All the News That Fits an Agenda

Do you depend on the El Paso Times to keep you informed on local news?

Or maybe you count on the El Paso Times on-line spinoff, former El Paso Times editor Bob Moore’s El Paso Matters.

Do you think those two esteemed local news organs tell you all you need to know?

Last Saturday, the State Board of Review of the Texas Historical Association voted unanimously to recommend Downtown El Paso to the National Register of Historic Places.

For historians, that’s a big deal. It means that historical properties within the footprint of the Downtown Historic District can get tax incentives for sprucing up their buildings.

Apparently it’s also a big deal for some downtown property owners who are challenging the nomination. The corporations suing the Texas Historical Association are River Oaks Properties, Ltd.; 408 Espita, LLC; 201 Stanton, LLC; Hasieran, LLC; Hunt Oregon, LLC; Red Balloon, LP; Yellow Balloon, LP; The Clean Group, LP; and Sotoak Realty, LLC.

Maybe those corporations got bad legal advice from their lawyers at Kemp Smith. Or maybe they took advice from the City Attorney. Having properties within an historic district does not automatically confer protected status to those buildings. The owners could still raze their buildings to create another fine vacant lot. I hear vacant lots are El Paso’s last bull market.

Or maybe, just maybe, the individuals hiding behind those corporate veils don’t want anyone else to have any fun. Maybe they’re like the crabs in a bucket, intent on dragging everyone who might succeed back into the scrum.

Maybe they’re trying to queer the deal because they didn’t get their beaks wet.

Maybe they’re just jerks.

With so many parties actively invested in the Downtown Historic District, and so many others, like myself, just interested in watching the action, you’d think that the city’s English language daily, and its online spin-off, might run an article on the issue.

KTSM did. KVIA did, also. So did the El Paso Inc., as well as El Diario de El Paso.

The El Paso Times, and, breathed nary a whisper.

Curious, innit? With the COVID quarantine in force, there is less news to report these days. Between the front page and the back page of the A Section of the El Paso Times, the English language daily runs obituaries and whatever they can lift from the USA Today network. Occasionally they’re so hard up for news that they delve into the San Angelo police blotter.

(To be honest, there are few things I prefer to read over coffee than the San Angelo police blotter.)

Why do you suppose they’d skip coverage of a feel-good story like the Downtown Historic District?

It might be intentional self-censorship, in deference to the local fat cats. Or it might be incompetence. Remember, the El Paso Times did endorse Dee Margo for mayor, and Mr. Margo only got 20% of the vote. Was that incompetence, or serving the oligarchs?

Like Tom says, it could be both.

Journalism used to be an honorable profession. These days, around here, not so much.


  1. sad commentary on the state of local media and yea, deference to local fat cats…. I decided to stop subscribing to the print edition a couple of months ago ($240/yr!!??!!), but get the digital to check obituaries. One positive thing: the EPT called upon Ted Cruz to resign. And EPM is doing a better job than the EPT of covering council, education, and some community news.

  2. Speaking of important stories to cover, how about Redistricting?
    No matter what your issue – health care, immigration, civil rights, environment, or other concern – we must eliminate gerrymandering before elected officials will attend to your issue.

    Monday, 26 Jan 2021, 8 AM in El Paso, will be the start of the Texas Senate Special Committee on Redistricting regional public-input hearings.
    The details of how to attend and testify will be available 72 hours in advance at the Senate Redistricting Committee website: NOTE: Times on the website are Central Standard Time and you must convert to Mountains Standard Time.
    send me your email address and i’ll send you much more info.

  3. I gladly stopped my EPT subscription way back in 2004. Of course, we did move away from El Paso that year, and did not return until 2012. But, I saw no reason to start a new subscription upon our return, and still don’t. Considering how poorly they cover local news, and how far from real journalism their product now is, maybe they should just revert to a weekly format, and try to emulate the old “SunShopper.”

  4. EPT is a “media property” of Gannett Co., corpspeak for not locally controlled like, e.g., EP Inc is.

    1. The El Paso Times is a news-gathering outpost for USA Today. Remember last year, when El Paso was the eye of the media hurricane? And before that, Beto ran for Congress. Gannett decided they needed some boots on the ground here on a more-or-less permanent basis.

      It’s good for El Paso to get some national press. It’s too bad that the Times can’t deliver a local product that’s not tainted by the pro-developer spin.

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