By Arthur Alpert
If you visit this site often, you know the Albuquerque Journal is less a newspaper than a restaurant where cooks follow several recipes in a daily effort to feed readers a diet of rightist advocacy.
One favorite recipe begins with a ”news story,” often from the Associated Press Washington Bureau, that leans far rightward (or upward toward the One Percent). Then Journal chefs massage that basic ingredient via editorial headlines and/or editing out distasteful material before placing the dish prominently on Page One.
Starting next day, the kitchen crew lards the editorial page with syndicated opinion pieces from the newspaper’s list of One Percent apologists to perfume the original “news story.”
Shortly thereafter, an editorial appears garnishing the same p-o-v.
Oh, and if the newspaper’s resident rightwing comic weighs in on the Right side, well, that’s lagniappe.
Finally, the cooks, having advocated for the One Percent’s truth in editorials, syndicated columns and the so-called “news pages,” publish a local Op Ed or a letter that argues “the other side.”
This is fairness, Journal-style.
The most recent use of the above recipe involves the CBO’s recent report on Obamacare and the economy. Political fireworks over its meaning engaged the CBO, the White House and its political opposition.
This time the editors varied the recipe a bit, which I’ll get to below.
First let’s trace how the cooks followed the recipe post- story.
As opener, they published syndicated columnist Dana Milbank’s hammering of the Administration Friday, Feb. 7.
They added a like editorial Saturday, Feb. 8.
Jonah Goldberg’s essay came along Feb. 9.
And George Will took his shot Feb. 11.
Mustn’t forget to mention comic Argus Hamilton, who wrote Feb. 10, “The Congressional Budget Office reported that Obamacare will cost two million people their jobs.”
No, that’s false, but who edits for accuracy at the Albuquerque Journal?
Meanwhile, the Albuquerque Journal published nothing elucidating the CBO’s views or reflecting what White House supporters argued. Not in the news. Not on the opinion pages.
And it could have.
We know that because the Associated Press offered what it calls a Fact Check. Here’s the headline:
“FACT CHECK: Anti-Obamacare chorus is off key”.
Calvin Woodard, who wrote this Thursday, Feb. 6, piece, first notes the CBO report touched off criticism from those “who’ve claimed all along that the law will kill jobs.”
“But,” writes Woodard, “some aren’t telling it straight.”
“Workers aren’t being laid off,” he continues. “They are taking themselves out of the workforce, in many cases opening job opportunities for others.”
Woodard went on to contrast what the CBO said with what critics said it said, to the detriment of those critics. And he concluded:
“But the predicted withdrawal from the labor market is no more a killer of jobs than today’s surge of retirements by baby boomers entering old age. If anything, it could open job opportunities for people who can’t get in the workforce now.”
Need I tell you the Journal didn’t publish that Fact Check?
The Journal did put it on its website. It sits near the pieces by Milbank, Goldberg, Will, the editorial and Angus Hamilton’s inaccuracy.
Journal-style fairness strikes again.
Now encumbered as I am by a more conventional idea of fairness, let’s turn to the recipe variation I mentioned earlier.
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