Saturday, October 24, 2015


"Truthiness" trademarked. Image courtesy of PoliticusUSA
The tyranny of trying to be even-handed! It may be more insidious than being in-the-pocket of some corrupting funder.

Case in point: my previous post, the initial installment of this series.

In my desire to allow the reader to weigh the evidence for themselves, I fell into an old trap. Of necessity, I reiterated the allegations against the Trib, giving them legitimacy. Balanced - but is that fair? I'm afraid I've violated Issac Asimov's maxim "never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right."

The reality is that, despite James Moore's legendary reporting back-in-the-day confronting George W. Bush and his enablers, he is simply off-the-mark in his attack on the Texas Tribune. He is most definitely wrong in his allegations and insinuations against the Cynthia and George P. Mitchell Foundation (CGMF).

Since, Moore has sent me a message raising numerous objections, most for my

failure to mention in the first installment things that are slated for forthcoming ones. He did not, however, take issue with the focus of Part I - that he's wrong about CGMF. I have issued him this challenge:

So, just to confirm, you do not take issue with the problems with your accusations against the Mitchell Foundation.

Thus far, no reply.

If he cannot make good on proving his accusations, then he should issue a public retraction/apology.

Meanwhile, I have run across others who have looked into CGMF's funding patterns. Their findings? According to Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman, "While the Mitchell family's finances are tied to the success of the gas industry in general, the Foundations funding of efforts to limit pollution from fracking appears genuine."

Let's unpack this a bit.

Way more reputable than I am

Last April, Inside Climate News and Greenpeace's Coleman expressed confusion
over the revelation about CGMF's hiring David Blackmon, an energy industry flack, in 2012. "(Blackmon's) career has been dedicated to obstructing and delaying regulation on the oil and gas industry, especially in regards to fracking. While working for Mitchell, he led industry-funded groups that opposed the very methane regulations he was hired by Mitchell to promote," says Coleman. 

Not a lot of mystery here when you think about it. According to Coleman, Blackmon was hired "to start a dialogue between fossil fuel concerns and environmentalists around natural gas." 

Why would an organization interested in promoting environmental/sustainability issues hire such a partisan player? The truism's dated, yet timeless: "Only Nixon could go to China."

Also, be sure to check the ICN piece. The reporters tracked down CGMF's Marilu Hastings for comment, much as I did. They give her the last word to point to the awkward place she finds herself in:

"We have a really tough time being the Mitchell Foundation," she said. "We've been thrown out of meetings with environmentalists, and shut down by industry. The last thing I would do is do anything to doubt my integrity or the foundation's integrity."

In any case, it's worthwhile putting Moore's portrait of a corrupt, corrupting charity connecting with a corrupt news organization alongside these pieces. When you find yourself far out in left field, left of Greenpeace, you may be in foul ball territory.

Interesting note: I ran into these pieces AFTER the last posting while digging into Blackmon's activities to fill in some follow-up research around my interview with Evan Smith. As it happens, a piece Blackmon published in TribTalk to "balance" another by noted climate scientist/evangelical Christian Katherine Hayhoe was a matter of some consternation both inside and outside the Trib. 

More on that in my forthcoming interview with Smith, providing insights to the possibilities for evolution in the Trib's ethics. 

Oh, speaking of evolution, Moore also noted my failure to attribute credit to him for the Trib's enhanced disclosure policy last year. Yes, it came in the wake of his accusations. When I asked Emily Ramshaw and Ross Ramsey about this, they didn't credit him - said this was already in the works beforehand. I leave it to you, gentle reader, to sort this out. One thing seems sure. Moore wasn't out to provide constructive criticism, to improve the Trib. Let's see if we can do better.  

Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Thursday, October 15, 2015


A Tribfest promo on Facebook
It's the eve of the Texas Tribune's 5th "Tribfest" - "the SXSW of Politics" as they call it, and time - long overdue -to take care of some unfinished business here.

It's been over 18 months since James Moore's broadside in a blog posting also published in the Huffington Post that seeks to demonstrate that the Trib's business practices are fundamentally corrupt. 

As I wrote back in March last year:

Moore seems to have hit a nerve with it. His criticism has been widely read. I've chatted about it on background with several people in the news business while reaching out for on-the-record comments. At the very least, this raises fundamental issues about the Trib's business model - and practices.

(Editorial note: I made numerous postings here last year on this issue in February and March, and some followup in April looking more generally at non-profit news)

Since, Bill Minutaglio addressed the fracas in The Texas Observer. Minutaglio's point is that if it looks sketchy, that's problem enough:

Moore makes the case for guilt by association...He might not have proved that the Tribune’s reporting is sullied by the money it receives, but he sure suggests that readers can’t be faulted for noticing a perception problem.

Unlike Moore, Minutaglio's upshot is cautionary, not condemnatory. " fine a line the brave new world of nonprofit journalism has to tread in the search for viable business models,” he observes.

But Moore says that the "Trouble with the Trib" isn't just bad optics. So what about his allegations? In my conversations with journalists across the state - many off-the-record - several pointed to one specific constellation of claims about the Trib's relationship with the Cynthia and George P. Mitchell Foundation (CGMF). I was repeatedly encouraged to see what I could find out. So I started digging. 


Moore sketches a portrait of a corrupt, corrupting charity connecting with a corrupt news organization. His core claim has two aspects. First, that there is "a connection between the non-profit's giving and the family's business interests," and second, that CGMF is an instrument for furthering those business interests.

To be sure, the Mitchell family fortune comes from the energy sector, and the foundation is interested in energy/environment/sustainability issues. That's not altogether different than, say, the Kaiser Family Foundation's focus on healthcare. Despite the connection to Kaiser Permanente, the non-profit's funding of healthcare reporting and policy analysis is accepted a legit. In fact, the world of philanthropy is full of such "connections" as well as profound ironies like the Nobel Peace prize paid for by munitions money.

So exposing a "connection" between the business interests and those of the non-profit is hardly a revelation. It is a far cry from demonstrating the second point - the intimation that the non-profit is just a cynical ploy, a bogus charity that is little more than a marketing communications vehicle for a for-profit enterprise.

Take the specific business ventures Moore cites. It seems that if profitability alone were the goal, Todd Mitchell could have done better than to invest his time and effort in solar energy. Is it possible that something other than money motives him? What comes to mind is Rick's business savvy in Casablanca:

Captain Renault: In 1935, you ran guns to Ethiopia. In 1936, you fought in Spain, on the Loyalist side.

Rick: I got well paid for it on both occasions.

Captain Renault: The winning side would have paid you much better.


Still, this is all supposition. If the Trib was a willing partner to such a fraud, one "tell" would be the internal documents that, in fact, define the relationship between the foundation and grant recipient. So I asked the Trib's Ross Ramsey for them. Till then, he'd been forthcoming in my inquiries. This time, he paused at the request and promised to come back with an answer. Then, a few days later, he turned me down. Of course, that just piqued my curiosity. How could I get those internal documents?

Some time after, I did a story about an event sponsored by CGMF (see the written version here, and radio version here) and the solution to my quandary was obvious. I sidestepped Ramsey and reached out to Marilu Hastings, CGMF's vice president, sustainability programs. She leads all of the strategic grantmaking programs. This was the first she'd heard of Moore's accusations. She handed over all the internal docs I requested without protest. What do they show? I've crafted such documents for another not-for-profit news organization and these appear to be as they should be. In fact, I found the reporting from the Trib on what was done to fulfill its commitments rather bland. Grant recipients often try to butter up grantors. This isn't even greased with margarine.


As far as Moore's specific allegations, the strongest is about the undisclosed relationships on a panel sponsored by CGMF at the 2013 TribFest. First, CGMF funded the entire energy track - the problematic panel was just a part of it. Still, the panel was moderated by the Trib's reporter funded by the CGMF grant, and featured former state senator Kip Averitt of the Texas Clean Energy Coalition, another CGMF grant recipient. No doubt, these relationships could have been stated clearly for the audience. The optics for not doing so are sketchy. Though the funding was not secret, you'd have to make a significant effort, as Moore has, to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Of course, that effort is really just a few clicks on the Internet. Still, this information should be explicit.

But does this make the case that this was an underhanded public relations coup? Is "The Road to Energy Efficiency" panel the road to ruin for the Trib's integrity? Check the full panel here. Is Averitt, former Chairman of the state Senate's Committee on Natural Resources, out of place? Check his credentials here. Also, listen to how Jim Malewitz, the Trib's CGMF-funded reporter, directed the proceedings (see track #3 here) and judge for yourself.

I encourage those interested to listen through then make their own judgment. It seems to me that if there was manipulation, it wasn't very skillful. As Hastings observed about Moore's claim that they've been pulling strings, "if we had that much power, things would be a lot different!"

Stepping back, the question is - is Averitt on-the-scene because he is funded by CGMF, or is he funded by CGMF because he's on-the-scene? The situation here seems quite different from Evan Feinberg's appearance on PBS' Newshour. Feinberg is the front man for a front group with no real experience or authority on his "expertise." It would seem that the only real qualification he has is a willingness to promote his backer's agenda.  

(Side note: Averitt, too, was a participant at the CGMF event I reported on. I'd forgotten his funding as I wrote & produced by coverage. I'm not sure it would have made the final edit if I had. But then, I wasn't funded by CGMF. If I had been, I hope that I would have been more - not less - inclined to do so.)


So how much influence did CGMF exert over who was selected to participate in the panel or how it was conducted? The internal reports give some clue. Typically, there's three documents. The first is the grant proposal that makes specific requests; the second is the acceptance document from CGMF detailing what's expected; finally, the Trib reports back on what was actually delivered.

Here's the pitch for the panel - actually for the larger energy track - included in the larger grant proposal dated March 11, 2013:

Texas Tribune Festival: Energy Track Sponsorship

As an extension of our mission to improve civic engagement in Texas, we created The Texas Tribune Festival to bring together the state’s most prominent thinkers, politicians and public servants for a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue on the subjects that matter most to all Texans. The Texas Tribune Festival helps citizens can gain an understanding of the issues that the leaders in our state are grappling with and an appreciation for the stakes involved.

The 2013 Festival will be held on September 28 and 29 at the University of Texas at Austin. It will include 9 tracks: public education, higher education, immigration, transportation, health care, criminal justice, energy, environment and keynotes. The energy track will include major addresses and panel discussions by a wide range of experts (link to last year’s program: Nearly 2,000 people from Austin and across the state attended the 2012 festival, a 66% increase over 2011. We expect the growth to continue in 2013.

The "executed grant award letter" of May 21, 2013 is more general:

The grant is to be used exclusively by Texas Tribune Inc. of Austin, Texas for Energy and Water Coverage, Texas Tribune Festival, 'In the Flow' newsletter.

Finally, the grant award stipulates that a report on deliverables will be due within a year. there's the report after-the-fact dated May 22, 2014:

Texas Tribune Festival – Energy Track

Held on September 27-29 at UT-Austin, the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival was by far our most successful. In year three, the three-day public policy festival drew 2,500 registrants (50 percent more than last year) and generated nearly $135,000 in ticket sales (60 percent more) and nearly $590,000 (50 percent) from 58 corporate and foundation sponsors (35 percent), not counting inkind contributions.

There were four sessions on Saturday in each of the eight program tracks, leaving two time slots dark in each one, so that attendees had greater flexibility in mixing and matching their sessions across the tracks. The festival opened with an interview with U.S. senator Ted Cruz and closed with state senator Wendy Davis. Energy programming at the festival included the fours panels: Regulating Energy, The Shale Boom: What Now?, The Road to Energy Efficiency and The Fight Over Electricity. This full weekend of civic engagement, spirited discussion and lively exchange elicited many positive comments from attendees such as: “The Texas Tribune Festival is the most exciting and engaging political activity I’ve ever attended. Truly democracy in action.”

Of course, the report came out after Moore's accusations. So if there were even a whiff of malfeasance, it seems unlikely they would document it. However, this report is quite similar to previous ones. There's no attempt to butter up the charity by underlining how their presumed interests are being served.


There's a few more things for the conspiracy-minded to consider in making a reasoned judgment here.

That Hastings hadn't heard about any of these accusations before I reached out to her is telling. If she was in cahoots with the Trib, it stands to reason that they'd have connected to get their PR act together.

Still another problem with Moore's portrait of purported corruption is how it would reach beyond the Trib. According to Hastings:

We help fund other journalistic outlets as well - Texas Climate News run by Bill Dawson, the former environmental reporter at Houston Chronicle. We certainly don't have anything to do with his reporting. I can tell you one thing - If I tried to, he and Evan (Smith) both would tell me to go straight to Hell. Even if I lacked integrity, they don't.

So the charges that Moore levels against Evan Smith and the Trib should apply equally to Bill Dawson and Texas Climate News since they both draw from the same (purportedly) poisoned well. But as far as I know, no one has leveled such accusations against Dawson.

This does point to another issue with Moore's accusations. They look narrowly at the Trib, and so miss the fact that this has a larger context. Moore is not alone in his extraordinary dislike that many professional journalists feel towards the Trib and like "Digital News" upstarts elsewhere. I've suggested before that this could well be just a generational thing. Is this simply a matter of taste? Or is there something more substantive?

As it happens, the Society of Professional Journalists wrestled with the core issues here in updating its ethics code last year. Let's look at that next, and then close out with my interview with Evan Smith.


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Sen. Cruz, Gov. Abbott with AG Paxton, Lt. Gov. Patrick
Conservative outcry over the past week's Supreme Court rulings ensuring the survival of Obamacare and enshrining Marriage Equality as a fundamental right reached a fever pitch in Texas today as Governor Greg Abbott let out what state Attorney General Ken Paxton described as a "Rebel Yell" calling for secession from the United States. 

"Aside from dragging our feet, Ken here says we've run out of legal options," said Abbott. "What I am suggesting here is really not new, but is a time-honored approach that honors our heritage. We are calling for other Republican-led states who share this heritage to join Texas. This new nation will not just be free from Obamacare. It will be free from any healthcare coverage whatsoever for poor or middle class people. However, we will provide universal coverage for Reparative Therapy. That will resolve the so-called 'Marriage Equality' issue."

At the press conference in Austin, Ted Cruz resigned from the United States Senate and withdrew his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the President of the United States. Instead, he offered to serve as the President of the new nation, what he termed the "Neo-Co
n." He called for his former rivals for the Republican nomination including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and "Bobbie" Jindal and Jeb! to join what he said was "the ultimate destiny of the Republican Party." 

"It's really what you might call the ultimate 'Southern Strategy'," said Cruz. "No more fooling around with code words and dog-whistles." 

When asked about whether GOP Presidential hopefuls Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, too, would be invited to participate, Cruz pointed to other contrasts setting the Neo-Con apart from the United States.

"I'm not sure whether women and African Americans will be allowed to vote much less hold public office," Cruz said. "I'm sure there are those that will misconstrue this, but what we're about is heritage, not hate." 

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said that he, too, wished to take a leadership role. 

"I'm not sure about a title for what I have in mind, something Old Testament to be sure. You know - 'Protector of the Faith' - that sort of thing," Patrick said. 

Patrick added that the Supreme Court's rulings simply precipitated what seemed to him to be an inevitable showdown following the coming Presidential election.

"Hillary is going to win anyway, and so we may as well secede now."


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Monday, January 19, 2015


New Horizons here, too.
Just a few loose ends to tie together here. I won't be posting regularly anymore in that I am about to pursue another project that will be consuming much of my time. 

What's left? 

Well, the long-awaited deep-dive into the Texas Tribune's ethics - that is long overdue. I've done significant, original research to fulfill my promise to numerous members of the community to get to the bottom here. I believe I've come to a comprehensive understanding that puts this in a context lacking in what I've seen elsewhere.

I'll also likely check in on occasion to chronicle the turn in the Texas economy. Is my thesis about the oil crash triggering a failure in the state's population-Ponzi scheme right? We will see.

Meanwhile, I've trimmed my archives here since the details of the past political season are like clouds passing in the sky. What's more substantive for me and my ongoing work is media criticism. I've kept those postings, as well as a few other chestnuts.

So, this isn't quite goodbye. Still, thanks to all that helped with this little project, and to the gentle readers that gleaned some small value from it.   


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Reality writes the sequel to Grieder's work
Forget the economic indicators, the sure sign that the so-called 'Texas Miracle" is set to tank is Erica Grieder's reassurances that, really, there's no problem.

Like Rick Perry and The Texas Public Policy Center, trouble with the Texas economy puts Grieder's reputation at risk. Best known for her book about the "strange genius" behind the "Texas Miracle," what if the "genius" is really little more than a dressed-up scam?

Now, I've written extensively before debunking the "Texas Miracle" - in fact, that's how I launched this blog. More recently, I raised doubts about the endless bonanza promised by fracking proponents. Now that the boom is turning to bust (albeit for reasons other than I suspected), the upshot is simple: the whole house of cards will likely come down. I give it about 18 months.

But how can that be? Grieder says that the drop in oil prices won't trigger a deep recession like what happened in the 80's because the state's economy is now more diversified ---

The problem is that this diversity is largely illusory. Yes, Texas has changed its core business from oil. But it has been replaced by something even more unstable and unsustainable. Texas is now in the GROWTH business. If the steady stream of people into the state stops, it will fold like a Ponzi scheme. You see, Ponzi schemes, too, are in the growth business. Such schemes falter when the growth slows. Collapse comes when the reality that it depends on unsustainable growth cannot be ignored.

Grieder & DeVore: separated at birth? 

Till now, the state's remarkable growth has been based on an unsustainable business practice. The low costs that have attracted people comes from exhausting the vital infrastructure needed to sustain growth. Now, deferred costs for transportation, water, power and education are coming due. For the past few years, the oil boom allowed the Perry regime to put off this day of reckoning. Now, the drop in oil prices will bring the long-deferred moment-of-truth. 

So it won't be the oil bust that brings a deep recession to Texas. That's merely the trigger that will take down the Texas GOP's unsustainable growth scheme.

It's unfortunate that little of this was part of the public debate in the recent election. 

What of Gov.-elect Abbott, the "continuity candidate" assuming office to carry out what essentially would be Rick Perry's 4th term? He's akin to the hapless Herbert Hoover taking the helm from Calvin Coolidge as the Roaring 20's peaked. In 1928, Hoover enjoyed a landslide victory (nearly 20 points) over the Democrat opposing him. After the Crash of '29, the country had to wait till '33 to get leadership capable of addressing the problem. 


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


"He's a clean old man"
What may be the closing talking point for the Abbott campaign is, perhaps, the most dishonest. The latest iteration? Matt Mackowiak's "Wendy Davis’ harsh and failing campaign" in the Austin American Statesman. The boldest, bald-faced lie in his attack? Comparing that evil to her angelic opponent:

Contrast that to Abbott, who has run an almost completely positive campaign at a breakneck pace, with thoughtful policy proposals on education, transportation, ethics and border security outlined months ago.

But Mackowiak isn't his own man - he's just a spokesman in the Texas GOP's echo chamber. He's parroting Greg Abbott's pitch that recently made the rounds on Fox News. First, on Sean Hanity:

Listen, my reaction is if she wants to attack a guy in a wheelchair, that's her prerogative. As for me, I'm running a different type of campaign. I'm running a campaign that's focused on solving the problems of Texans, like securing the border, keeping Texas number one for jobs, continue fighting against Barack Obama's EPA that's crushing jobs in Texas. So I will focus on the future of Texas, while my opponent continues to attack me.

Then - prepare for a sense of deja vu - on Lou Dobbs:

My reaction is she can attack a guy in a wheelchair if she wants to, but I don't think it's going to sell real well. My focus Lou is going to be on casting a positive vision as the next Governor of Texas about what I will achieve by creating jobs by securing the border. So she can attack me while I attack the challenges that our fellow Texans face.

Since this is Abbott's closing note, we should judge whether it is a sour one. It comes down to this: is Greg Abbott running an "almost completely positive campaign" or, when he or his surrogates claim this, is it just another example of his problematic relationship with the truth?

Consider the evidence. 

First, Abbott's YouTube channel. In the last 8 months, he's posted some 88 videos including web ads, debate clips and the like. By my count, at least 40 of them are direct attacks on Wendy Davis. These include:

Another ray of light on Abbott's YouTube Channel

Or what about the barrage of emails I get from the campaign, especially those from his Campaign Director, Sarah Floreke. Here's a few highlights:
Yet another positive
message from
Abbott's Campaign 
I wanted to make sure you knew about this shocking new revelation: at another Chicago fundraiser, Sen. Davis was raising money for an extreme liberal member of the Democratic Socialists of America who wants to ban handguns.

Apparently, late-term abortion is a cause for celebration for the Wendy Davis campaign.

Sen. Wendy Davis is pulling yet another page out of President Obama’s playbook: hiding chunks of campaign cash and donors behind a smoke screen.

Sen. Wendy Davis had a terrible showing at the first debate, melting down and yelling over the moderator. Last night, it happened again.

Can you believe that the Democrats have picked a candidate for governor whose legal work is currently part of an FBI investigation? That’s right. Ethically-challenged Sen. Wendy Davis is entangled in conflicts of interest. Her legal work for a tollway agency part of an investigation by the FBI—and she won’t tell Texans why.

So, you be the judge: Is Greg Abbott running an "almost completely positive campaign" or, when he or his surrogates claim this, is it just another example of his problematic relationship with the truth?


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


"All the Presidents Men": a pale imitation of Bradlee's reality
It's a sad day in the media world. We mark the passing of Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor of the Washington Post, and note the decrepitude that now defines the industry. 

Dave McKinney's resignation today from the Chicago Sun-Times shows how the mighty have fallen. Here in Texas, Greg Abbot's laughable endorsement by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows what happens when the Fourth Estate stops questioning the powerful and engages in wishful thinking instead. 

First, there's little for me to add about Bradlee that David Carr hasn't said in his beautiful tribute that puts the man in the context of the business. is tough to imagine a newspaperman ever playing the kind of outsize role that he once did in Washington. Newspapers, and people’s regard for them, have shrunk since he ran The Post.

David Remick's recollections, too, are not to be missed. Others will likely be sharing their experiences. But what is his true legacy?

Remembering Bradlee takes us to a bygone era when his wielding of the First Amendment fulfilled the vision of the Founding Fathers. He and his intrepid reporters proved mightier than the corrupt and crazed Nixon White House. After, conservatives vowed NEVER to allow that to happen again. Since, they have successfully created an alternate media universe, essentially a Black Hole cut off from reality that encompasses much of talk radio, Fox News and the various "think tanks" and the like that feed them fodder for the faithful.

But what of the so-called "mainstream media"? The intense gravitation of the dark forces affect them, too. Worse, perhaps, are the financial travails that have trashed the business. The relentless need to placate a divided populace so as not to alienate audiences makes it difficult to say much of anything worth hearing. 

That was Then - and Now?

During my time in Illinois this summer, I watched the barrage of billionaire Bruce Rauner's advertising filling the airwaves in the hotly contested Gubernatorial race. Now, his campaign is in a statistical dead-heat with incumbent Pat Quinn. In such a situation, reputable and disreputable characters are scrambling to tip the balance by giving the undecided some reason to vote one way or another.
How Rauner would run Illinois?

Now, a detailed, well-researched piece unflattering to Rauner has hit the streets, a joint investigation by the Sun-Times and NBC5. All those sharing the byline, Dave McKinney, Carol Marin and Don Mosley are seasoned, reputable reporters.

What the investigative report did was offer the voters a window into Rauner's business practices. Apparently, threats and intimidation are tools of his trade as was alleged in a lawsuit filed against him.

...Rauner told another board member if Kirk sued over her firing, "I will bury her ... I will bankrupt her with legal fees. I don't know if she has a family or not but if she does she better think twice about this.

Wow - quite a get for these reporters, right?

McKinney's smile has soured
Well, not so much for Dave McKinney, the chief statehouse reporter for the Sun-Times. After threats and intimidation from Rauner's campaign, his paper pulled him from the beat. Oh, and the paper reversed its policy to not endorse candidates by I even have to say who?

What's McKinney's reply? He's quit the Sun-Times, but not without unleashing a broadside. He details what went on behind-the-scenes to arrive at this conclusion:

Readers of the Sun-Times need to be able to trust the paper. They need to know a wall exists between owners and the newsroom to preserve the integrity of what is published. A breach in that wall exists at the Sun-Times.

It’s had a chilling effect in the newsroom. While I don’t speak for my colleagues, I’m aware that many share my concern. I’m convinced this newspaper no longer has the backs of reporters like me.

Meanwhile, in Texas...

The Star-Telegram's editorial board's endorsement of Greg Abbott, too, is telling. Or, actually, shocking.

Ultimately, the race must hinge on leadership. The candidate best able to outline and articulate an inclusive vision for all Texans and then lead the state in that direction deserves to be governor. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board believes that candidate is Greg Abbott.

Hmmmm...the Texas GOP that has done everything it can to gerrymander and voter-suppress minorities has "an inclusive vision for all Texans and (will) lead the state in that direction"?


Next whopper:

It’s important to note that despite his close association with Gov. Rick Perry, Abbott would be a departure.

What evidence does the Star-Telegram muster to substantiate this claim?

...a careful look at his website reveals a series of thoughtful and thorough policy prescriptions...

Sorry, this fellow has a lengthy public record that should be considered more authoritative than campaign promises.
Like Duvall, Abbott has stood behind his Boss

As noted elsewhere, Abbott is properly deemed a "continuity candidate." If elected, he's essentially another term of the Perry regime. He's like Robert Duvall's character, Tom Hagen, in The Godfather. He's the mob attorney that's engineered the operation faithfully. So what happens if he gets to run the racket? 

Where the endorsement goes completely over-the-top is with this wishful thought:

The questions surrounding his lack of oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund are troubling. He will have to reassure Texans that he is committed to leading an accountable and transparent government.

Sorry, but a Ben Bradlee wouldn't think that the proper "answer" to questions of Abbott's fundamental lack of integrity here - and possible criminality - isn't "reassurances" that he isn't a crook. And a newspaper's role isn't to swallow such self-serving pabulum whole then spew it out. Those questions demand REAL answers...and REAL newspapers do the hard work to get them.


Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Drop a line to carl (at) inanityofsanity (dot) com