Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hypocrisy continues on Harrison Street

I am deeply concerned about the health of the leadership at the Amarillo Globe-News. In the story about getting public records from the Amarillo Police Department, the paper’s publisher, Les Simpson, risks breaking his arm patting himself on the back. I wonder if that’s covered under workers comp?

But, the reality in this story is once again, the Amarillo Globe-News continues its disinformation campaign.
There are, in fact, times when the city of Amarillo and the APD have made it more difficult to get public records. But, the APD knows well what is and isn’t public record and with the right information and approach, the department will turn over records. Usually, Sgt. Brent Barbee and Cpl. Jerry Neufeld can turn a request around quickly. Not always. And, yes, they are protective of the department’s foibles. But Barbee and Neufeld aren’t much different than another of the other public information officers in Amarillo. The culture in Amarillo is that the media are here to serve as the public relations mouthpieces for the governments and big institutions.

Some of that attitude is reflected in the Globe-News story, if accurate, quoting APD Chief Robert Taylor as claiming redacting the reports to remove privileged information is, in essence, too much work.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Morris Communications and the Amarillo Globe-News have eviscerated the newsroom. Those in the trenches are spread pretty thin. That’s no excuse for the “cops” reporter, who should be making a daily trip to the APD to check the blotter (I did that on occasion) and to maintain a professional relationship with the department’s PR people. Blaming the police department for the paper missing a story because the department didn’t issue a news release is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

However, there is a larger problem to which I’ve referred often. It’s the hypocrisy of the Amarillo Globe-News leadership. Simpson, quoted by his own media outlet, said ““Our job is to report and disseminate news and to determine what’s in the public interest.”

So, why hasn’t this third-rate devoted the same effort to covering downtown development? Or the City Council? Or Downtown Amarillo Inc.? Or the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.?

Clearly, the City Council and others spending millions of our dollars without due diligence isn’t in the public interest, according to the Globe-News. Clearly, hiring a master developer with a clear record of fraudulent behavior isn’t in the public interest. But why go on.

Early voting for the City Council begins April 27. The election is May 9. You know what you have to do.