Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Reporting the news - or making it up?
WOW!  Another hit-job in the ongoing smear campaign against Wendy Davis!

Who's behind the latest?  Would the Koch brother-connection come as any surprise?

Yesterday, the Right Wing echo chamber began reverberating with the latest cooked-up scandal against Wendy Davis. It started with a news item put out by the "Watchdog Wire":

Watchdog Texas State Editor Lou Ann Anderson
A Kevin Palmer reports that the complaint filed at the Texas Ethics Commission alleges that Wendy "knowingly misrepresented her assets on her annual Personal Financial Statements." Who is the citizen who brought the complaint?  She is just identified as " Lou Ann Anderson of Temple."  No additional information is provided.

As it happens, "Watchdog Wire" is part of the Franklin Center, a Far Right news organization. The local affiliate, Watchdog Texas, is edited by - Lou Ann Anderson!

I've e-mailed the reporter to ask if she edited the news item he wrote. 

Anderson has an interesting background.  She served as a Policy Analyst for Americans for Prosperity Texas. AFP, of course, is the notorious Koch Brother front group. 

Needless-to-say, it is an outrageous breach of journalistic ethics to fail to reveal the connection between the reporter/"news organization" and the party to a complaint they are "breaking the news" about.  I've seen this before with Franklin Center-connected folks. 


In the meantime, read this fascinating profile of the Franklin Center, "Partisan Hacks" by Laura McGann in the Washington Monthly.


I've now spoken with Kevin Palmer, the "reporter" who wrote the story.

Palmer was featured in a story last year in the Columbia Journalism Review about the Franklin Center. He's described as a recent Harvard College grad, but his other associations and activities are more interesting. It took a little effort to tag those down. His Linked In profile has been taken down...but just recently! It showed up in Google cache. As it turns out, he's part of the Koch Associate Program at the Charles Koch Institute

Associates spend one day a week immersed in Market-Based Management® curriculum while working full-time in Washington, DC. The program not only connects you with full-time positions at non-profit partner organizations, but also includes weekly professional education. It’s a unique chance to combine your profession with your passion while expanding your knowledge, skills, and network.

So it would seem that Palmer finds himself at the Franklin Center courtesy of Charles Koch! Oh, and Palmer was also an "Immigration Intern" for the Tea Party Senator voted out in Massachusetts.

I spoke with Palmer in Alexandra, Virginia. His actual title is Communication Coordinator for the Franklin Center, a "journalism non-profit" as he describes it. Watchdog Wire Texas is "separate program." His primary function is ghostwriting opinion pieces for people the and - also for others outside the organization.

According to Palmer, Anderson is not an employee of the Franklin Center though she  receives a stipend from them as the Texas State Editor for Watchdog Wire. She edits and promotes the "citizen journalism" that they create.

Palmer said that Anderson gave him the story directly. There was no press release or apparently any other outreach to the media. When we initially spoke, Palmer offered to provide me Anderson's contact information. Instead, he emailed the email address for Michael Moroney, the Franklin Center's Director of Public Affairs. In a follow-up call, he said that any such inquiries had to be directed through that office.

"All our citizen reporters go through him first. He'll schedule the interview (with Anderson) for you," he said.

When I said that I didn't wish to contact her in her capacity as a Franklin Center reporter, that I wanted to talk to her about her complaint, he pulled back.  

"I have the right to withhold my source. Michael (Moroney) may or may not give it to you."

Asked about additional details on Anderson, he said she works full-time elsewhere. I attempted to contact her at what's apparently her employer, an advertising and marketing firm in Temple. A message left for her has not been returned, nor has an email sent to Moroney requesting an interview and a copy of the complaint.

Simple question:
Who's running this story? It certainly look like the Franklin Center's public relations director is handling the PR for it. Or is it Charles Koch?


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


  1. Gee, I'd be interested if you think the ethics complaint has any merit, i.e., is it true?

    "Somehow," that doesn't seem important to you.

  2. See follow-up posting.

    http://tinyurl.com/krrgajl Problems with this "complaint" both in journalistic ethics and the "findings." Discrepancies between IRS filings and those with Texas Ethics? "When average Texans request asset disclosure forms for state officers — known as personal financial statements — filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, they may be left with unanswered questions, said Smith of Public Citizen. 'They lack essential detail,' he said of the reports."