Let No Journalistic Malfeasance Go Unremarked

August 8th, 2016 · 1 Comment · journalism

By Arthur Alpert

So where do I start? That’s the question whenever I sit down at the iMac because every issue of the Albuquerque Journal begs for corrective action and ideally we should let no journalistic malfeasance go unremarked.

Where do I start and (given that my time and energy are finite), which issues do I merely cite and which require a full post?

Case in point, take the Journal’s Page One story Sunday, July 31 headlined “UNMHSC lab assistant’s notebook details use, condition of fetal tissue”.

It ran under Rick Nathanson’s byline. Poor Rick, designated spear-carrier in the Journal’s latest political campaign-cum-news coverage, its relatively new war on Roe v. Wade.

The editors’ decision to run that account on Page One underscores the Journal’s move over the years from political conservatism to the Far Right and the substitution of heavy bias for generally fair news coverage. As for the issue of abortion coverage, please re-read Denise Tessier’s extraordinary March 24 post here.

In the same Sunday paper, Journal editors ran three columns on charter schools side by side on the Op Ed page, as if to demonstrate a variety of opinion. Ah, but on closer examination, two were pro-charter and the third argued the state might not be able to afford more of them right now. Where was the principled opposition to charter schools?

It wasn’t there.

Which makes a kind of sense. The Journal’s editorials assume that politicians and business people should make school policy. And since there’s no wall between editorial and news, it is only logical that the argument against charters gets short shrift in both its “news” and opinion pages.

In other words, the editors publish former assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch (or local educators who agree with her) on school issues as often as they print, say Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz or Dean Baker on economics.

That is, never.

Which reminds me. Just this morning (Monday, Aug. 8), I was reading Krugman’s argument in the NY Times that now is the time, given historically low interest rates, for the government to borrow and invest in infrastructure.

And I’d already skimmed Lawrence Summers’ Washington Post column headlined “Growth and fairness aren’t a trade-off”, the last paragraph of which includes:

“What is needed is more demand for the product of business. This is the core of the case for policy approaches to raising public investment, increasing workers’ purchasing power and promoting competitiveness.”

Now I often disagree with Krugman’s politics, which are liberal. And I’ve never forgiven Summers’ collaboration with Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Wall Street in fostering the Lesser Depression. Still, Krugman has a Nobel in economics and Summers an impressive resume including chief economist for the World Bank. So I read their economics advice carefully and take note when they agree.

I read them in the Times and Washington Post, respectively, not in the Albuquerque Journal, which publishes only right-of-center economics. That means, once you translate to the vertical axis that represents the distribution of power in societies, the Journal specializes in economics of, by and for those atop the hierarchy.

Moving right along, remember when I wrote here about my pity for the commissars? I did two pieces (April 29, May 8) on how the Journal had painted itself into a corner. Even as it slimed Hillary Clinton, the editors also dissed Donald Trump in its “news” and opinion pages. How would it extricate itself when he won the GOP nomination?

Well, in an editorial Friday, Aug. 5, they took a baby step away from the reality show star, a baby step that’s worth thinking about and worth its own post.

Tags: ·········

One Comment so far ↓

  • Dianne Layden

    The July 31 article about fetal tissue research at UNM is the fourth lengthy Sunday Journal article about this subject since late December. I have done research on the 2009 murder of Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. My letter about anti-abortion violence, the pointless investigation of UNM and Southwest Women’s Options, and shaming UNM employees was published in the Journal on August 9, 2016.

Leave a Comment