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Riled up Over the AJC January 22, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Politics.

Okay, so I had to comment on this a bit further.  For those of you whom are my Facebook friends, you probably saw this note topic this morning, and some of you may have seen the ensuing comment thread.  Here is the short version – the main front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, considered a major newspaper because of the population that it serves, I guess, had a photo of ex-president George W. Bush in the middle of a crowd with the headline, “Hello, Texas.”  Now, with due deference, there was, apparently either an inauguration insert or an outer inauguration wrapper, depending on which version of the paper you received.  However, when looking for the full print edition on-line, the front page of the AJC had a picture of Bush with the headline of him being back in Texas.

I took note of this while, again, watching “Morning Joe” while getting ready for work.  They were flipping all of the main pages of the major newspapers around the country, all of which had a photo and coverage of yesterday’s Inauguration.  When the AJC flipped by, though, I almost dropped my cereal.  There was “W.”, in a throng of people in Texas, with “Hello, Texas” across the top.  Now, first my own thoughts.  I think it is absurd that any “major” newspaper in this country would make the “editorial” decision to put Bush anywhere close to the front page the day after a new President was inaugurated.  Next, even if they thought, hey, no one else will be covering this story…yeah, I can’t even come up with an excuse for that because I can’t even imagine they would be that crazy.  Finally, I could understand this headline in Dallas, given that’s who got stuck with him.  But, I think that the other responses were much more interesting, especially given the passion with which some reacted.

Several folks seemed to be of like mind with me, that not putting the inauguration on the official first page was a substantial lack of judgment.  Others were quite vehement about Georgia being a red state and the paper marketing to red state readers.  While I believe that is giving way too many residents of this metro area for reading the AJC, I understand the argument.  However, there are some stories that are news, and others are not.  It was known from January 20, 2005, that yesterday would be the day that George W. Bush left office.  It could be assumed that he would go back to Texas.  It was well-known for months that he would be moving into a neighborhood in Dallas that originally would not let owners sell to balck people.  All of these were givens months ago, and they were givens yesterday afternoon, and they were OLD NEWS when the paper came out this morning.

So, my point is, they put something on the front page that was in no way, shape, or form news.  Hell, a full page on Michelle’s dresses would’ve been more newsworthy than “crowd meets ex-President in his home state.”  Wow, really?  That is staggering.  As residents of a major metropolitan area, we should really expect more from our hometown paper.  Yes, I know, they may not be around that much longer, but while they are, it would be nice if they were actually doing their jobs – being journalists and coming up with actual news.



1. Mary Beth - January 23, 2009

Um, I live in Atlanta and subscribe to that paper, and the Obamas were on the front page. The inauguration section was on top of every edition I saw for sale at stores too. I don’t understand why people are throwing a fit about this.

Just look on ebay. The papers are for sale on there with the Obama page on top! They look like stacks of papers straight from the press.

Do you even live in Atlanta or know anything about the newspaper here?

rscottgriffin - January 23, 2009

Yes, Mary Beth, thank you for your comment. I do live in Atlanta, which is why I took notice of the front page that was splashed on a national news program. It is also the reason I chose to express my opinion, which I am entitled to do. Since I hold the entire editorial decision-making for this blog, this is my forum.

If you will go back and read the post, I noted that there was a special inauguration section that some may have received on the outside of the paper. However, if you went on ajc.com on Wednesday and searched for the print edition, the page that was retrieved as the front page, the one with the large, “Atlanta Journal-Constitution” banner across the top, was the one with the “Hello, Bush” statement.

My comment was simply directed to a bad editorial decision to put something on the main front page that was not news at all. Apparently others have agreed. Doubly so, that is the front page that was broadcast to a substantial number of viewers of a national morning news program. I also believe that the residents of the “capital city of the south” demand a much better local news source. I am now thankful that we have access to the internet and other news sources that publish real news.

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