A Week After it Broke, the Albuquerque Journal Reports and Buries the Laura MacCallum Story, Demonstrating Again Why the Blogosphere is so Crucial...
By Dennis Domrzalski on 3/11/2008, 1:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Dennis Domrzalski of f-brilliant...

After waiting nearly a week, the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday finally published a story about Laura MacCallum quitting her job as KKOB Radio’s afternoon drive time anchor.

What a pathetic 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.

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. (See BRAD BLOG's Special Coverage Page on the scandal here.)

The Journal's --- this newspaper is the largest media outlet in the state --- 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 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 in 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?

Truth is, TV, radio stations, and newspapers routinely make decisions about which stories to pursue or not based on political pressure, personal likes or dislikes, 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 themselves. 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. The members 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're 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.

Cross-posted at f-brilliant...

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Dennis Domrzalski has been a reporter for 27 years, having worked at The Albuquerque Tribune, Weekly Alibi, New Mexico Business Weekly and the City News Bureau of Chicago. He has been covering the Heather Wilson/NM GOP "Vote-Buying" Scandal at f-brilliant and serves as the co-host of the Eye on New Mexico Sunday morning TV talk show on Albuquerque's NBC affiliate KOB-TV Channel 4. He also hosts the local cable program, Legends of New Mexico on Gov. 16.

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