Thursday, September 14, 2006

Matt Farrauto

What's wrong with this picture?

This is Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director Matt Farrauto. He is seen here in the jacket, prior to the Jeff Armijo press conference, talking with; the Albuquerque Tribune’s state political reporter Kate Nash, KOB’s Eyewitness News 4 reporter Jeff Maher and the Albuquerque Journal’s state news staff writer Trip Jennings.

No, that’s not a halo over his head….

I contacted the Democratic Party headquarters today because I wanted to confirm Jeff Armijo’s father’s name. Farrauto had told me his name was Art, but I was later unsure and did not want to publish without being absolutely clear.

Farrauto was not at his office so I called his cellular phone, but had to leave a voice message.

I called back the headquarters and asked if they knew the name. The operator said he did not, so I asked him if there was anyone in the office who might know. There was a moment’s hesitation; he then asked who I was. I told him I was a UNM journalism student. The operator said he would look it up on the Internet and placed me on hold. A few moments later, the operator returned and confirmed the name as, “Art, Art Armijo.”

A few minutes later, Farrauto called me. I reintroduced myself as having met him yesterday and told him that when I had not made contact with him on his cell phone, I had called the headquarters and confirmed the name. His immediate reaction was that no one was authorized to speak to the press but himself and that he was going to have to take care of that. I suggested to him that the operator had been very helpful with a simple question.

Farrauto seemed to get more angered because, “we have a hard and fast rule.” I told him not to take it out on the operator and he said, “Maybe he didn’t know you were a journalist.” I told him I had identified myself as a journalism student and that it hadn’t been like the operator had given away any Party secrets; he had answered a very reasonable question and made life easy for me.

So what's wrong with this picture?

No wonder political parties are in trouble with the electorate if Farrauto’s attitude is any indication. It’s bad enough that reasonable questions at press conferences are spun so far out of shape that there is no ability to recognize the relationship to the original question. However, to control the most basic information by having a rule that a campaign worker cannot even release a name of a participant, without the blessing of the 900-pound media manager, the Party’s credibility is totally shot.

The enthusiasm of workers, who volunteer their time to political campaigns, should not be dampened by anything more than a press flak, who has some elevated and flowery title.

Where does a 900-pound gorilla sleep?

Anywhere he wants!

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