What’s Wrong With This Picture?
September 26, 2010
Ched MacQuigg and I went to cover Congregation Albert’s gubernatorial debate and ran into a brick wall.We were met by several official greeters at the front door. Upon seeing our camera equipment, asked if we were press and directed us to a side door being used as the media entrance.
Democratic Party of New Mexico Press Secretary James Hallinan blocked the side door and said there was an authorized media list that the Congregation Albert's Brotherhood group put together and sent us around to the front door again.
The official greeters for the Brotherhood said that there was an "official" list, but they hadn't generated it, the campaigns did.
Rick Nathanson stepped forward and said bloggers were not on the list; he invited us in, but not with our cameras.
Contrary to any journalistic creed, MacQuigg and I decided to go listen.We dumped the equipment in the vehicle, but the doors were closed when we returned moments later because it was 11 am. Nathanson had gone back into the building without informing the doormen of what he had told us.
I spoke with Congregation Albert's Administrator Paula Hollonger (above, right, speaking with MacQuigg) about not having gotten through their automated phone system late in the week.
Reason: Thursday was the end of the Jewish High Holy Days. She said that there had been such a deluge of phone calls that with the pressure to set up for the debate the recorded phone calls had not been listened to.
MacQuigg and I waited until the debate finished.
“Bloggers were not allowed,” Nathanson, who is an Albuquerque Journal Staff Feature Writer, a Brotherhood member, and the holder of the "official" media list, said after the event. He had the list and was going to show it to us, but when I raised my camera, he wouldn’t show it to us.
MacQuigg and I engaged Nathanson in the first amendment debate; he obviously never had it before. Stopped in his tracks, he had a lot to think about; the difference between his "press organization" and a journalistically based blogger, which he was willing to differentiate from his initial stated bias that “bloggers are ‘all’ opinion based -- therefore can't be journalists,” theory.
Nathanson, as a journalist and church leader makes the same mistake that the various government public information officers make in regards to the First Amendment. They interpose the word "journalist" where the words "freedom of speech or of the press" are found in the First Amendment. Nathanson, the PIOs and many others don't want a free press to include those who publish or post on the internet to be included in the protections of the First Amendment.
“The Brotherhood was forced to make a concession in order to make this event happen,” Nathanson said, blaming the list on the campaigns.
"Let them all in; it was not the Martinez camp,” who insisted on restricting coverage, said Martinez’ Campaign Manager Ryan Cangiolosi, above left with Rob Nikolewski.
“I’ve done everything I can to help you, but it is out of my control.” Democratic lt. gov. nominee Brian Colõn said.
When asked if he was running his campaign, he said, “no.” It seems “you have burned your bridges with everyone,” Colõn said.
Bloggers were allowed in. Nikolewski, Editor of Capitol Report New Mexico told me he got in as media. However, he took no pictures.
Mary Ellen Brodrick of Democracy for New Mexico also got in, though she may not have been recognized in her role as a blogger. She also took no pictures inside because she was seated in the audience, not on press row.
Attorney General Gary King, State Treasurer James Lewis, and former Oklahoma U.S. Senator Fred Harris.
Former New Mexico Governor David Cargo, State Rep. Larry Larranaga, and State GOP Chairman Harvey Yates Jr.
Associated Press Barry Massey, KNAW FM General Manager, former City Councillor and outgoing County Commissioner Michael Brasher, and Albuquerque Journal Photographer Adolphe Pierre-Louis.
State Sen. John Ryan, (R) Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, talks with Martinez’ Field Operations Director Adam Deguire as the debate ends.
Democratic Party Chairman Zavier Gonzales talks on his cell phone, as he is one of the last to leave Congregation Albert.
So, What’s Wrong With This Picture?
MacQuigg would post on Sunday, September 26, 2010:
I asked Denish Spokesman James Hallinan to either confirm or deny that he had sent a slanderous e-mail to APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta claiming that I called him one of Denish's "evil henchmen.”
Hallinan’s exact words in reply as part of a forwarded e-mail exchange, attached to an e-mail to Janice Arnold-Jones from Armenta, were:
Thank you for everything and for being so accommodating. You and your team did an amazing job! I know Diane will be getting in touch with you all as well to express her gratitude. Ched is something else. He has blogged about me several times too and even called me Diane's evil henchman! I agree with everything you said about him, he is certainly irrational and dangerous. Sorry he caused problems, but last night was a huge success! Thanks, James
A check of MacQuigg’s blog Diogenes' Six, will find only one reference to Hallinan being Diane's evil henchman!, it is in the post, Hallinan will neither confirm nor deny, made more than a week after Hallinan’s e-mail.
MacQuigg posted a story about e-mailing Hallinan three times requesting being placed on the Denish campaign press advisory mailing list. He received no response from Hallinan. MacQuigg wrote:
Until I am convinced otherwise, I hold Lt Governor Diane Denish, here seen promising New Mexicans a Sunshine Portal on state government, personally responsible for the hiding of Media Advisories from "opposition" media.
And I see no reason to suppose that a Denish Roundhouse would behave any differently.
Looks like the Democrats this time; didn't get it totally nailed down.
With Hallinan's comment that it was the Brotherhood, and Nathanson blaming it on the campaigns, the only ones to say they hadn't been involved with the list are the Republicans.
“Thank you for your e-mail, however I am denying your request. Please feel free to visit the candidates' websites for more information,” was Hallinan’s curt response to my prior request to be put on the campaigns media advisory list.
Hallinan’s mere presence, his physically blocking door, his denying media access and coverage at a “open” public event, the message he delivered, that there was an official media list produced by the Brotherhood, and the campaigns had nothing to do with establishing who was on the list, while Nathanson blamed its creation on the campaigns, and Cangiolosi insisting, “it was not the Martinez camp,” restricting coverage, confirms MacQuigg’s allegation, even if he never made it, – Hallinan is Diane's evil henchman!
The obvious question has to be, who’s running the show? Did Congregation Albert extend the invitation to simply allow the campaigns to dictate the terms of how the debate would take place? Campaigns have gotten into the habit of thinking that everybody serves them, when in fact the democratic process of election campaigning is one of the candidates seeking a job from the citizenry.
What if Congregation Albert or any other hosting organization simply said, your welcome to come, the public and media are also welcome to join our congregation, here’s how it will work.... If one or both campaigns throw a fit and one or both candidates back out, so be it. If only one backs, out hold an empty chair debate. Let the public see what kind of openness the candidate are willing to display.
“No,” Colõn said, when I asked if he was running his own campaign? The important part of his answer was he had no influence over the campaign staff. It has to make one wonder, just who is going to make the decisions if he got elected into office.
As I had written Colõn suggesting, “An open campaign is usually a sign of a future open government, while a closed campaign is almost a sure sign of a closed administration.”
Part One: Republican Party gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez’ June 10, 2010 visit to Conspiracy Brews, Martinez August 11, 2010, Education Reform Press conference
Part Four: August 22, 2010 request to Democratic nominee for Lt. Gov. Brian Colõn for assistance getting placed back on the campaign’s media list.