.

The Journal has reported her support, yet he gave her a pass. Not partisanship? I await an alternative explanation.

The remainder of the Journal editors’ description of RGF lives up to the standards they set with “independent” and “non-partisan” but, hey, what are friends for if not to accept your version of yourself?

The key to the Gessing piece, however, was the attack on the Senate majority leader for his opposition to “right-to-work” legislation. It’s something the Koch brothers and some oligarchs want badly.

As they should. Organized labor is no longer a political heavyweight but it remains in the ring, sporting a Donkey on its trunks. To weaken unions further is to strengthen Corporate America’s grasp on both major parties and, ultimately, the federal government.

It’s a power struggle to determine for whom the government works.

It’s not directly about the economy, though in my history every time the One Percent enjoys “economic freedom” they pull the Temple down onto the heads of the 99.

Note: the Journal’s Rio Grande Foundation ID says it favors ‘economic freedom.”

Note: I do not expect the Albuquerque Journal to endorse “my history.” If, however, journalists ran the daily, they’d publish an essay or two recounting that history even if that necessitates lending the soapbox to – horrors! – mainstream economists.

Of course, Gessing’s Op Ed does not a Journal political campaign make. You need more. Here it is, the Tuesday, Dec. 30 story by James Monteleone that editors put on on the front page. I cannot imagine why; what was the news justification? As Monteleone noted in his second graph, there was no surprise.

And why did the editors write three-levels of headline (see print edition) with no reference to the opposition? The reporter gave dissenters a fair shake in the piece.

(Incidentally, Montelone, an excellent newsman, may want to rethink describing the RGF as “conservative.”)

But the Journal wasn’t content to put that “right-to-work” story on the front page Tuesday. It published still another atop the Business section, headlined “Right to work, tax reform top business wish list.”

I quote the rubric because it doesn’t jibe with Rosalie Rayburn’s lead about how legislators and business groups have a wish list but don’t know what they’ll have to spend.

Nor with her decision to explain in the second paragraph that falling oil prices mean less state income.

Faced with that, what does a Journal editor do? It’s conventional to base the headline on the lead. Well, today’s theme is “right-to-work”, so “right-to-work” will go in the headline.

In the political game, you gotta stay on message.

And as we near the legislative session, one more prognostication – the Journal will pursue the political game not only by campaigning for right-to-work but also by ignoring who lobbies for it.

Remember, you read it here first.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Emanuele Corso

    It’s going to be an interesting session, Arthur, what with Republicans having the upper hand for the first time in many years. What will they do with it? Then there is Gessing like an organ grinder monkey dancing to his sponsor’s tune. He has nothing of his own to offer, never has had, just dances to the music and parrots the party line. No facts, no truth, just propaganda. Bought and paid for by the Koch boys.

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