On Monday, January 27, 2014 County Judge Candidate Eddie Holguin told the El Paso Times masquerading as a newspaper; thanks but no thanks for the invitation to participate in the paper’s candidate endorsements. This should come as no surprise to anyone following local politics as the paper has demonstrated a bias towards candidates that show independence from certain political factions.
In an open letter to the editor, Eddie Holguin thanked the paper “for the invitation to participate” in their “candidate endorsement interviews”. Holguin continues; “Regrettably, it has been increasingly obvious that your newspaper continues to slant stories and editorials to manipulate public opinion to support specific candidates”. Eddie Holguin details examples of the paper’s inability to pursue journalistic integrity by writing that the paper uses “misleading headlines”, publishes “incomplete stories” and “distorts quotes”. He adds that “exaggeration seem to be the order of the day”.
Holguin continues, “I will not accept your invitation to sit through an editorial board interview”.
He writes that his “record over the last 9 years is solid and clear evidence” of his “commitment to putting taxpayers first”. He then adds;
“Sadly, I feel all I can expect from you (El Paso Times) is that my words will be taken out of context if not distorted completely, my policy positions will be trivialized and then ridiculed by your editors.” Adding that his “efforts to defend taxpayers” and his “advocacy for fiscal prudence will be buried by shameless propaganda” for the paper’s endorsee.
He continues that it would “be a great disservice” to the community for him to “enable and otherwise legitimate the farce”.
Although the paper would like the community to believe that its endorsements are relevant, the fact is that the electorate now recognizes that the paper is nothing more than a spokesperson for those in power. Last year, during the mayoral elections the paper published an editorial endorsement of Steve Ortega.
Even after it was clear the electorate wasn’t drinking the Steve Ortega Kool-Aid, the paper, in the June 2, 2013 editorial, wrote that it believes that Steve Ortega will “listen to the complaints that many El Pasoans are raising about the process (ballpark), bring more people in to the conversation about the city’s future”, and “continue” the city’s progress. This is the same Steve Ortega that is still suing to keep city-related business emails secret from the electorate. This is the same Steve Ortega that was resoundingly beaten by Oscar Leeser in one of the most lopsided politician versus non-politician elections ever held.
I’m sure the paper continues to argue that the purchase of its building by Steve Ortega’s cohorts on city council had nothing to do with his endorsement. Just as I’m also sure that the fact that the paper shared a building with the Ortega Campaign was also a coincidence.
Either way, I think it is a smart political strategy by the Holguin Campaign not to give credibility to the local paper by participating in a flawed process. As a matter of fact, it is shrewd as the paper has a history of endorsing those who come up short at the polls.