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Media Bias Seen in Blogging Source

Once upon time if you wanted to keep abreast of New Mexico’s insider politics, there was only one source – Joe Monahan. Without a doubt Mr. Monahan was (and is) to New Mexico politics what Liz Smith is to the New York social scene. They both have juicy tidbits filled with rumor and innnuendo about what’s going on behind the scenes – whispers that the mainstream is just not likely to discover on their own.

Now, Mr. Monahan has always been decidely left left-leaning in his gossip mongering. Which is not surprising since his political consulting business is done predominantly, if not exclusively, for Democrats. Read back through Mr. Monahan’s archives, and you’ll find many references to his sources “deep within La Politica” of the South Valley – not exactly a Republican stronghold.

Well, times are a-changing. Now there are New Mexico blogs with right-leaning views. Of course, this is one, Wednesday Morning Quarterback is another, and Errors of Enchantment is a third and that’s just right off the top of my head.

Which raises the question, why does New Mexico’s mainstream press continue to just source a left-wing blogger when writing political articles? The reporters and editors are very much aware that the right side is out there – not a day goes by that the Journal server is not listed as a site visitor.

This past week we saw the unanimous appointment of John Dendahl to fill the Republican gubernatorial candidate spot vacated by Dr. J.R. Damron. It received significant coverage in the press. Yet, mainstream media coverage of the events only sourced left-leaning Joe Monahan when it came to including blogger opinions.

Think I’m making hay where there is none? Well read this “analysis” by Mr. Monahan quoted in a Tribune article about the turn of events:

But, said Albuquerque political blogger Joe Monahan, “I think the 60 percent [projected victory margin for Bill Richardson] is still alive in the minds of Democrats, especially with a candidate like Dendahl who could possibly be a big victory for them, if they can paint him as an extremist.”

This is analysis? Hello… which Democratic minds are we talking about? Governor Richardson barely got over 60 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. How could anyone in their right mind (or left mind for that matter) feel confident about Richardson’s chance to get more than 60 percent in the general election. Had the Tribune called me, I would have been happy to point this out to them.

The Santa Fe New Mexican was just as bad as the Tribune – which is surprising because Steve Terrell wrote the article, and Steve has no problem linking to the Republican bloggers when posting on his own website. Take a gander at this gem:

In fact, some, such as political blogger Joe Monahan, calls Dendahl a “sacrificial wolf,” as opposed to a “sacrificial lamb.”

“He’s not going to win,” Monahan said in an interview Monday. “But he’s going to go down with a fight and with spirit. … They’ll measure his success by how much he cripples the governor on the national stage.”

Any Republican would have pointed out that to know John Dendahl is to know that he is not about to be ANY TYPE of “sacrificial” animal. Heck, John Dendahl’s entry into the race had the Governor’s press secretary, Pahl Shipley, so worried about keeping his job that Pahl got on his home computer last Saturday and immediately blasted out a press release – on official state letterhead I might add – to take a swipe at John Dendahl. Mr. Shipley did this despite the backlash that was likely to occur considering he works for the taxpayers (D and R alike) and not Bill Richardson’s re-election campaign. The FEAR was that great.

The bottom line here is that it is no longer okay to source a Democratic blogger and not seek the comments of a Republican blogger. Unless, of course, you really do just want to tilt the scales instead of report the news.