Archive for the ‘2008 Nevada Caucus’ Category

RGJ: Overstepped Journalistic Paradigms

January 23, 2008

In the past, the Reno Gazette Journal’s editorial board has been both fair, timely and objective in their endorsements of political candidates. However, their endorsement of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on January 18th overstepped their own journalistic paradigms of fairness in the political arena. The Reno Gazette Journal has very seldom endorsed a political candidate in a primary election. Years ago when I ran for Washoe County Commissioner against Jim Shaw they gave me their endorsement, favoring me as opposed to Shaw. But at least they gave Shaw time for a rebuttal.

During my interview with their editorial board, I asked them why they didn’t endorse me in the primary? There answer was, they didn‘t want to interfere with partisan politics or the selection of candidates nominated by the voters of individual parties. And, their policy was to only endorse candidates in the general election. No doubt, like Obama, they are wanting change in their own policy.

The unfairness of their endorsements isn’t about who they endorsed; it’s about timing. They published the endorsements a day before the caucus, eliminating all opportunities of rebuttal by the other candidates. I wonder why?

I wonder if their journalistic head swelled beyond the proportions of fairness because of the national attention they received for printing some of Obama’s stupid remarks? Or maybe, they thought it was time to feed their own self-serving interest, in that, they jumped on the bandwagon and endorsed the two favorites hedging on the possibility of backing a loser. As we know, Obama didn’t win the majority of the votes, but did win almost as many delegates as Clinton.

There are several debatable reasons why they endorsed Obama. They said he should be nominated because he has the “personal characteristics and political instants expected of the person who leads the nation” I wonder how his personal characteristics and political instincts differ from Hilary and john Edwards?

They didn’t endorse Edwards because he “ does not seem to connect with the Democratic base, and he has not demonstrated the kind of bipartisanship that gets things done.” Maybe they should have checked his voting record.

They claimed Obama represents a platform of invigorating the economy and will solve other problems such as health care, immigration, energy independence and the mortgage crises. That bemuses me! That is exactly the same platform that Hillary and Edwards have been hawking for almost four years.

The RGJ applauds Obama for saluting president John F. Kennedy and President Reagan as agents of change in times when the country needed change. Well, to quote a famous phrase during a presidential debate, Obama “is no John Kennedy.” And if Obama thinks a conservative Republican like Reagan who dismantled the mental health system of California and the nation putting many of our veterans on the street homeless was a great president, he needs to have his head examined. If Obama supports the unions, as he says he does, he would know Reagan wasn‘t the right man for the presidency at the time. He virtually broke the union of the traffic controllers and was opposed to organized labor except for the Actors Guild.

The Journal goes on to say the democratic caucus is about focusing on the party and it’s goals. Noting the Democratic Party should be looking past the primary season. They think the party should choose an individual who can win in November. In conclusion they believe Obama is that “ someone who can unify the nation on domestic issues, successfully uphold the democratic ideals and restore its reputation as a global force.” That same criteria could and should be applied to both Clinton and Edwards.

The editorial acknowledges that Clinton has been an “ excellent public servant for the past 35 years.” And that is true. Take her stance on immigration issues. For example: she’s opposed to giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants and is in favor of more border patrol. She wants immigration reform to address the need for family unification. And, she wants the government to crackdown on employers who exploit undocumented workers. She has supported a guest-working program that includes a path for immigrants to become U.S. citizens. What’s wrong with that?

Clinton is opposed to any salary increases for members of congress until the minimum wage is increased. And wants the minimum wage to be indexed against congressional salaries. In March of 2005, she voted yes on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than the $6.25 proposed by the republicans.

Clinton’s stance on protecting unions and organized labor is a matter of record. In June of 2007, she voted yes on restricting employer interference in union organizing and supports legislation for overtime pay protection. In December of 2003, she had an 85% rating by the AFL-CIO, indicating her pro-union voting record.

It’s interesting, knowing Clinton’s long record supporting unions the culinary union in Las Vegas, comprised of mostly minority workers, is endorsing Obama and not Clinton; proving this presidential campaign is really a racial issue, creating the possibility of civil disobedience between blacks, browns and whites, regardless of who sits in the White House.

By prematurely supporting a presidential candidate the day before the partisan primary caucus, negating any opportunity for rebuttal; the Reno Gazette Journal has gone beyond their own political fairness, broken through the barriers of their ethical obligations to its readers and overstepped its journalistic paradigms.

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