Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why Bloggers are Important

A Week Later, the Albuquerque Journal Reports and Buries the Laura MacCallum Story

So Much Left Out and not Reported

That’s Why More and More People Distrust the Mainstream Media


By Dennis Domrzalski

After waiting nearly a week, and after waiting for the story to travel around the world on the blogosphere, the Albuquerque Journal--New Mexico's largest news outlet--decided on Sunday to finally publish a story about Laura MacCallum quitting her job as KKOB Radio’s afternoon drive time anchor because of political pressure on the station from Heather Wilson's U.S. Senate campaign.

What a pathetic and disgraceful story it was, though. It shows why the blogosphere is daily becoming more powerful and why more and more people are turning away from traditional media sources for their news. The fact is, those traditional sources can’t be trusted to tell us what’s really going on, especially when it comes to their own industry, and especially when it comes to political parties they support and who support them.

MaCallum quit because KKOB News Director Pat Allen pulled her stories about allegations of vote buying at the recent sate Republican Party’s pre-primary conventions. Allen caved after getting complaints from Heather Wilson’s U.S. Senate campaign and from state Republican Party officials.

The Journal’s seven-paragraph story, buried on page B4, fails to mention that it was Wilson’s campaign that did the complaining. It didn’t go into detail about the vote-buying scandal, and it said nothing about Allen’s memo to MacCallum that he didn’t think the stories were valid because other media outlets and bloggers hadn’t picked them up.

The MacCallum story involves legitimate and burning questions about the state GOP’s delegate selection process—whether campaigns can buy delegates to the main nominating convention—and whether a federally licensed radio station caved to political pressure to kill the stories. Would KKOB have pulled stories critical of the state Democratic Party if one of its campaigns or officials had complained?

The Journal wasn't alone in its failure cover this story properly and inform the public about how ugly, deceitful and power driven political campaigns can be. No TV stations ran it, and with the exception of KKOB Radio's Thursday afternoon four-hour apology to the New Mexico Republican Party, no other commercial radio stations ran it. Only public radio covered the story.

They refused to run it even though the New Mexico Secretary of State's and the State Attorney General's offices are investigating the allegations and whether they amount to felony vote buying.

Truth is, TV, radio stations and newspapers routinely make decisions about which stories to pursue or not based on political pressure, personal and corporate biases and advertising dollars.

They just don’t want you to know about it. That’s why you rarely see the media writing or airing stories about itself. That’s why you hardly ever see or hear stories about their inner workings, their profit margins, their reasons for killing or pursuing stories, their news judgment.

The industry that demands that politicians, institutions and businesses reveal just about every detail of their lives, offices and business, tries as hard as it can to keep those things about itself secret.

They’re all members of the same club, and the club doesn’t criticize itself. They protect each other.

Is it a big deal that the state’s largest radio station—a conservative talk station—pulled stories after a Republican campaign and the state Republican Party complained?

You damn straight it is.

Was the public served—KKOB operates on the public airwaves—by the station’s censoring a story critical of the Republican Party?

No.

Is it news that the Journal, New Mexico's largest media outlet, buried this story and kept key details of it from the public? Is it news that the Journal refused to dig into a story about whether political pressure kept a story from the public airwaves?

Yeah.

Would this matter of public interest have been covered so extensively by the mainstream and traditional media?

Hell no. They didn’t want you to know about it.

But you do know about it, thanks to bloggers.

People in the traditional media have long been society’s information gatekeepers. In the past, what you’ve been able to see, hear and read has been totally up to them.

They demanded your trust--after all, they knew what information you needed and didn't need-- but they’ve abused that trust time and time again, especially in regards to their own decisions and secrets.

That’s why the gatekeepers are being swept away. That’s why we need more bloggers.

2 comments:

benito said...

here here!

jdm said...

It didn’t go into detail about the vote-buying scandal,

Actually, it didn't say anything about it. I sent a letter to the editor about it... sometimes they publish me, sometimes not.

However, seeing what you've written since re: Pat Rodgers comments on TV (retracted lie/smear), that ridiculous invoice state GOP made up only to (apparently) say to you... "we're not going to talk about this anymore"...

I wrote several previous letters to the journal, in particular in response to an OpED they published by Rogers which went after Iglesias , basically smear job and lies. The article attributed Rogers as an "Alburquerque Lawyer".

The OpEd looked suspcicious, I googled this guy, and there's much to see there: aside from fact he's listed on RNC Lawyer's page (one should google history of that org to get the picture), and all kinds of crap popped up. The guys is a well documented GOP attack dog... smear artist.

To their credit, the journal published my letter pointing all this out. However, in Roger's subsequent columns, he's back to being attributed as a mere "Albuquerque Lawyer".

Lots more like this... I've more or less given up on Journal for any reliable news, and fully agree w/pretext of your post.

I've kept a detailed archive of ABQJournal inaccuracies, half-truths, pimping RNC/Repub message lines, selective filtering of important stories (such as this one), and some very dangerous editing of news from Iraq, elections and election fraud, BUSH/GOP fraud... all kinds of stuff.

I really appreciate your writing/following this. (Got here via Avedon Carol).