Friday, February 15, 2013


When I was in the news business many years ago when ever we put an assignment up on the assignment board in the TV newsroom about coverage of an item at the legislature we would abbreviate it as XGR.  That way it would fit on the low tech marker board.

I remember the days when all of the stations had full time cameramen and reporters assigned to each session. There were guys like Rodger Beimer who knew how politics in the roundhouse worked and who reported on complex issues rather than the 'he said/she said' kind of stuff they do now.  One gets the feeling now that the reporters don't know what the difference between the House and Senate is, nor how a bill gets passed.  For the most part the TV coverage is abysmal.  Have you noticed how the news departments don't even interview folks on video anymore, but merely call them on the phone and then put up inaudible audio for an interview?

One bill in the legislature that should get killed is a law that would get the legislature involved in picking Regents for the state's institutions of higher learning.  The legislature will always try and take power from the Executive but this is a bad idea and will cause the same kind of paralysis we see in Washington.  Senate confirmation is enough.  What is next?  Part time legislators selecting janitors for state buildings?

UPDATE:  Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver yesterday called me and got information to remove our son and daughter from the voting rolls here.  They have been kept on the rolls for years despite our efforts while registered in their homes in New York and Colorado.  But Maggie took it on personally and got it done.  Thanks!  I hope she runs for Secretary of State in Santa Fe.


Bubba Muntzer said...

One would think that with the reduction in news departments, they could retain only the cream, but maybe things work another way. Less people equals less ideas floating around, less competition among them, a smaller body of knowledge and experience. When you're new to the legislature there's no Beimers to go to and ask for some background. Tons of knowledge and experience have been lost.

When I got off the road and moved down to Albuquerque I looked around for places on the internet to learn about New Mexico politics (that's how I found your blog) and there isn't much out there. You give your insights and analysis, and a Joe Monahan can provide a few highlights and trade in insider gossip, but I don't have the background to make sense of a lot of it. I say that to point out that not many people do. It's a society wide phenomena.

You can't expect you and Joe Monahan to carry the load, either, nor would you want you to. You perform distinct functions that used to be provided by columnists in newspapers and to some degree by commenters on TV. (When I was growing up and getting Chicago stations on TV most of them had a full time person who did that. Can you imagine someone spending that kind of money now? And if these local people ever want to make more money or do more serious reporting they have to go to bigger markets. There's no career track here.)

What's behind it? What role do the educational system and the media play? Or are they just reflections of it? When I read people who talk about this and about public apathy and low voter turnout, they often relate it to the notion that people don't feel like they have a stake in what goes on in politics and government. They don't have a say, and whatever happens, nothing will change for them.

That's a whole ball of wax, there, but it would be part of the problem with TV. There's no one demanding better coverage of the statehouse. Most people don't know what it is. For the few people who desire to have a vague idea of what's going on, what the station puts out is sufficient before they settle in for an evening's sedation from Dancing With The Stars and the mild stimulant of cop shows.

Mike Anderson said...

What? no Stu Dyson love?

Cheers, Mi3ke

Jim Baca said...

Well, yes Stuart is still on the job but somewhat reined in. After all, a police car dashcam will always get more time than a legislative bill.

Jim Baca said...

Well, yes Stuart is still on the job but somewhat reined in. After all, a police car dashcam will always get more time than a legislative bill.

Anonymous said...

Younger people I know don't even watch the news. they prefer social networking/internet sources because they don't believe in the "journalists" anymore. To them, the "news" is just corporate propaganda. they prefer the uploaded videos and accounts of ordinary people on the web. My grandson recently told me that "everyone knows the news is just to sell you stuff".
WMD, anyone?

Donald F. Schiff said...

I also hope Maggie runs for Secretary of State. She is the best elections official in the state by far.