by Geoff Kelly - posted 11:11 am, November 26, 2008
Here’s something that drives me crazy about the Buffalo News: the “Another Voice” column on the editorial page. It would be a nice idea, except that so often it is not given over to “another” voice. It is given, rather, to the same old voices: to people who are frequently quoted as sources in articles, who are in positions of political or economic power, to folks whose job is to push agendas—to people, in other words, who have no difficulty making their voices heard.
Today’s “Another Voice” column is by Ron Rienas, general manager of the Public Bridge Authority. None of the evasions he offers here are new, nor has Rienas lacked opportunity to make them in a public forum. He has been quoted in at least 40 Buffalo News articles in the past year. He wrote another “Another Voice” column in January.
In the past two months, the column’s authors have included incoming State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who earns headlines somewhere in that state nearly every day; Tom Golisano, who can order up a microphone and reporter whenever he needs one; Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte, with whose column I agree but who already has occasion to speak with reporters weekly; UB President John Simpson, stumping for the UB 2020 plan that is frequently the subject of articles in the news pages; Erie County Executive Chris Collins, also no stranger to headlines; and outgoing Congressman Tom Reynolds, who, it is true, has not been much in the limelight in the past two years.
And Rienas’ column today is a response to a recent “Another Voice” piece by attorney David Colligan, chairman of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. I agree with much of what Colligan says in that piece, but he’s another guy who hardly lacks opportunity to speak his mind: He is quoted in the pages of the Buffalo News about once a month, sometimes more often than that.
In between these privileged perspectives, the column frequently comprises articles by the mouthpieces for lobbying or special interest groups. It would be nice, I think, if “Another Voice” were afforded solely to those who are invisible in the news media, underrepresented in government, underserved by our institutions and economy.