By Arthur Alpert
Do the honchos at the Albuquerque Journal ever read the Albuquerque Journal?
I’m not kidding. In a moment I will present hard evidence to bolster the hypothesis that they don’t or that they read it but don’t grasp what the words mean. I can’t be certain. But consider this:
On the Opinion page, Wednesday, June 8, the newspaper editorialized against “the media’s” call of a Clinton victory in the Democratic primary just before big contests in seven states, including California and New Mexico.
The headline said: “Media’s call of a Clinton win feeds voter apathy”.
Turns out, the editorialist meant that the Associated Press, which counted delegates won in past primaries and the stated choices of super delegates, was wrong to publish the tally on the eve of the remaining contests.
And not just the AP:
“This was an unwarranted call by the AP and other media outlets,” wrote the editorialist, “and a step backward.”
But one day earlier, the Albuquerque Journal published the AP story in question.
Yes, the editors ran the AP report under the rubric, “AP count: Clinton has delegates to win nomination” atop A3, adorned with photos of Secretary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
So the Journal editorialized against itself.
Now, let’s ask why.
First, they don’t read their own daily. This view has the virtue of simplicity and- bonus!- also explains the typos and frequent illiteracy.
Of course, it’s also possible the editorialist was critiquing the editor who made the decision to publish that terrible AP story.
I’d love to welcome aboard another journalism critic, but no, sorry, that cannot be the case. For it rests on an absurd premise – that there exists a separation between the Journal’s editorial agenda and its news coverage.
But wait, what if the political commissars were well aware AP was doing the Republic a disservice but felt a responsibility to print the story anyway because, well, because, it was news.
Give me five minutes, please, to stifle the guffaws.
New Mexico’s largest daily deliberately, routinely minimizes or censors stories – national, regional, statewide and local – on the role of big money in politics, Corporate America’s political activities, the hollowing out of the middle class, tax dodges of the super-rich, dangers posed by climate change, progress in finding and exploiting new sources of energy, the consolidation of power over news and efforts to privatize public education and discourage voting by, er, undesirables.
Which is to name just a few subjects on the Journal’s Index of Forbidden Topics (Domestic) and ignore entirely its companion volume, Index of Forbidden Topics (International).
So the idea that the editors are committed to printing “the news” even if it bugs them is, well…..
Sorry, I need five minutes more, this time to stop the tears.
OK, I’m back. There’s more to say about the Journal editorial, including the obligatory slap at Hillary Clinton. This reminds me to pick up on a discussion of how the Journal will wriggle out of its “we-don’t-like-Trump” stance and the likelihood it will involve even more Hillary-bashing in the “news” columns. Soon.
And then there’s the Journal’s use of “the media.” Sadly, not just the Journal but 99 percent of American journalism has bought into Spiro Agnew’s fabrication. He turned medium (singular) into media (plural), then inserted “the” to turn the plural back into a singular.
As if everything from Twitter to the New York Times by way of local newspapers and radio stations, cable and websites, were of one mind and direction!
Slime-ball Spiro’s motive was clear – to create a scapegoat to divert attention from his (and Richard Nixon’s) crimes. Why journalists of all stripes have adopted it is beyond me, but heck, it’s a post-literate world.
So we return to the Journal’s very high-minded objection to what the Journal did one day earlier and ask why.
Your guess is as good as mine.