Category Archives: media

When PACs Attack

Recently a liberal PAC called ‘Back to Basics’ ran advertisements across 25 Texas newspapers calling Governor Rick Perry a coward for refusing to debate challenger Bill White.  The issue, though, is transparency: Bill White has refused to release his tax returns from his years in public service, and therefore hasn’t been up front with the voters.  Within the past tax releases that have been released, there was a mountain of evidence of shady, insidery deals that Bill White has made over the years, which have made him rich and, among other things, may have polluted Texas groundwater.  So the debate question hinges over whether White will release his taxes; the Perry folks have said they’ll debate once White comes clean.

So this liberal PAC sought to jettison all that back story, by resorting to gradeschool namecalling.  Thus, the idiotic “Coward” ad.

But during a Midland radio appearance earlier today, Bryan Preston, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Texas, clarified the Governor’s position and placed the spotlight on ‘Back to Basics’, which is funded by the incoming President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Steve Mostyn.

It’s an interesting tale of big-money, insider politics, and influence peddling Texas style.

Exit question: Who’s the coward here, the man who flew airplanes in the Air Force and has been in the public arena as governor for 10 years, or the man who is content to hide behind rich trial lawyers who’ll do all his dirty work for him?


Bill White’s “macaca” moment: Tells Black Group that Gov Perry wants to be the “master”

And he said this in front of a group of African-American leaders, no less.

During remarks to a group of African-American leaders having lunch at a Dallas Luby’s, Bill White said he wanted to be a servant of the people, while Gov. Rick Perry wanted to be something else.

“I’m here on a job interview,” White said at the forum sponsored by state Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway and The Elite News. “We need a governor who’s a servant, as opposed to Rick Perry, who wants to be treated as master.”

As the annoying World’s Greatest Spokesman in the World might say, yeah, he did just do that.  It’s not so much racial code as it’s the whole racial codex.  I’m not sure the race card has been played quite this heavily since Bobby Byrd, the Klan Kleagle who would become the Democrats’ “conscience of the Senate,” mumbled about Old Glory being trampled.

This a very serious moment for Bill White.  Possibly his “macaca” moment – the instant when his entire campaign could be shoved off the rails by one remark.  Only, this remark was intentional.

If there was video or audio of the “master” comment out in the wilds, he would already be reeling as it played on loops on just about every TV and radio station in Texas.

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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in bill white, media, politics


San Antonio blogger wants Ciro and Quico to “get serious”

I wouldn’t care, except this blogger blogs at the San Antonio Express-News, that’s the big newspaper reporting in the district in question, and her post offers no evidence that she has a clue what’s at the heart of that Ciro Rodriguez video from last week.  You know the one I’m talking about – Ciro Gone WILD.

Now, to blogger Maria Anglin’s objections:

Let’s talk about this video of Ciro blowing his top with some woman at a town hall meeting last week. Ciro doesn’t look too cool and collected while he’s losing his temper, does he? No sir, he doesn’t. Now a video of Ciro’s angry words is the first thing that pops up on under the header “Ciro Rodriguez: Out-Of-Control.” Does that look good? No sir, that doesn’t either.

Ciro, thanks for apologizing. Being called a liar is a punch in the gut, but it’s part of being a politician and you ought to know how to react to that kind of stuff by now. You’re no rookie; you know that. And it appears that you now realize that there is no way to take back the moral high ground once you start pounding on the tables with a newspaper to show everyone how upset you are. It’s a safe bet that everyone in the room knew you were madder than a wet hen, and that’s not your best side. You probably shouldn’t point fingers at other adults to make your point, either — it doesn’t go over well.

And Francisco “Quico” Canseco. Do you really want to lead your Web site with this? Wouldn’t it be better to lead with your take on the issues you believe are the most critical for the 23rd Congressional District, as your note posted right under the Ciro video says? If you’re leading with a fistful of “look how badthis clown looks,” what does that say about your position?

What we have here is a blogger’s failure to understand what she’s seeing.  The Ciro Gone WILD video is serious, on its own, for two reasons, and the Canseco campaign is more than justified in making a big deal out of it.  First, the video demonstrates clearly that Ciro Rodriguez doesn’t understand the bill that he voted for.  He tries citing the government’s numbers on that bill, and his own constituent calls him out for using dated figures – figures that are no longer in operation, according to the very government Rodriguez is relying on for authority here.  Rodriguez’s reaction shows that he’s operating from talking points that his party or maybe someone on his staff wrote for him (just a guess, but the talking points’ author is probably somewhere within Obama’s personal political army, Organizing for America) and he doesn’t know what to do when those talking points get blown up in front of a room full of people whose votes he’s trying to get.  So he lashes out, and looks like a menacing jerk in the process.

All of that is serious.  You want bullet points, here are a few.

1. Dem Rep Ciro Rodriguez doesn’t know what the hell he voted for or what it will cost, so

2. He relied on talking points rather than having any real understanding of the bill (which is his job, by the way), and

3. When those talking points are proven to be useless,

4. Ciro Rodriguez chooses to lash out rather than admit his shortcomings and his error in voting for that bill.

All that seems pretty clear to me.  Let’s hope it sinks in on Ciro’s defender over at the Express-News.

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Posted by on July 19, 2010 in blogs, media, Obamacare, politics, Tyranny


True Confessions

The Washington Post’s ombudsman has taken his own fishwrapper to task for not covering the Black Panther Voter Intimidation case and it’s subsequent dismissal by Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

The Post should never base coverage decisions on ideology, nor should it feel obligated to order stories simply because of blogosphere chatter from the right or the left.

But in this case, coverage is justified because it’s a controversy that screams for clarity that The Post should provide. If Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his department are not colorblind in enforcing civil rights laws, they should be nailed. If the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation is purely partisan, that should be revealed. If Adams is pursuing a right-wing agenda, he should be exposed.

In response to this criticism their editor, Kevin Merida,  justified WaPo’s tardiness in wading into the controversy, wishing they’d gotten on the ball sooner.  The first report from them was last Thursday…

 The delay was a result of limited staffing and a heavy volume of other news on the Justice Department beat.

Under.  Staffed.  

Perhaps when Obama gets around to the print media bailout they’ll be able to staff up enough to cover these and other political atrocities being perpetrated on the American people and its Constitution.

Admittedly,  Holder and Justice have been very busy. 

  • Trying to move Gitmo trials to NYC. 
  • Hiring lawyers who worked pro bono to defend terrorists.
  • Suing Arizona over its desire to enforce existing federal immigration laws. 
  •  Fighting unsuccessfully in the courts over the drilling moratorium. 
  • Preparing defenses for the myriad of lawsuits by the states over Obamacare.

Maybe WaPo has a point.

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Posted by on July 18, 2010 in Eric Holder, media, Obamacare


Grab some Pop Corn

Chris Wallace is hosting an Ultimate Fight Club cage match between James Clyburn, D-SC vs. Mike Pence, R-IN on Fox News Sunday this weekend.

 Here’s Pence on the floor of the House yesterday.

And here is Clyburn accusing the South Carolina GOP of running the campaigns of his primary opponent and Alvin Greene’s. 

If the SC GOP ran Greene’s campaign they’re extremely clever.  No ads.  No flyers.  No mailers.  This has the evil genius Karl Rove’s fingerprints all over it.

Sunday should be very entertaining.


OK I oversold that one, although Clyburn did manage to get in a dig on the Tea Parties and to blame Bush (without saying his name )for the bad economy.   Pence was solid, though.

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Posted by on July 16, 2010 in Congress, media, politics



Benjamin Jealous, head of the NAACP has an interesting name.  

There are no Jealouses in my phone book.  Google searches don’t come up with Bobby Jealous, Jimmy Jealous, Mary Jealous, King Shabazz Jealous.  There are no Jealous’s other than this guy.

Is Jealous a family name?  Why would someone name their family after one of the seven deadly sins?

Al Lust, Stewart Sloth and Gilbert Glutonny want to know.

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Posted by on July 16, 2010 in media, NAACP


Texas Trib treats Texas Freedom Network as just another disinterested public watchdog

When the Texas Freedom Network is anything but that.  First, here’s the Trib’s story, authored by one Forrest Burnson.

Texans overwhelmingly reject the way the State Board of Education sets requirements for textbooks and curriculum, which ignited a nationwide controversy earlier this year, according to a statewide survey the Texas Freedom Network released today.

The data also suggests that Texans may not be as divided on some hot-button “culture war” issues.

And then the story goes on from there to cite the TFN’s survey without ever once identifying what the Texas Freedom Network is what its role in the Texas school controversy has been.  And elsewhere on the Trib, Reeve Hamilton cites the TFN survey as a matter-of-fact look at where Texans stand on school curricula.  The Trib’s reportage here is about as deceptive as it gets.

Here’s why.  The Texas Freedom Network isn’t a disinterested public watchdog – it’s  a fierce hard left partisan in the state education controversy.  Poke around their web site and you’ll find their Board of Directors, and one name pops out – Cecile Richards.  She is none other than the daughter of Ann Richards, the last and late Democrat to be elected governor of Texas.  Richards was about as partisan as you can get – remember, she coined the whole “Poor George, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth” claptrap and she was such a radical that she was there at the founding, so to speak, of the Roe v Wade abortion regime.

Cecile Richards et al founded the Texas Freedom Network to be a kind of People for the American Way – far left, anti faith – political combat outfit for Texas.  And for 15 years now, that’s just what they’ve been.  As regards the State Board of Education and its controversies, the Texas Freedom Network has an agenda, which is to first discredit, and then dismantle, that elected body which answers to Texas voters.  They’ve done their best to discredit the SBOE with, among other things, blatant lies about what’s actually in the state curriculum.  And then they published this survey, which – shock of all shocks! – purports to prove that Texans don’t want the SBOE anyway.  That’s in this little nugget.

72 percent of likely Texas voters (including 84 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans, and 76 percent of independents) want teachers and scholars, not politicians, to be responsible for writing curriculum requirements for public schools.

Why, that fits like a glove with what the TFN wants to do – isn’t that convenient?  Well I don’t know about you, but I’d like to read the TFN’s little report to see if they’re characterizing it fairly.  But I’d have to give them my email first and I don’t want to do that.  Which brings up a question, or a couple actually.  One, is this report just a gimmick to generate headlines and harvest emails?  And two, why didn’t the Trib alert readers that their link to the TFN report was actually a link to their email snatcher page?

Sorry Trib, but this is ridiculous.

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Posted by on July 14, 2010 in media, politics


Texas state Rep heads to federal court on fraud charges, can you guess which party she’s from?

Here’s the story, headlined “State Rep. Headed to Federal Court,” over on KGRV’s web site.  Let’s play a game – Pin the Tail on the Party!

MCALLEN – A state representative accused of Medicaid fraud is preparing to head to federal court.

As part of her bond, the federal judge said Tara Rios couldn’t continue to work at her dental practice. But Rios and her attorney will try to convince a judge let her return to work and see patients.

Nope, no party affiliation mentioned.  How about the next paragraph?

Rios, who represents District 43 in the Texas House of Representatives, is accused of a Medicaid kickback scheme.  Federal prosecutors say she was getting paid to refer patients to a McAllen oral surgeon.

Nope, don’t see any party mentioned there.  How ’bout the rest of the story?

The Medicaid services billed were allegedly never performed or performed by unqualified personnel.

Rios’s term ends in the state house ends in January.  District 43 includes parts of Cameron County.

Nope.  Rios’ party affiliation isn’t mentioned at all.  So let me help out.

Tara Ybarra Rios is a Democrat.  She lost the primary this year so she was headed for private life, now she may be headed for the federal lockup.  She is, by far, not the only Texas Democrat in ethical hot water this year.

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in media, politics


What if Bill White held an “online townhall” and, like, 11 people showed up?

Or almost 170, peak.  Out of a state of about 25 million?  This, my friends, is a campaign on fi-yah!

This evening, state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, sat in a room with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White and talked into a camera. Around the state, Texans were welcomed to watch online and submit questions…

Attendance at the town hall of the future peaked at just fewer than 170 viewers.

I wonder how many of those were Bill White’s campaign staff and Obama for America astroturfers?  All of ‘em, probably, except folks from the opposition.

Tell ya what the White campaign needs.  It needs a visual, something to catch the eye and capture the spirit of this whole thing.  Really get the man and his campaign’s zeitgeist.  Something better than your average campaign bumper sticker.  And they are oh so lucky that I live in Texas and have the Photoshop chops to give them just what they need.

Behold…the new and incredible…Bill White campaign poster!

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in bill white, blogs, media, politics


Texas Tribune reluctantly covers Ciro’s outburst

I’m only posting this as a study in framing.  Today we’ve had a video clip from Texas Democrat Rep. Ciro Rodriguez go totally viral – it got front paged on Drudge, went high up on the big blogs, it was pretty much everywhere – outside the state of Texas.

Within the state, there’s a relatively new online news source that at least bills itself as nonbiased, fact-based, etc.  It’s called the Texas Tribune.  I kept an eye on them throughout the day to see if, and how, they might cover the Rodriguez video.

The Trib took a while, but when they finally got around to covering it, they didn’t fail to disappoint.  The story here – the who, what, when, where, how – is that a Congressman lost his cool under questioning by a voter.  That’s what happened.  But check out the framing in this headline from the Tribune:

Conservatives Circulate Rodriguez Town Hall Clip

Note who the actors are in that headline – not the powerful official who lost his cool and slapped a table with a newspaper.  No, the real actor here is “conservatives” for circulating the clip.  That, my friends, is Grade A biased framing at work.

Then check out the story’s tone.  It’s full of, what, ennui?  It’s as if reporter Morgan Smith drew the short straw and had to cover this icky story so she slapped something together, hit post, and ran off to scrub her hands of the taint of having to write it.

A clip of U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, in which he apparently flares up at a constituent questioning him on health care, is making the rounds in the conservative blogosphere.

The 44-second-long video appears on the site of right-wing media mogul Andrew Breitbart and purportedly shows the San Antonio Democrat at a “recent” — the post does not give the date or the origins of the video —  town hall meeting taking questions from constituents on healthcare. Urged by a woman to “tell the truth,” a visibly flustered Rodriguez slams a newspaper on a nearby table, and says, “Ma’am, don’t accuse me of not saying the truth.”

Heh.  He didn’t “say” it, he growled it – while ironically demanding civility of the woman he’d just menaced and whose table he’d intemperately slapped.  Then, the Trib posts Rodriguez’s excuse/apology as an update before getting to the actual clip.  Which is, ya know, the meat of the story.  Generally, it’s proper blog form not to update in the middle of a post, but at the end – but this update just puts that much more padding in between the reader and that awful, icky, clip that Morgan Smith clearly doesn’t want to write about.  With that structure, the Trib’s post amounts to an inverted frame built on a biased frame.

I expected better of the Trib.  Well, hoped for better anyway.  The Trib is living down to my expectations, unfortunately.

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Posted by on July 12, 2010 in blogs, media, Obamacare, politics, Tyranny


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