Monday, January 19, 2015

The Invisible Happening

Tuesday the New Mexico State Legislature will convene.  Men and women from across the state will show up for this sixty day session with some ideas on passing new laws or repealing old ones.  They are all very busy but won't accomplish much because of special interest groups who spend money on friendly lobbyists who take said lawmakers to lunch everyday.  It has always worked that way, but now the influence of money is even more pervasive.

But the real issue here is that more than ever our citizens, even the 20% who might vote, will be mostly ignorant of what goes on there.  I think they just don't care or remember that the session is even occurring.  And the local media will only cover the hot button issues, like so called "Right to Work".  These are manufactured attention getters to keep people in the dark about other more important issues.  Those few journalists who are around that know how this all works will not be enough to keep us informed.

Speaking of journalists, a great has one died.  Eric McCrossen was an old-time reporter and editorial writer who believed in getting facts correct, being fair, and keeping the public interest in mind.  He always treated people with respect.  Something that is now rare at the Albuquerque Journal where he labored for so many  years.  In those days the opinion pieces, which he edited, stayed on the opinion pages and didn't leak over into the news pages.  But these are different times at that publication.

Eric was a genuinely good guy.  In today's brand of journalism there are fewer and fewer of his type around.

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

Such is Capitalism. Starting in the 80s, i.e. the Reagan era, media owners began looking at their possessions as profit centers. There's always a tension between profit and the constitutional function of the media to facilitate an informed electorate. In the early 20th century newspaper wars in New York City the term yellow journalism arose, taken from a cartoon in one of the papers called the Yellow Kid, but the stories in those kinds of papers were sensationalism, like what you describe with right to work stories.

But then there was a period where journalism adopted a set of ethics and standards. People were in it who saw it as a crusade and not a business. The networks had bureaus all over the world and lost money on their news divisions.

What had changed? Mass social movements. Socialism, the Labor Movement. The country had moved to the Left. Remember how people like Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, who would be moderate Democrats now, were seen as kooks?

But Capitalism was left in place as our system and it regrouped, rather the constraints that held back its natural progression were taken away. It's destroying the media, it's relentlessly destroying any kind of alternative to capitalism -- see Venezuela, Bolivia. Cuba has just about given in. Capitalism is eroding our values in all areas.

People don't see Capitalism as the problem, but you do see many comments from people who are worried that we won't be able to get back to where we were. Too much money. Both parties are owned by Capitalism. Etc.

Both these current parties always were owned by Capitalism but Democrats in order to keep the support of the unions and the Left were pressured into things like the New Deal and its Social Security, Medicare and other socialist programs.

But the system was left in place, and it came back, and here we are.