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New Mexico’s Own Dan Rather

If you’re a politician, it’s very helpful to have friends in the press. You know, people you can count on when you need to get your story out. Of course, sometimes that relationship gets a little too cozy.

Now, I’m just a blogger. Yeah, I wrote a few articles for my high school newspaper, and even took a journalism class at NYU, but it was freshman year, and there sure were a lot of distractions. So, I don’t consider myself a journalist. It’s ok for me to be biased. That’s what blogging is all about. These are my opinions. Take them, or leave them – it’s okay.

However, what happens when a reporter forgets their role? When they forget to be an unbiased observer, and jump into the fray with both feet? A reporter who stops observing the news, and starts becoming “a source.” No, I’m not talking about all of those media pros that hired on with the Governor. I’m talking about a reporter that is still on the payroll with our major newspaper, but seems to have forgotten his role:

Did Mayor Marty call R’s “rich folks?” Apparently yes, but not at that GOP breakfast that we blogged about yesterday. That’s the word from those there, including veteran ABQ Journal city hall reporter Jim Ludwick who does not have a dog in the fight. “Joe, he never made any comment about Republicans being “a rich folks party with rich folks goals,” as the GOP news release indicated. The news release was incredibly misleading. I said (to the GOP) I had been at the breakfast and I know Chavez had not made the statements they quoted. Their reply was that Chavez had made the remark on a previous occasion. I asked when it had happened, and I was told that they don’t know.”

Thanks Jim.

Well, if you read the rest of that Monahan post from last summer, you’ll learn Mayor Chavez did actually make that ridiculous statement – although not at that breakfast. You’ll also see Monahan’s bias come through loud and clear. But, it’s okay for Joe to be biased because he is after all just a political consultant/blogger. He is not a reporter. However, what is Jim Ludwick, a veteran reporter for the Journal, doing defending Mayor Chavez? Wasn’t that the role of the well-paid campaign spokesperson? Was this just a one-time slip for Ludwick, or did he do it again?

I’m afraid it’s the latter. Whitney Cheshire has some pretty interesting observations on that front (yes, she is also a political consultant/blogger, so bias is okay). The only thing Whitney fails to note is that the slanted Journal article she references was written by veteran reporter Jim Ludwick. Her point about all political hacks knowing that Greg Payne was supporting Chavez is absolutely true. So, it’s hard to believe that a veteran Journal reporter would not have the same inside scoop.

Ok, let’s be fair. Ludwick’s two gaffs were in July in the heat of a campaign. He obviously just got caught up in the moment. He is only human. I’m sure he is not a reporter with an agenda. Then again, how do you explain this:

In the same edition of the Journal, there’s another mention of Angelo Garcia. This one is buried on page D1, below the fold, in Jim Ludwick’s column of assorted miscellany, “Reporter’s Notebook.” In case you missed it, Garcia, the “bag man” hosted a fundraiser for Martin Chavez at his home just five weeks ago. And in case you missed the point, “Reporter’s Notebook” is where stories are assigned to die.

That’s right “Section D.” This was the hottest story at the time, and it landed in “Section D.” Looks like Mr. Ludwick has some friends in the editorial department who share his bias. So, what kind of Ludwick story ends up on the front page (subscription)?

City Councilor Brad Winter is facing an ethics complaint over help he received from the Republican Party during last year’s mayoral campaign.

The complaint, filed with the Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices by a campaign volunteer for Mayor Martin Chavez, says Winter’s relationship with the party was inappropriate and was not properly disclosed on campaign finance reports.

“During the campaign, I received lots of mail at my house,” Brusca said. “When I saw what was going on, it upset me greatly. … It was no longer a nonpartisan campaign.

Based on Ludwick’s and the Journal’s track record this article is just a little too conveniently timed to counterbalance the ethics-reform legislation that Brad Winter is introducing at Monday’s council meeting. You know, the reform legislation Winter’s promised the voters during his campaign. You’ve got to love it. A politician doing exactly what he promised to do.

The problem is that with Vigil on trial, and Riordan and Garcia’s close ties to the Governor and Mayor, Winter’s quick move to action on ethics reform is making the Democrats look pretty bad. My guess is that the strategy they devised to counter Winter’s straightforward approach is going to backfire. You see, they picked on the wrong guy. Heck, even the Alibi noted that “[the one thing] everyone seems to agree on is that Winter is impeccably honest.”

Now maybe it’s just me, but it sure does seem that Mr. Ludwick and the Journal are beginning to look very Ratheresque.