The single most important issue that I have been focused on in my blog since its inception is my belief that the high level of El Paso corruption and ineptitude, that has led to one of the highest tax rates, is the local news media. Specifically, editors and reporters who supported the Caballero-Rodriguez-Shapleigh troika that created the children’s hospital and the ballpark fiasco, among many other controversial issues. The most recent controversial issue is the attempt to displace the Duranguito community to make way for the proposed arena.
David Crowder was at the El Paso Times when the Caballero’s BHI scheme attempted to destroy Segundo Barrio. Crowder wrote many pieces defending the Caballero regime while attacking those that tried to hold them accountable. I challenged Crowder, through my blog, on some of his articles. He once called me up imploring me that it was his job that was on the line when he asked me to lay off one of his facts. Another time, I pushed David Crowder to write the piece about former city representative Dan Power not living in his district.
In early August of 2004, there were many rumors of Dan Power having moved to New Mexico. Like all others, I had heard the rumors but I did not have the proof. I had pictures of his empty house, taken through the windows, but I did not have enough to go on. But I felt the story needed to get out, so I posted on my online forum that I was about to break the news the next day about Dan Power.
David Crowder, seeing my post, immediately wrote a piece about Dan Power not living in the district and it was printed in the El Paso Times the next day. Crowder had nothing more than the rumors we all had. But the El Paso Times was feeling the heat from the bloggers and felt they needed to break the news.
In essence, I forced David Crowder to write a news piece that gave me the security to comment about it on my own blog. Dan Power resigned on August 16, 2004.
But I did not believe that it was Crowder who was making the call on how controversial issues were covered. I believe that it was Bob Moore, under the direction of the Caballero-Rodriguez-Shapleigh troika.
After the El Paso Times, Crowder worked at the Newspaper Tree through various iterations of it. Crowder developed the persona of doggedly working a story through the Newspaper Tree. Yet, I still felt that David Crowder was too soft on Caballero-related issues and ignored many topics that were negative to the Caballero-led fantasy of taxing El Paso into oblivion.
I was compelled to write this post today because of a back-and-forth between David Karlsruher and David Crowder on Karlsruher’s blog. What I refer to as the Caballero-Rodriguez-Shapleigh troika, David Karlsruher refers to them as the children of Shapleigh. Karlsruher and I generally agree on Shapleigh’s surrogates taking over city hall. David Crowder chimed in to basically challenge Karlsruher on the notion that the Shapleigh surrogates were detrimental to El Paso. What Crowder pointed, out in his comments, are the projects that many of us believe is the cause of the high taxes in El Paso and the displacement of certain neighborhoods that tend to be minorities.
Crowder asked Karlsruher to speculate if things would be better in El Paso if the Shapleigh surrogates hadn’t taken over the taxation of the city.
For me, this back-and-forth finally clarified for me that David Crowder believes in the public policy agenda of prosperity through taxation.
I have no problem with David Crowder opining as he sees fit. However, I have always felt that David Crowder represents what is wrong with the news media. A news media that sees itself as part of enabling public policy by how they report the news – rather than an impartial observer and reporter of the news.
David Crowder has exposed some dirty dealings in El Paso. But I also believe that he has enabled other dirty dealings, either by allowing himself to be bullied by an editor that controls his paycheck, or by injecting his personal belief into how he covers news events.
Look at the picture and ask yourself this simple question – does the picture represent the detached observer and reporter of the news, or does it portray the advocate of a certain agenda scolding those that oppose it? (I especially like the finger pointing while holding the reporter’s notebook in the other hand.)
Your answer to that question is how you see David Crowder, as a news reporter.