By Arthur Alpert
I’m always writing here about how the Albuquerque Journal’s editorial agenda determines its news pages, which is what I should do.
There’s no point in beefing about the editorials because he who owns the organ calls the tune, whereas there is universal condemnation – the Hearst era being long gone – for the owner who fiddles with the news.
Well, maybe not universal. I mustn’t forget Fox.
Newspapers, including the Journal, also offer opinion pages. Physically abutting the editorials, they occupy an intellectual space somewhere between them and the news.
Usually, I am content to point out the obvious imbalance at the Journal – editors publish 99 arguments in favor of hierarchy and the rich and powerful currently at its top, to a single dissent.
Sometimes, though, the opinions require more attention.
Have you noticed, for example, the editors’ decision to publish essays by Maria Hinojosa, the public broadcaster? The latest, a plea for decent treatment of undocumented immigrants, ran Sunday, April 15 (not posted in online edition).
For years now the Journal’s single Hispanic political voice has been the rightist (and partisan) syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette.
But Hinojosa, judging from her work on “Latino USA” (Mondays, 8:30 AM, KUNM), bats lefty, so it will be interesting to see if the Journal prints her if and when she takes political stances that contradict its agenda.
Charles Krauthammer’s Saturday, April 14 column (not online) was noteworthy, too. I’ve often pointed out that the Journal’s market place of economic ideas runs the gamut from A to B, from the radical laissez-faire cult (Rio Grande Foundation, CATO) to Robert Samuelson’s Establishment nostrums.
(Actually, given his unceasing war on Social Security, Samuelson may be right of the Establishment. See Dean Baker’s rebuttal to Samuelson’s latest salvo at CEPR.net.)
But Krauthammer reminded me that he, too, often deals with the economy, like Victor Davis Hanson, Jonah Goldberg, Cal Thomas and George Will, not one of whom seems the slightest bit uncomfortable with America, the plutocracy.
Krauthammer is my favorite, however, because of the powerful self-assurance with which he writes on economic topics. It recalls the splendid confidence with which he beat his neo-conservative drum for war on Iraq and it obscures, I suspect, the same vast stores of ignorance within.
My confidence in rejecting Krauthammer’s absurd economic assumptions is based, in part, on reading economist Bruce Bartlett, who worked for Jack Kemp and President Reagan.
(Full disclosure here – I spotted Bartlett’s “The Benefit and the Burden”, subtitled “Tax Reform, Why We Need It and What It will Take”, at the Main branch of the patently socialist Albuquerque Public Library.)
Bartlett is no leftist, but neither is he a prisoner of ideology.
I recommend the book if (like me) you find most economists’ prose impenetrable. He’s lucid.
Summarizing, to be banned by the Journal you don’t have to be a leftist economist; just dissent from the newspaper’s editorial agenda.
Perhaps this deserves as much condemnation as the newspaper’s manipulation of its “news” pages.