Spirited and Mean
By Christopher Johnson
As a longtime Journal subscriber, I'm used to a certain level of meanness pervading the majority of the Journal's news coverage. This year's mayoral profiles were typical Journal fare, although Chavez, the paper's chosen one, seemed to escape the brunt of the paper's fury. Maybe that's because during the last mayoral election cycle he got absolutely smeared in the Journal's election profiles.
Even that time around, though, Chavez got off relatively easy. Back then, mayoral candidate, and former Albuquerque Monthly publisher, Rick Homans got the true character assassination in our morning daily. As a competitor of the now-defunct city monthly, I never rooted for Rick, but I still recall the compassion I felt for him when the Journal published its front-page mayoral profile, a virtual line-by-line character mutilation of Homans.
Yet even that vicious, inexcusable rant in no way prepared me for the Journal's recent front-page lead on a soggy Thursday morning announcing former Gov. Gary Johnson's divorce from his wife, Dee, after 28 years. The story, titled "My Heart Is Broken," truly marks an all-time for low for the Journal.
A former governor's divorce may indeed be news—it may even be front-page news—but it is certainly not lead-story-on-the-front-page news. To add another fistful of salt to the wound, the choice of headline demonstrates a level of heartlessness and insensitivity that's truly despicable, even by the Journal's admittedly low standards.
How could Johnson (no relation) and his wife's divorce possibly be considered a more important story than that of House Majority Leader Tom Delay's felony indictment, which the right-wing Journal relegated to the third most important story on the cover? While Albuquerque swells with tourists in town for the Balloon Fiesta, at least New Mexico's largest newspaper has given visitors a feel for just how down and dirty things can get out here. In fact, maybe it's time for the Journal to more openly embrace its trademark cruel streak.
How about a motto change from "New Mexico's Leading Newspaper" to "New Mexico's Nastiness Newspaper"? I like the alliteration.
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