By Arthur Alpert
How shall I critique thee, oh, Albuquerque Journal? Let me count the ways.
Shall I discourse on the AP Fact Check you haven’t published, which definitively rebuts your narrative on drilling and gas prices?
Yes, absolutely, but not today.
Shall I report the latest move by CATO Institute, the “free market think tank,” to escape the clutches of its erstwhile benefactors, the Koch Brothers, a story you’ve overlooked thus far?
Or, document your kid-glove treatment of ALEC, another Koch Brothers production?
Shall I compare the original Washington Post story on Rep. Ryan’s Medicare proposal to the edited version you published Monday, March 26, noting what you erased?
Or, given that Obamacare has reached the Supreme Court, shall I harp on your failure to note the individual mandate idea originated from a conservative think tank?
No, today I shall praise a jewel sparkling ‘gainst seams of coal, a bit of excellent journalism shining from our customarily dark morning paper.
It came in a Politics Notebook headlined “Posing, Parsing, Politicking In a Presidential Season”, by James Monteleone, Saturday, Mar 24, 2012
Here’s his second item:
Word for word: A Republican advocacy group is looking to get the last word on the heels of Obama visiting New Mexico to tout record-high fossil fuel production in the U.S.
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a political group affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, responded to the visit with a TV commercial attacking the president as the culprit for gasoline prices “we can’t afford.”
Crossroads GPS spent $650,000 to air the commercial in Albuquerque and other TV markets where Obama visited this week to tout his energy policies.
But the nonpartisan consumer advocacy website Factcheck.org called several of the Crossroads GPS claims “false and exaggerated.”
Obama, during his quick stop in southeastern New Mexico’s oil fields, affirmed his support for U.S. drilling and praised the nation’s declining reliance on foreign oil imports during his administration.
But “even if we’re drilling nonstop” in the U.S., Obama said, high gas prices will continue to be set by volatile world markets unless the nation also expands alternative energy development.
Did you catch the reference to Factcheck.org?
Too many reporters (including but not only locals) resort to the ”he said, she said” formula.
It’s easier than pursuing facts or perspective that add up to (at least lower-case) truth. You quote both sides, send the electronic copy to the desk and move to the next chore.
It’s safer, too – who can be faulted for having let each side have its say? No matter the loss of complexity.
Journalism critic Jay Rosen calls this the “we have no idea who’s right” style in journalism.
Sometimes, it’s hard to get the facts, but not as hard as it used to be. Years ago, I spent hours searching the morgue. Today, reporters get answers from the Web in seconds.
Which is exactly what Mr. Monteleone did, to his credit.
How shall I critique thee? Respectfully.