Before I jump into that, I need to clarify something for you. When I write about Bob Moore’s use of the El Paso Times as the vehicle for distorting the public record, I am not ignoring that the newspaper reports are generated by news reporters, some of which do a good job reporting the news. It has always been my contention that Bob Moore manipulates the public record using various tactics.
As the editor of the local daily, Moore has many tactics at his disposal to influence the public perception, and thus the voter’s perception of a certain candidate. One of the tactics at his disposal is influencing the direction a news report takes. Another one is killing a story before it is published. Yet another one, and it seems his favorite, is influencing what a headlines reads regardless of the truth and the content of the article.
It is my belief that the local paper reports some stories based on Bob Moore’s direct influence, especially those that can influence a specific political agenda. I have shared examples of these before and today I am adding a new one.
As you know, on Tuesday city council voted on the nomination of various community members to be added to the sub-committee for the development of the Hispanic Cultural Center. The cultural center has become controversial and the appointment of committee members would be an important public policy agenda item. Except for an article by Diana Washington Valdez on Monday reporting the list of possible appointees, Bob Moore’s paper has been silent on the outcome.
I know some of you are thinking that I am making the lack of reporting, by the El Paso Times, on the discussion and actual vote that took place regarding the nomination of Jaime Abeytia as more than it is. This is reasonable because if you weren’t following what transpired yesterday you would not know that the discussion merited news coverage. As a matter of fact, to my knowledge, no other news outlet bothered to report what happened.
The reason I argue that the removal of Abeytia’s name for nomination should have been reported by the local paper is because, although Michiel Noe deleted the item from the consent agenda prior to the vote there was still discussion held about the future of the cultural center as a result of Lily Limon moving the item out for discussion.
As a result of Limon’s forcing the item to be discussed, city council agreed to have the city attorney bring back an item for next week clarifying whether the center is the “Hispanic” cultural center or a “Heritage” cultural center. According to city council’s discussion on Tuesday, there is some confusion because the ballot language was different then the ordinance.
The other result of the discussion held by city council yesterday was Bernie Sargent would no longer be the chair of the sub-committee being formed by city council. Instead, and this will require a modification to what city council approved previously, the chair will be elected by the committee membership. This change is result of Limon pointing out that Sargent has publicly opposed the naming of the center as the “Hispanic” cultural center.
Obviously, these are newsworthy items that should have been reported by the news media, yet they weren’t. I am sure some of you are asking yourselves why is it that I’m singling out the El Paso Times and not the rest of the news media about this debacle.
It has to do with the historical record that I have compiled about Bob Moore that leads me to believe it is more than simple incompetence. Consider the following.
Essentially, Jaime Abeytia’s proposed appointment to the subcommittee was controversial. The fact that decisions were made about the committee was news worthy. Bob Moore has not being shy about allowing the publishing of controversial appointments to city boards. They make headlines when it comes to appointments affecting his political leanings.
Consider the case of Rick Bonart’s appointment to the Public Service Board, or better yet the lack of his reappointment. On December 11, 2013, Cindy Ramirez reported for the El Paso Times the controversy of city council not being reappointed to a second term on the PSB. Like on Tuesday, Bonart’s appointment was taken out of the consent agenda and discussion was help about Bonart’s actions leading up to the appointment. As a matter of fact, Michiel Noe was quote by Ramirez as stating that he had concerns with Bonart’s “confrontational and rude” demeanor. Noe was the one that nominated Abeytia.
Then there is the case of Tripper Goodman. As you likely know, Leonard “Tripper” Goodman was voted off the Downtown Management District board. As was the case for the discussion about the cultural center, it was Lily Limon who made the motion to vote separately on the appointment of Goodman.
Not only did the El Paso Times report on the council’s activity regarding Goodman but the El Paso Times Editorial Board went so far as to call the incident “shameful” in an editorial published on September 22, 2013. I have no doubt that Bob Moore was instrumental in that editorial.
Clearly, controversial board appointments result in news coverage by the El Paso Times, except when it involves two individuals that Bob Moore wants to protect.
Unlike the two examples I shared with you; Bonart and Goodman, Tuesday’s city council not only involved a controversial board appointment but the discussion resulted in the newsworthy items of fundamentally changing the committee makeup and clarifying that it is an “Hispanic” cultural center.
The likely reason that it was not reported was because reporting the facts would have provided voters with information about an elected official, Michiel Noe that could influence voter perception of him and because it would have damaged Jaime Abeytia’s quest for public redemption. I believe Abeytia serves the same masters Moore does.
By not reporting the facts, the local paper has distorted the public record of a political operative and allowed an incumbent the ability to avoid voter accountability about an appointment he tried to make. To make matters worse, the fundamental changes to the cultural center debate that will be discussed at city council next week are missing from the community dialog.
As a result of the distorted public record, I am adding this event to my useful idiot scorecard with Bob Moore front and center.
Editorial note: As promised, in tomorrow’s edition, I’ll share with you Jaime Abeytia’s parole terms. Also, the next video installment will be published this afternoon.