By Arthur Alpert
Gosh, I’ve been Albuquerque Journal watching on and off for five years now. Just checked. Seems I started in January, 2010.That’s surprising. So is my initial naïveté.
I anticipated I would criticize both the political bias seeping into the news pages and the daily’s amateur, incompetent journalism. As it turns out, and I apologize for this, I haven’t written much on the latter. For as I read it became absolutely clear that bias seeping into the news was the least of it. That happens, it’s forgivable and what I saw wasn’t.
It was, however, shocking, so shocking I squirmed and tried to evade it for a long time. Put simply, the editors were deliberately falsifying the news. (Whether they knew what they were doing or persuaded themselves their actions were justified I don’t know. That’s a question for students of our human capacity for deceiving ourselves. I’d guess they are sometimes self-aware, sometimes not.)
Their actions, however, were unambiguously political, not journalistic. They cut sentences and paragraphs that contradicted the Journal’s editorial agenda from stories supplied by the Associated Press or Washington Post. Once in a while they inserted sentences or paragraphs advancing the Journal’s politics into news stories. This was done secretly, not a word to readers, no matter that the daily trumpets its dedication to transparency.
As the Journal uses the word, I learned, transparency is a virtue for other institutions.