Clueless in Albuquerque
A little less than a month ago I wrote about the Arizona TV reporter who contributed to the local sheriff's campaign and then proceeded to break a damaging story against the sheriff's election opponent. Gee, said the clueless reporter, I never had time to read the station's ethics guidelines.
Now Poynter's Romenesko links to an Albuquerque Tribune story that prompts one to wonder whether the ethics guides somehow got stuck out in the midday sun and burned up. To sum: Three Albuquerque TV anchors recently feted Gov. Bill Richardson at this year's Border Governor's Conference. One of them, KOB's Monica Armenta, said in an introduction, "Governor Richardson has done more for New Mexico in two legislative sessions than any previous governor accomplished in decades."
Well slap my britches. Wouldn't you just know it. All those fine remarks -- from all three anchors -- were written by the governor's staff.
KOB's station manager, Mike Burgess, saw no problem. He said he likes the publicity such stunts give his station and, by the way, he pledges double cross-your-heart there is no way this would reflect on coverage of the governor. "Whatever the political leanings of our reporters, it damn sure doesn't come out on the air," he told the paper.
Dear Mr. Burgess: Please get a clue. Doesn't matter what you say, or that the anchors didn't get paid. Down on the street corner of my old neighborhood we had another word for such people. And even if they didn't ply their trade in the open (as you promise won't happen on your air), everyone in the neighborhood knew who they were and what they were about.
It soils all of us.