By Arthur Alpert
I promised to write “next time” on how Albuquerque Journal editors are treating Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rep. Steve Pearce of southern New Mexico, but I lied.
Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie and I will do it, soon, but first a necessary postscript to Saturday’s piece about the Albuquerque Journal’s advocacy -in its so-called “news” columns – for the Keystone XL pipeline.
That very day, you see, the daily published still another Op Ed in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. The essay itself, by veteran journalist Martin Schram (Tribune News Service), was fair if naïve about expert testimony, an oft-purchased commodity.
And the editors returned to the fray the next day, Sunday, Feb. 22, running still another story (A3) about oil-train disasters.
Fascinating, isn’t it, their predilection for oil-train accidents, as contrasted with the embargo on pipeline spill stories.
This, along with management’s specious pro-Keystone XL pipeline editorials, pretty much confirms the newspaper prefers serving its corporate allies to giving readers a fair shake.
Nor is the tilt limited to Keystone XL or fossil fuels. It’s endemic.
Follow me please back to the Op Ed page. Above Schram’s column, the editors ran an essay (“Voice of Malcolm X still relevant today”) by one Brian Gilmore, appending an unusually detailed ID paragraph:
“Brian Gilmore is a public interest lawyer and law professor. He wrote this for the Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with the Progressive Magazine. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.”
Why? What’s all that for? I don’t know.
If the editors want to be absolutely certain we know Mr. Gilmore is associated with a “progressive” project and magazine, bravo! I like knowing where authors are “coming from,” as younger folks say.
However, if that’s so, why didn’t the editors do likewise for the Op Ed article headlined, “State Senate Must move on REAL ID”?
There was a byline for Brian Zimmer, “President, Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License” and nothing more.
With a little web-crawling, I learned the Coalition is a 501(c)(3) formed in the wake of the 9/11 terror strikes, with offices in New York /City and Washington, D.C.
One report said radical rightists birthed it, but I couldn’t confirm it.
USA Today did report Dec. 13, 2005, “An anti-terrorism campaign by a group that wants tighter restrictions on driver’s licenses has angered Arab-Americans who say that an image on a planned billboard- an Arab man holding both a grenade and a license – is racist.”
The Coalition has bought billboards in New Mexico, too.
And Zimmer, a former Congressional staffer, helped write the Real ID legislation, which like other laws written and enacted in the immediate wake of 9/11 remains problematic judging from the appraisal in Governing Magazine Jan. 22, 2014, when 13 states still were not compliant.
Readers might have found some of that information useful. Was it lacking because the Journal backs taking driver’s licenses from non-citizen immigrants? I cannot say.
The pattern, though, is clear: when Op Ed essays dovetail with the Journal’s agenda, the editors exhibit no curiosity about where the authors are coming from. Yet when they (rarely) publish a dissenter, the self-same editors rouse themselves to write fat IDs.
Is this unconscious or with malice aforethought? Beats me.
OK, so much for the PS. Next time, er, I had better not say.