A savvy e-mail calling out the Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board has backed the developers and mayor again this year, favoring passage of the City Street Bonds, which naturally includes throwing their editorial support behind the extension of Paseo del Norte through the petroglyphs. One recent editorial on October 3, 2004, went so far as to speculate the number of residents that specifically oppose extending Paseo. First the editorial suggested 30 percent of the folks opposing the bond are basically (now these are my words, not theirs) a bunch of crabby old money-grubbing Northeast Heights residents that oppose all bonds. Then the editorial surmises: "That's a much larger chunk of the electorate than the bloc of maybe 10 percent that is adamantly opposed to any measure that advances the Paseo del Norte extension westward. Without the solid ’no' base, the anti-Paseo fringe stands no chance of stopping another round of needed road projects citywide."

Interestingly, this editorial ran during the same time the Journal was printing hard news stories on the results of its polling by Brian Sanderoff, a respected Albuquerque-based pollster. Oddly enough, the Journal's policy is to editorialize on any topic that has appeared in its paper. This 10 percent figure was passed off as a bona fide statistic from its own scientifically-based polling; however, nowhere in previous editions of the Journal—editions that were full of Sanderoff's polling results, including opinions on the Street Bond—was this statistic listed. The 10 percent figure, it seems, exists nowhere in the universe, except in the minds of the Journal editorial page editor. Besides, isn't it a bit patronizing to call Paseo opponents a “fringe” group, when it includes the entire Native American community in the state?

Eli Lee of the Vote No on the Street Bonds Committee emailed this analysis, after doing his own bit of investigating: “I asked the Journal to provide substantiation of the 10 percent figure, since it seems ludicrously low given that the street bonds were defeated 55 percent to 45 percent just one year ago, and in the Journal's own poll last month, the Albuquerque electorate was essentially evenly divided on the Paseo question. They simply replied that it's their job to editorialize, and that ’10 percent' was their opinion. ... I asked if they had talked to their own pollster about this figure or if they had any data at all from the lengthy poll they conducted to back up this claim. They did not. ... It appears that the Journal simply made this number up, not surprising given its lengthy and fierce support for the Paseo extension.”