Some of you may have noticed that on Thursday, November 19, 2015, the El Paso Times published an article about the firing of Steve Norwood, the county’s first county administrator. The local newspaper published its account almost 15 days after I published the results of my open records request. That it took fifteen days for the local newspaper to report on why Steve Norwood was fired clearly shows that the El Paso Times, under Bob Moore is not a newspaper for informing the community, but a vehicle used for political purposes. Let me explain.
Almost all of us understands that the function of a journalist is to gather the facts and present them to the readership or viewership regardless of any political consideration. It is the job of the newspaper to present you with the evidence in order to allow you to make informed decisions.
However, in the case of the El Paso Times, it is selective on whom it investigates and on whom it reports. Today, I’ll show you the latest evidence. Here are the facts as we know them.
1. The El Paso Times has been tracking the appointment and the firing of the county’s first county administrator, Steve Norwood. This is what it should be doing. You just need to look at the number of reports the newspaper has published about Norwood to see how the newspaper understands the importance of the controversy for the community.
Additionally, we know two other things.
2. We know that the El Paso Times submitted an open records request to the County on October 30, 2015 asking for documents about the firing of Steve Norwood. I know so because on Friday, November 20, 2015, I sent Bob Moore an email asking him for a comment about why it took fifteen days for the El Paso Times to report what I had already disclosed through my open records request. For transparency purposes, it is important that you know that I copied other editors, and the reporter of the story in the paper.
Bob Moore’s response was a forwarded copy of the open records request he sent on October 30, 2015 to the county judge and the county commissioners under the Texas open records laws.
Clearly, the Moore understands that the firing of Norwood is of interest to the community.
3. We also know, from my email to Bob Moore, that he is aware of my blog. I have known for years that Bob Moore reads my blog and is aware of it. My email to him specifically stated that “as you know I blog…” Bob Moore did not dispute this in his response to me.
4. In addition to everything I have outlined above, KFOX TV and KVIA both reported on my open records request. KFOX TV on the day I published my material and KVIA the following day.
Because of the foregoing I know, for a fact, that Bob Moore understands that the firing of Steve Norwood is of community interest and that he had to have been aware that I had published source materials identifying the reasons for his firing.
Yet, it took 15 days for the El Paso Times to report the facts.
When the paper finally reported the facts, they added nothing new to what I had already reported earlier.
Why is that?
There can only be one reason and that is that reporting the facts before getting a response from their own open records request would have forced them to acknowledge my blog.
Clearly, because I criticize Bob Moore and his newspaper on a regular basis, he has decided that it is more important for him to withhold vital public information to you if it means that he has to acknowledge my blog’s existence.
I do not need the local newspaper to acknowledge my blog but Moore’s actions should have all questioning how many other essential public facts are withheld, or worse, distorted by the newspaper of record for personal or political reasons?