Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Texas Media Bias

I woke up early this morning thinking about why none of the print media in this state, to use one of the President's new word, had opined yet about Sen. Hutchison for her perjury flip-flop over the weekend. As if on cue the print media in this state has finally begun to opine about her remarks, and today, finally, two of them are on the case. Now this may seem a little picky but the reason this came to mind was in relation to the way the media jumped on Chris Bell a couple of weeks ago when he made a minor mistake, that was quickly corrected, in his "Don't Mess With Ethics" speech. The media focused almost exclusively on the mistake and gave very little coverage to the substance of the speech. In contrast the print media in this state has taken it's sweet time in calling out Sen. Hutchison for her outrageous remarks on national TV.

It lead me to think about the treatment of Democrats in general in this state and why the media has focused very little on the governor's reactive approach to solving his self-proclaimed, number one priority - school finance/property tax reform. It's been over a month now since he appointed John Sharp to head a task force - to come up with yet another "broad-based business tax" solution to our problem - and nobody else has been named to join him. Chris Bell is pointing this out but where is the print media in this state on this? As the Bell campaign points out the governor has appointed quite a few people since announcing this task force:
Since Rick Perry has named John Sharp to the school tax panel, he's made a ton of other appointments:

* He'’s appointed 7 members to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

* He'’s appointed 5 people to the Texas Medical Board.

* He'’s appointed 2 people to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation.

* And he'’s appointed people to the Texas Growth Fund Board of Directors, the 11th Court of Appeals, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the Texas Small Business Industrial Development Corporation, and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

Apparently, he'd rather play games on school finance than take the lead.
Gov. Perry is purportedly waiting for the court to rule before moving ahead, that's reactionary at it's best or worst depending on your point of view. As I pointed out Sunday, in the Statesman article, no Democrats were interviewed or quoted for that article.

One other thing I would like to point out is that a couple of years ago one of the best political columnists in the state, Dave McNeely, retired from the Statesman. At the time I didn't think much of it but soon after he left I came to miss his writing. But several months back I became aware of writings again. I'm not sure if he always planned on doing this or he just couldn't stand not being involved anymore, but I am glad he's back. Here is his latest, Chris Bell may tap into a nerve on ethics, Delay. He can be found weekly in the Abilene Reporter-News (Registration required, go to BugMeNot for login).

The reason this came to mind, and woke me this morning, is what I find to be a bias in the media in Texas towards the right/Republicans. It looks like a purposeful plan to minimize the negative and maximize the positive when it comes to Republicans and maximize the negative and minimize the positive when it comes to the Democrats. It also manifests itself in just a total omission of the Democratic point of view from the stories published in the print media in Texas. I believe this is one of the major hurdles Democrats in Texas must overcome and is one of the reasons this blog was started.

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