Article Vindicates Radio Journalist Whose Stories Were Spiked, But Front Page Albuquerque Journal Coverage Otherwise Fails Miserably
Key Legal Point, Reported by Blog Long Ago, Entirely Ignored by Paper...
By Dennis Domrzalski on 3/19/2008, 4:03pm PT  

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

The Albuquerque Journal today proved once again why it can't be trusted to inform the public.

Today the paper finally published a story about the allegations of vote buying at the mid-February Bernalillo County Republican Party's pre-nominating conventions. And what a lame, disgraceful story it was. Read this stupid lede:

A registration fee for rank-and-file Republicans to attend their county convention— a fee candidates sometimes pick up— might be the root of a behind-the-scenes political flap in Bernalillo County.

Naaah! Really? A registration fee might be the root of a behind-the-scenes political flap?

How about allegations of criminal vote buying are ripping the party apart? That would be more accurate. How about this story has been raging in the national blogosphere for weeks and has contributed to a massive swell of anti-Rep. Heather Wilson venom? How about former KKOB Radio afternoon drive time news anchor Laura MacCallum broke the stories in late February and resigned in early March when her idiot news editor killed them because bloggers hadn't picked them up? How about the f-brilliant blog which broke the MacCallum resignation story and put the vote-buying allegations on the Internet on March 3, more than two weeks ago?

Or The BRAD BLOG, which joined f-brilliant and advanced the story on March 5 with its own exclusive interviews with a number of the players, including KKOB's news director Pat Allen, who backpedaled on his explanations for spiking MacCallum's stories once the reasons he'd emailed to MacCallum became public?

You'll never read about those things in the Journal because they're the truth and that paper is incapable of telling it...

This is typical Journal arrogance, though. If they're too lazy or too stupid or too biased to break a story, then, in their minds, it isn't a story. It doesn't become a story until they say so.

At the now-defunct Albuquerque Tribune years ago (where this reporter once worked for nearly 13 years) we routinely beat the Journal on big stories. When it could, the idiot paper ignored the story for a week or two. Then it published its own version and pretended like it had found the news. The Trib, which is now gone, was by far the better newspaper.

The Journal's not-so-ace political reporter Jeff Jones failed to mention an even bigger issue in the state GOP: The threats that were made to at least three people who once considered running for the First Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Congresswoman Heather Wilson in hopes of running for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.

Jones quoted New Mexico Attorney General's Office spokesman Phil Sisneros as saying the AG's Office wasn't investigating the vote-buying allegations because political party conventions are private affairs that aren't subject to the New Mexico Election Code. Sisneros told us that last week.

Moreover, we also already reported that New Mexico's former two-term Republican Governor Dave Cargo, one of several elected GOP officials to report the vote-buying allegations, points out that the AG is wrong. Further, as we also already reported, NM's Sec. of State Mary Herrera, responsible for the initial inquiry, has yet to drop the probe.

Sisnero's legal explanation, as we've reported several times, does not seem to hold water as the following part of the NM election code would seem to clearly contradict Sisnersos' logic. Here's the law:

1-7-1. Political parties; conditions for use of ballot. (1969)
All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.

Other sections of the election law say it's a fourth-degree felony to buy a vote or to accept a bribe to vote a certain way. Jones didn't bother to include that in his story either.

This isn't the first, nor will it be the last, time the Journal has failed and will fail to fully inform its readers. It managed to bury its story about the resignation of KKOB's award-winning afternoon-drive news anchor MacCallum after she found her original investigative reports spiked by the station.

There might be one bright side to the Journal's finally running the vote-buying story. Two lame bloggers might finally recognize the story as news. Heath Haussamen and Mario Burgos, both Republican Party apologists, said the vote-buying scandal was never a story. Now that the Journal has declared it news, these two might finally see a story.

You can read the Journal's story here. But why waste your time?

Real coverage --- far more in-depth and accurate and useful and timely than anything offered by the Journal --- has been appearing for weeks both at The BRAD BLOG and at f-brilliant. And, unlike "coverage" at the Journal, you won't even have to sit through a commercial first in order to read it.

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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