The news media is under fire across the nation. Some call it propaganda outlets while others label it “fake news”. Journalists decry the erosion of their jobs because of the internet. While “fake news” has become the term most often used about the news media when complaining about it, for El Paso it is not “fake news” but rather it is absent news.
Complaining about the lack of news coverage isn’t new in El Paso. Many routinely complain about the lack luster news media in the city.
Bob Moore, the former El Paso Times editor and now the owner of El Paso Matters, an online news outlet, told the Texas Standard in 2017 that a “failing business model” is the main driver behind disappearing local news coverage. Moore added that because “news is increasingly consumed online, print advertisements no longer pay the bills.” Moore continued, declining local news coverage is a “real threat” to El Paso, “where we’ve had a history of poor governance and corruption.”
“As local media institutions decline,” there is “a real worry” in El Paso that the city would “revert” back its corrupt past, Moore concluded.
On October 6, 2017, Bob Moore left the El Paso Times “to preserve reporting resources after he was asked to make payroll cuts” at the newspaper, according to a September 19, 2017 El Paso Times staff report. In 2019, Moore teamed up with the El Paso Community Foundation to create a non-profit online news outlet. Earlier this year, the El Paso Matters was launched by Moore.
In October 2019, Bob Moore told The Prospector, a UTEP publication, that he “quickly noticed a decline of local news coverage due to lack of money available to produce and deliver news.”
Moore created the El Paso Matters as a non-profit news outlet “that focuses on local news” according to The Prospector. In addition to the El Paso Matters online publication, there is also the El Paso Herald Post that was launched by Chris Babcock around 2015.
Even with the El Paso Matters’ focus on local news and several other local news organizations important local issues remain uncovered.
Nationally, El Paso plays a significant part on national issues, most notably being targeted by a mass shooter in 2019 and the ongoing controversies around the Border Patrol.
In the case of the Border Patrol, the El Paso Politics and the El Paso News have reported El Paso’s nexus in the controversies over the BORTAC team, responsible for rounding up protestors in unmarked vehicles, and the family separation border crisis. The local news media has been largely silent in these topics.
However, where the local news media is most notably absent is the ongoing issues at the El Paso Children’s Hospital.
The Children’s Hospital is an important local news issue that affects the people of El Paso.
David Crowder reported twice on the Saucedo malpractice lawsuit in recent El Paso Inc. articles. Yesterday was his second particle. In addition to the El Paso Inc. articles, there has been a small blurb reported by KVIA in a piece without a byline and another piece in El Diario, the Juárez newspaper.
Other than those reports, the El Paso news media has been noticeably absent.
The El Paso Children’s Hospital is not just an issue of a malpractice lawsuit. Two complaints alleging serious deficiencies in the quality of care being delivered at the children’s hospital have been filed with relevant authorities. Those are in addition to several lawsuits alleging malpractice, also filed recently.
A letter from a group of doctors and another from nurses, all alleging issues at the El Paso Children’s Hospital have also been published.
In addition to questions about the safety of children at the hospital and the quality of care at the medical facility, the children’s hospital is also a liability to the taxpayers of the community.
The El Paso Children’s Hospital issue, by all newsworthy measures, is an issue that deserves the attention of the local news media.
Yet, the local news media remains silent on the topic.
At least 80 local news media contacts have received the same set of documents that the El Paso Inc., El Paso Politics and the El Paso News have received and reported on over the last few weeks.
The documents paint a troubling picture of the children’s hospital.
And, yet, the news media has refused to cover the issue, except for David Crowder.
It is unknown whether Bob Moore at El Paso Matters has received the documents. However, the issue is now before the community. Is this a case of the “decline in local news coverage” a reality that Moore predicted, or is there something else involved? Bob Moore’s publication ostensibly focuses on local news coverage but somehow the issues facing the El Paso Children’s Hospital do not seem to garner much attention from Moore’s publication.
For that matter, the rest of El Paso’s news media outlets seem to not care about an important issue involving the health and safety of El Paso’s children and the pocketbooks of the taxpayers.
The question is why.