You have to love it when underdog political candidates–especially Republicans–tear in to the media. You have to love it even MORE when they tear in to the media for not covering their campaigns. You have to love it EVEN MORE THAN THAT when they send out, as a “press release” their tirade against the media as an Op-Ed. You have to love it EVEN MORE THAN THAT TO THE POINT OF SHEER DELIGHT when they talk shit about Ken Herman and Ross Ramsey & The Texas Tribune.
Yes, Miriam Martinez, the Latina GOP candidate for governor sounds a bit pissed off and unhinged. The problem is….well….she’s kind of right. Hell, on a couple points, she’s damned right.
While, on the part of the Tribune, it is hopefully unintentional, they do seem to cover male candidates more than female candidates (excluding Wendy Davis, at least). Check out how many actual stories they did solely on Barbara Radnofsky was running for AG in 2010. It’s less than three stores about Radnofsky and her campaign, though the race was mentioned in dozens of other stories and “briefs”–particularly their “polling” stories. On the part of Ken Herman, well…he’s had a bout with a Wise Latina before…over age (second installment here)….and is someone we tend to agree sounds (typically) a bit sexist and racist and, given his age, oddly ageist.
While Martinez took off on the Tribune, she probably would have had more traction going after Herman, given the Sylvia Romo incident from the 2012 primary. At any rate, we thought Martinez’s release was worth reprinting, so it is below.
But, before we get to that….she’s right about something else. The Tribune does, technically, receive state funds. Texas A&M University is an advertiser…last time we checked, they had not yet seceded from the Union (though we wish they would–but leave John Sharp behind, because we like him), and is a state-funded institution. She’s also right about the appearance of the Tribune being a puppet. Although they have some excellent reporters, back when they were receiving hefty sponsorship dollars from the natural gas industry, their pages were basically absent of ANY critical coverage of hydraulic fracturing. Now, they seem to be a bit more with it, and are covering the controversy occasionally. Coincidence? Hard to believe it would be. Editorial independence from Advertising/Donors? Hummmm….seems like not so much.
Here’s her op-ed, for your reading pleasure:
Ken Herman, a columnist for the Austin American Statesman, has defended The Texas Tribune against my legitimate claim that the Tribune, an online-only publication, discriminates in its news coverage of women and minorities in statewide politics.
All news media outlets, including social media, are important to an informed citizenry. As a journalist and as a candidate for Texas governor, I support our God-given First Amendment rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
I am not saying the Tribune deliberately describes women and minorities in a negative way, or that its leadership publishes one-sided news stories.
It is worse than that.
The Tribune simply ignores women and minorities involved in statewide politics.
In doing so, the Tribune fails in its promise to its readership and to its financial sponsors that it is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discussion on public policies, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.”
If my fellow Republicans, through the will of the people, did not serve in all the statewide elected offices, including having majorities in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate, who knows if the Tribune would pay any attention to the GOP either.
Now comes Mr. Herman, in his December 21 column, entitled “A special candidate for special times,” condemning me for “speaking truth to power” (my quote). Mr. Herman says my criticism of the Tribune is “about somebody doing a disservice to the battle against real discrimination.”
Mr. Herman quotes Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey, who says that when I make “news,” they will cover it.
Which one of my public positions on no-new-taxes, pro-gun support, immigration reform, pro-life, more money for veterans hospitals, or allowing Texans to vote on term limits and casino gaming – and many more issues – are not “news”?
Mr. Herman criticizes me for saying that the Tribune is “a puppet media disguised as a nonprofit in order to do the dirty deals for the rich and powerful.”
But in Mr. Herman’s same column, he quotes Mr. Ramsey once more, who says that I have not “shown many visible signs of a real statewide campaign: travel, money, support, polling strength…”
In other words, I’m not rich and powerful.
Yet, when Mr. Tom Pauken, an honorable man who had announced for Texas governor (he has since pulled out of the race) issued any statements about his campaign, the Tribune not only carried his comments, but the Tribune would look for him for stories.
Such coverage of Mr. Pauken came even though I had a higher rating in the same polls that the Tribune says determines whether they give me any news coverage.
Mr. Herman also says I am wrong when I claim that the Tribune gets tax funds – money from Texas taxpayers.
Yet, as of this writing, Texas A&M University was the latest government entity to be advertising in the Tribune. Last I saw, Texas A&M University was a public entity generously funded by Texas taxpayers and from the hundreds of millions of dollars from the publicly-owned Permanent University Fund.
It’s not rocket science.
Just count the stories every day in The Texas Tribune that focus on women and minorities.
And look for women and minority leaders at the statewide level to be featured in their stories.
In both cases, you will find that that the majority of Texans – women and minorities – receive two types of news coverage from The Texas Tribune – slim and none.