Watching The Journal Cover The Presidential Campaign

July 21st, 2015 · No Comments · campaign finance reform, journalism, Koch brothers

By Arthur Alpert

As an independent voter, I am watching the burgeoning 2016 presidential campaign without great enthusiasm. When the major parties name their standard-bearers, I’ll have to choose the lesser corporate evil.

It’s great fun, though, watching the Albuquerque Journal – political machine in newspaper costume – cover the campaign.

And the best part is following the Journal’s spinmeisters as they maneuver within the Republican field.

In a May 18 post, we noted the editors had printed news stories and opinion pieces denigrating Jeb Bush and two uncritical news pieces on Ted Cruz. Since then, they have printed news unfavorable to Donald Trump.  And there was a June 13 column from unrepentant neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer, who commented, not unkindly, on several GOP candidates.

Then, Friday, July 17, the Journal ran four paragraphs on the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to kill an investigation into possible violations of law in one of Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns. The Journal’s (source-less) account left the impression the jurors foiled a dastardly plot against Gov. Walker.

However, three Washington Post accounts and one by Monica Davey of the NY Times July 16 took a different tack. They all stressed the effects of the court’s ruling on campaign finance laws. From Davey’s Times account:

“But critics of the ruling said it was worrisome because it appeared to open the door for unregulated coordination between political campaigns and outside groups — so long as the groups stuck to advocating particular issues and did not explicitly call on people to vote for a particular candidate.

“The decision is a field day for corruption, and an early Christmas present for the C.E.O.s, multimillionaires and billionaires, who already exercise such an undue influence over our elections,” said Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks money in state political races.”

Pretty much explains why the Journal account was four un-sourced paragraphs about Scott Walker, victim.

But we’re tracking the Journal’s coverage of the GOP race, so I’m tempted to conclude – based on the stories it carries and those it doesn’t – that the Journal is unhappy with Gov. Bush and Mr. Trump, looks favorably on Sen. Cruz and Gov. Walker but remains uncommitted.

Which pretty much coincides with the Koch brothers’ position, if what I have read is accurate.

That may explain why the Journal’s coverage of the GOP race insists on ignoring who is spending how much on whom.

Now Deep Throat’s advice to young Woodward and Bernstein to “follow the money” may not be the sum total of journalistic wisdom but it’s a big part.

Except at the Albuquerque Journal, which habitually and consistently minimizes the number and source of dollars behind its favorite public servants, their initiatives and press releases. (See the Op Ed essay, “Libre Initiative” Friday, July 17, A9. Yes, it’s still another anonymous gift from the Kochs.)

Newspapers follow money in politics as a matter of course. The political machine named Albuquerque Journal does it rarely, often focusing on organized labor’s dollars. No surprise then that the editors passed on Chris Cilizza’s  “Some surprising winners and losers in the 2016 fundraising race” in the Washington Post July 19.

Funny that, because I found the news that Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (!) raised impressive sums, well, interesting.

But, of course, what interests readers is not the Journal’s first priority.

Next time: the Journal’s coverage of the other party’s candidates.

Tags: ···········

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment