A Week in the Life—It’s that time again. It seems we can only go a couple of months before we are forced (forced, I tell you) to do a little Albuquerque Journal critiquing. It’s just one of those things—like taking the car for a tune-up or buckling down and cleaning the house—when the essentials start to fall apart, you have to pay attention.
Sept. 5: Thy Name Art Petty—We’ve never accused the Journal of being fair or balanced, and an article they ran last Tuesday, “Gov.’s APS Vetoes Hit GOP Harder,” proves why. In a story about Gov. Bill Richardson’s line-item vetoes for proposed projects for Albuquerque Public Schools, the Journal managed to find the angle of real importance: The guv happened to veto more projects proposed by Republicans than he did those proposed by Democrats. Apparently, this is a big freakin’ deal, as the Journal ran the story in the predominant above-the-fold slot on the front page.
The facts? The guv vetoed 58 percent of Republican projects and 22 percent of Democratic projects. The highlighted veto was a Republican request for $750,000 for drainage improvements at Sandia High School. Yet, the article also mentions that last month the governor announced $200,000 to go to Sandia for the same cause and that the big guy approved hundreds of other construction projects for other schools, such as $255,000 in drainage improvements for Alameda Elementary (which happened to be backed by a Democrat). Wow, what a jerk.
I could go on. The story’s a scramble to say something negative about our governor, and it’s a sorry excuse for reporting.
Sept. 6: Wait a Minute …—I also enjoyed the next day’s paper, conveniently following the biased story about the governor. On the front page, above the fold, was a pleasant article about how Mayor Martin Chavez is “Still a Voter’s Favorite.” Never mind the fact that the mayor’s not up for re-election, the Journal just wanted to let us know how much everyone likes him. Also convenient is the fact that the real story about Chavez was relegated to the Metro & NM section, which discusses the mayor banning police and firefighters from participating in an annual charity boxing match. Last year, the Rumble in Rio raised $36,000 to buy local kids 500 bikes for Christmas. Gee, the fluff piece about the mayor’s high approval ratings on the front page couldn’t have anything to do with the negative story about the mayor that ran later in the paper, could it?