Monday, March 30, 2009

Media Blog Post Sparks Reactions.

I listen to talk radio, read newspapers, read blogs, listen to podcasts and take in information where ever I can, for two reasons. Entertainment and information. Now I try to not be one sided about it, I don't hardly ever agree with Rush Limbaugh but I listen to him at least once a week just to see what the other side is saying. So when I blog I try to write about things in a manner which provokes thoughts and opinions and maybe even some self introspection. When people write about me, whether it is comments in the New Mexican web site, a news story, a blog, or an opinion piece. I try to see things from the writers perspective.

I was happy to see that my last post "Has the legislature become beholden to the media" was read by someone and it provoked a reaction. I enjoyed comments from the two blogs who have responded to the blog post so far. The first to respond was David Alire Garcia in the New Mexico Independent Blog. He threw in some great compliments, (thanks David) along with some thoughtful analysis of my blog post. What I took as the main point from David's piece was that he felt I painted the media with a broad brush. Which I have to admit I did.

Now the media is not used to being criticized. Who does a Larry Barker type story on a media outlet? When the media goes to far or is not fair and balanced who can do anything about it? I feel that Fox News is the most biased news organization in the history of modern media. And most polls say a large segment of the public agrees. However, as long as they have marketing people who can sell advertisements they will broadcast what they want in the manner they want and the public be damned.

My whole point in using the broad brush was to get people thinking about when the same brush is used to paint lobbyists. I know people who lobby for no money what so ever. They do it because they care (it is why I sometimes lobby). I also know people who get paid to lobby. And they are not all the big bad people which politicians and the media portray them as. In fact maybe what lobbyists need is a good lobbyist. Some are honest hard working people who are just doing their jobs and advocating for their cause whatever that cause may be. I also think that when the media advocates a position or chooses to run certain story's during a legislative session with an underlying slant, they are making a conscious choice to lobby.

The next reacting blogger was another Dave, Dave Maass of the Santa Fe Reporter, In his Blog Post titled "Sheriff Cuffs SFR and the NM press". Wow, the first thing that caught my eye from the title and in the blog post was that Dave seemed to take my blog post as a personal affront to the Santa Fe Reporter and maybe even himself. This was never meant to be the case. In fact I think because the Santa Fe Reporter is an alternative news paper is supposed to be about more than just the facts and has the ability to be more opinionated than a daily traditional paper. Its why I read it. Heck, let me see the Albuquerque Journal run the Dan Savage column on a daily or weekly basis.

Now Dave, before I get into an analysis of your blog post I have to ask for a correction. I did attend several committee hearings during the last session of the legislature but I never attended nor did I advocate against or for the act barring officers convicted of domestic violence. It just did not happen. The first time I ever discussed the issue was during the live blogging session I popped in on during the waning days of the session. I testified in support of a Sheriff's PERA bill, against the profiling bill (I opposed a small part of the bill and stated I could support it if that section were removed). I testified against sections of the Juvenile code rewrite and I opposed the bill specifying how police lineups and photo arrays should be handled. I also wrote letters to all Senators prior to their vote on the Double Dipping bill.

Dave writes in his blog post....

Editorialization isn’t the same as lobbying. Money isn’t donated. We don’t hold closed door negotiations. Journalists don’t hand pre-written legislation to lawmakers (except for laughs). We don’t testify in committee.
The clearly editorial newsprint or TV story is not what I am talking about in my blog post. What I am talking about is when a news media outlet (note Dave, I said media outlet I am purposely trying to be inclusive of all news media), clearly runs what appears to be a news story that has an underlying tone of trying to put pressure on the legislature to act in a certain manner. Hmm, when you put it that way it kind of seems like lobbying. Now I am not picking on any news outlet for a reason. I can name one topic or story that has been run by any local news outlet including TV, newsprint, and Internet news, which in my opinion was written in such a manner as to get a lawmaker to write legislation or vote in a certain way on legislation moving through the house or senate.

This once again in my humble opinion is lobbying disguised as news. Now, I really don't expect to have reporters register as lobbyists, what I did want was to exercise my free speech and throw out there my thoughts on the first session of the 2009 49th legislature. What I really think happened here is lobbyist is such a dirty word in our society that when I even made the suggestion a reporter, editor or news organization could be called one I hurt someones feelings. It kind of reminds me of the first time someone called me a politician. I was just a former cop who wanted to serve our community as Sheriff. Somewhere along the way I became a politician. Actually let me rephrase that, "the day I made it public I was running for an elected office I became a politician".

Politician, it is also one of those words that has a bad taste in many peoples mouths. However, not all politicians are bad and not all lobbyists are bad. Heck not all reporters are bad either. ;-)



Dave Maass said...

Dude, we stood outside House Consumer & Public Affairs when the sheriffs were opposing the bill and discussed it. It was too full for you to get through the door. Don't you remember?

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

Dave, I was there that day for another bill. There were a lot of other sheriff's and the N.M. Sheriff's and Police representatives there for several bills due to be heard in committee that day. I was not there for that bill.

I don't remember discussing it with you but I had made up my mind early on,(sometime before that day) to stay out of that bill's discussion. I did not want to openly oppose my fellow sheriffs and there were good and bad parts to that bill in my opinion. If you go back to the live blogging transcript I was asked about it and I briefly discussed one of the problems I had with the bill but it was apparent I had not kept up with it since I was officially neutral on it. Sorry Dave, I still love ya but I have to disagree with you on this one.

Maassive said...

"I did not want to openly oppose my fellow sheriffs and there were good and bad parts to that bill in my opinion."

But standing there in uniform inherently demonstrates support for your fellow sheriffs and lends strength to their argument against the bill, no? I mean, that's the only reasonable conclusion for anyone sitting on that committee. Sheriff A gets up and opposes the bill while Sheriff S stands in solidarity.

I've now edited it to read:

In one case, he was standing in solidarity with other sheriffs who were opposing legislation that would've barred domestic violence offenders from becoming police officers.

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

I honestly was there for another bill that was to be heard during the committee meeting. I can't remember which one. I also have to disagree with the association described as I sat in on committee meetings where other sheriff's stood up in support of a bill and I remained seated when the chair asks (as they usually do), who is in support, stand or raise your hand, and then they ask who is here in opposition, stand or raise your hand.

I did not stand for either action thereby in my mind making it clear I was not there for the particular bill. Then when the bill I was interested in was called I expressed my advocacy.

Maassive said...

Now, that's definitely inaccurate. Seeing as you couldn't get into the room, I'm not sure how you could've raised your hand in support or opposition of any bill.

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

Dave, I was describing other committee meetings where I was in the room with other sheriff's waiting for the bill I was there for and other bills I were not there for were being discussed and supported by other sheriff's.

I was giving you a comparison of why I just because I am at a hearing where other sheriff's are there supporting a bill does not necessarily mean I am intending to show support and how by not showing support or opposition openly then no one should assume my position. This is odd, having this discussion in a comments section. Oh well.

Peter St. Cyr said...

Sheriff...At least you are commended for having the discussion in the open media, of a blog comment section; that's the point of a free press.

Dave Maass said...

I've edited it again, but the points still stand.