Columnist takes heat for paper editorials

Ned Cantwell : State Columnist

Miss Thistlewhistle, when you’ve finished popping chewing gum and making purring noises over the phone to Hank the Hunk, I need some help here. No, you won’t need the IPOD, just a notepad.
Help me get a message out. Call David Stevens at the Clovis News Journal. If he’s not there, try Muleshoe. Sometimes he goes over there to ride the fiberglass mule.
Tell Betta Ferrendelli at The Observer in Rio Rancho to listen up. Daniel Russell at the Hobbs News-Sun and Billy Armendariz at the Deming Headlight might be hard to get. They don’t like to work much when it is 107 outside. Ditto for Lorenzo Alba at the Lordsburg Liberal.
Call Ralph Damiani at the Los Alamos Monitor, Troy Turner at The Daily Times in Farmington, Dana Bowley at the El Defensor Chieftain in Socorro. You won’t find Bob Trapp in his office at his Rio Garnde Sun in Espanola. This is the day he puts on armor and sword to do battle with his community dragons.
Contact Andrea Rich at the Carlsbad Current-Argus. Don’t bother with Marty Racine at the Ruidoso News, Mike Bush at the Roswell Daily Record, Mike Becker, Alamogordo Daily News, or Harry Readel at the Artesia Daily Press. I’ll drive over there and talk to them myself.
Here’s the message: There’s a new condition to our relationship. In addition to the miserly checks you send me for slaving over these columns each week, I am going to have to ask each of you to send me your editorials for prior approval.
Thing is, I’m getting blamed for what you write.
See, I had the chance to lay out 20 bucks at the local country club for the opportunity to break bread with Gov. Bill Richardson. In addition, the guv’s Lincoln County guy, Don Dutton, served me a side dish of humble pie.
The day Big Bill arrived, the Ruidoso News pulled an arrow from its quiver and zinged the governor right between his shoulder blades. Here’s the final graph: “But when you have national political aspirations, grandstanding items such as a spaceport and a commuter train, or the folly of trying to bring an NFL team to the region, resonate past local school districts all the way to a bigger stage.”
Don Dutton decided to zing me. In front of 200 people he acknowledged my presence, but had harsh words for “your newspaper.” Me. Your humble correspondent. He gave me the Ruidoso News on the spot.
Figuring Don acted out of ignorance rather than nastiness, I let it go until after the meeting. Privately, I told attorney Dutton that for future reference, I owned not a nickel of equity in the newspaper, did not manage it, was not employed by the newspaper.
That would have been the end of it had Dutton not admitted he understood all that. However, he said, he needed to link a face while heaping comeuppance upon the Ruidoso paper, and he knew I had a tough skin. Oh. Talk about grandstanding.

A few minutes later Bill Richardson told me he likes me OK, “but I don’t like your paper.”

“It’s not my paper!”

It grew dead quiet. The sun disappeared. Clouds gathered. I felt remorse. I know that if I denied the Ruidoso News one more time, the cock was going to crow.

Ned Cantwell would like to dictate editorial positions if only the papers would let him. Contact him at: ncantwell@charter.net