A new report by the American Legislative Exchange Council giving high praise to Utah’s economic successes has recently received significant but uncritical attention in Utah’s press. Maryann Martindale, executive director of the Alliance for a Better UTAH, penned the following op-ed to draw attention to the lopsided coverage.
The Deseret News published an editorial (“How to lead a recovery” May 26) and a My View by state senate president Wayne Niederhauser (“Utah’s economic advantage continues” May 28) about the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual report, both of which are unfortunate examples of this blindness. Both the editorial and My View could be mistaken as press releases straight from ALEC’s public relations department.
The editorial board went so far as to refer to ALEC’s 10 taxation rules as “basic truths.” From which mount have these basic truths come down? It certainly wasn’t Sinai.
Instead, journalists and their editorial boards have the responsibility to dig into the data a little deeper by not just parroting ALEC’s press releases. There are multiple stories at work here, and ALEC’s placement of Utah at the top of the economy captures only a tiny part of that whole story.
Better UTAH has closely followed ALEC ever since the big-business-backed lobby held their annual conference in Salt Lake City last summer.