NPT Media: Whistling past co-workers’ graves at the El Paso Times
The juxtaposition speaks for itself.
Times are tough for newspapers. Because of that, earlier this week, the El Paso Times fired three newsroom employees.
Sunday, the paper published a column by Victor Martinez in its Living Section. The article was titled: “El Pasoans whistling past the U.S. recession.”
He bases the assertion on the fact that “just last week comedian George Lopez broke his own attendance record at the Don Haskins Center as a sold-out crowd of 12,800 paid to see the stand-up veteran.”
Also, he wrote, “A few miles away at the Comic Strip Comedy Club in East-Central El Paso, The Greg Wilson was performing two sold-out shows (350 people a show).”
I don’t think he knew exactly what he was doing when wrote the column, and someone should have noticed.
Part of the column was on point. Entertainment continues to do well, as it did in the Great Depression.
But to assert that the economy isn’t in the crapper because some restaurants are doing well, because the Comic Strip was full? El Paso’s unemployment is at a five-year high. The number of homes sold through foreclosure auctions in El Paso is in the 300s monthly, well up from the numbers in 2007 and following a trend that began last year. It goes on.
Closer to home, professionally, The Rocky Mountain News shut down in Denver last week after almost 150 years of publishing. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram sent a memo to employees explaining that the paper needed to shed 12 percent of its employees and cut pay for the rest.
Heck, the El Paso Times already instituted mandatory furloughs before trimming its staff last week.
That’s where the piece really went wrong, or wrongest.
Martinez quoted from his wife — “What recession?” — and followed with an astounding comment.
“I am one of those people who have to see it to believe it, and in the circles I run in, I haven’t seen it.”
Hey, folks, look up from your desks.
— Sito Negron