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Fiesta Frenzy

Five years ago, just before Santa Fe’s annual Fiesta, three members of Don Diego De Vargas’s cuadrillo were suspended for drinking and rowdy behavior at a Mariachi celebration at the Santa Fe Opera. Interviewed by the New Mexican, the president of the Fiesta Council was forthcoming and the incident was quickly forgotten.

If only the Council’s present leadership was so savvy. On October 14, Anne Constable, one of the New Mexican’s most experienced reporters, wrote about a fight at this year’s Gran Baile between some young women in the Royal Court. The ruckus resulted in the filing of dueling police reports, and La Reina, the Fiesta Queen, was treated at the hospital for a minor injury. Two days later, as more information became available, Ms. Constable expanded on the story.

Throughout all this, the Fiesta Council turned down her requests for interviews, but that hasn’t stopped it from complaining, in a public statement, that the New Mexican’s coverage was “one-sided.” It was also “sensational” and “gossipy,” and Ms. Constable, we’re told, “failed in her duty to produce a truthful, honest, fair, and objective newspaper article.”

Her real offense, of course, was refusing to be intimidated into dropping a legitimate story that some influential individuals wanted hushed up. By slandering a good reporter, the Council has brought far more embarrassment down on itself than that caused by the behavior of a few immature young adults.

George Johnson
The Santa Fe Review