The mainstream media has often treated readers like mushrooms--left in the dark and fed a steady diet of manure. Here's a great example: Did you see the lead story in today's Republic? It's about a guy from Tucson who plans to protest the Palestinian blockade. Seriously. That's the story. It's a guy from Tucson who is planning to join one of the flotillas that try to smuggle stuff--usually weapons--into Gaza. At best, the article is meaningless, at worst, the article is simply a vehicle to compare US border policy with Israel's border policy in an attempt to make them both look bad.
Hey, maybe it's a slow news day. What should the paper be covering this morning? How about this huge story that so far has only been covered by New Times.
The charges against Mindy Shields stem from the embezzlement of more than $77,000 from Friends of Greg Stanton, a political campaign belonging to the former councilman and Phoenix mayoral candidate. Shields, a close friend of Stanton's, was his campaign treasurer since early 2000.
That's right. The Phoenix Mayor's race is a big story and as part of that story, the daughter of one of the state's most powerful lobbyists has been indicted for allegedly embezzling money from one of the leading candidates. Sure, the papers covered the original story a few months ago, but why no update? Why no coverage of the indictment? Why no Montini or Laurie Roberts columns? I would argue that the silence is because all the players are big time Democrats.
Speaking of big time Democrats who are in serious trouble. Why no local newspaper coverage of the ATF Fast and Furious scandal? After all, the story is HUGE in the national media and it originated in Phoenix. It's much bigger than the Fiesta Bowl story.
On May 19th I pointed out that the scandal was being picked up by the national mainstream media--it had circulated in the blogs for months--but that it still had not been covered by the local media. Since then, Brahm Resnik has been all over it, but the rest of the local media have been silent. The ATF story is actually much bigger than the Fiesta Bowl story--some are comparing it to Iran Contra. Yet there is little local coverage.
Eventually, there will be a massive shakeup in the local US Attorney's office as well as the local ATF office and the Republic will be forced to cover it. At that point, readers who get their local news exclusively from the Republic will wonder what the heck happened.
Meanwhile, those readers who have never heard of Mindy Shields or Dennis Burke, and certainly have no idea that they are in trouble, have been treated to a story about a guy in Tucson named Gabriel Schivone who is unhappy with the Israel's border security policies--an article that only exists so that Republic reporter Daniel Gonzalez can slam Israel and US border patrol policies at the same time.
So the readers are kept in the dark about important stories and fed a steady diet of manure so that reporters can advance their own political agendas. But the mushrooms are figuring it out...that's why newspaper credibility and circulation have been falling so steadily for so many years.
During the next round of layoffs when Republic security is escorting a bunch of formers employees out the door--on the way to scrapping the parking sticker off their cars--maybe the reporters can stop by Daniel Gonzalez's cubicle and remind him of his role in the decline.