Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marty's Dilema

I don’t want to pick on the new guy, so I’ll be tactful here.

Hell, who am I kidding, let’s just rip the band aid off.

My question is this, is Marty Schladen of the El Paso Times not reporting county business accurately or is it being edited that way?

Bear with me, because this is complicated and might take a while.

He’s in a tough position. He’s the new guy in town. He has two beats, the City and County. That used to be covered by two reporters and now is covered by one.

I’m sure there is a part of him that wants to please his boss, Milan Simonich.
In a piece in the El Paso Inc. there is an allegation of an alleged relationship between Simonich and TC.

I read a piece in the El Paso Times written by Marty Schladen where he gives a recap of a confrontation between County Judge Anthony Cobos and the Public Defender Clara Hernandez. She had taken issue with the fact that Judge Cobos said he’d lost faith in her performance.

The apparent catalyst of the conversation was an article written by Marty Schladen in Sunday’s Edition of the El Paso Times.

The PD stood up for herself and said that she felt that Cobos was assisting Leeds and Caballero because she felt Cobos was beholden to them politically since they represented him. But perhaps Hernandez’s most interesting revelation was that she would only contact the Times reporter via email because she felt the Times was biased. Here is the audio from that exchange in case you missed it.

She cited the aforementioned El Paso Inc article as her reason for feeling a bias. She followed up by saying she didn’t want to talk to someone from the El Paso Times because of a “very close relationship between Ms. Caballero and someone at the El Paso Times.” The PD expanded by saying, “…and I imagine it’s the truth because no one has denied it...during Ms. Caballero’s campaign the El Paso Times covered the campaign, gave her a lot of media coverage, but never disclosed that such a relationship existed…”

I sent an email to Chris Lopez and the editor at the time inquiring about a tip I received. The tip I received was that there was discussion with management about a possible alleged relationship between Simonich and Caballero. The tip further alleged that Simonich was given a directive to not cover Caballero and subsequently allegedly wrote a piece about Caballero. Simonich allegedly changed the by line to the name of another reporter and the issue came to the attention of management. I was attempting to ascertain the validity of that information and to establish if there was any punitive action on the part of management as a result.

To date, I have received no answer to that email query.

Which brings me back to Schladen. Unfortunately for him, he will now not only have to report the news, he could quite probably become part of the news. He covers the County which means he will at some point end up covering Caballero, which puts him in a bad position because Simonich is his boss and edits his stories.

If you heard my show yesterday, I read Schladen’s recap over the air. Actually not all of it, but most of it. My attention was drawn to one point I found particularly interesting. As you can see here, Schladen paraphrases Hernandez’s critique of the Times and her belief that the Times is bias.

I read the sentence and made the remark that there was a period where there should be a coma. The sentence says, “Hernandez told the commissioner s that a weekend news story about the issue contained ‘misrepresentations,’ and she said the El Paso Times is biased.”

The Times doesn’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell WHY Hernandez feels the El Paso Times is biased.

If you listen to the recording at the bottom of this piece, you can hear everything she says.

The Times article stops at the part where Hernandez mentions an alleged relationship between Caballero and an employee of the Times. The Inc article Hernandez refers to identifies that employee as none other than Schladen’s boss, Milan Simonich.

In my opinion that means that Schladen either left that information out of the piece out of an abundant desire to please his boss, or it was edited out by the very person that is allegedly part of the reason that Hernandez believes there is a bias in favor of Caballero by the El Paso Times.

But I wanted to check with the El Paso Times to be sure and give them an opportunity to tell their side of the story. I submitted several questions to Marty Schladen and CC’d Milan Simonich, Chris Lopez, and the new publisher. Since I didn’t get an answer by the afternoon, I thought I’d call up Schladen.

I introduced myself and told him I was following up about my email. He said, “…I’m not gonna get down in the weeds about some El Paso Inc story. Ya know, I just can’t do it…”
I followed up by asking if the omission of why Hernandez thought the El Paso Times was biased was his call or edited out.

“Yeah, it was my call.” He replied.

Surely the Times isn’t having Simonich edit pieces that have to do with Caballero right? They wouldn’t do that, would they?

Would they?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor Marty Schladen. He was hired by Milan Simonich and has to write articles to please him and Theresa Caballero. Was watching Commissioner's Court on TV and could see him outside talking to TC and writing down what she was telling him. All of his articles about the Public Defender's Office have been very biased. He can't write anything good about the PD or he'd probably be fired. Must be hard to be a good reporter at the Times.

Stefanie P.