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Abbott Bypasses the Mainstream Media with Facebook Live

Governor controls the spotlight as he signs a sanctuary city ban into law.

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Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

Governor Greg Abbott stole the spotlight from his allies and thwarted protestors, the news media, and Democrats Sunday evening by signing the “sanctuary cities” bill into law on Facebook Live. The video has been viewed more than 640,000 times, which exceeds the combined daily circulation of the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express-News. It also prompted conservative commentator Glenn Beck to declare Abbott “a boss” of social media. Hosting Abbott on his talk radio show, Beck noted some were complaining about Abbott using Facebook for the bill signing. “What a coward, or a genius. You decide,” Beck said.

The actual policy behind the sanctuary city bill aside, in those five minutes and ten seconds of live streaming, Abbott and his aides took a major step in this year’s efforts by Texas Republican leaders to bypass the state’s mainstream media and obtain unfiltered access to the public. By signing the bill unannounced, Abbott’s staff denied protestors the opportunity to gather outside so that they could be heard chanting in opposition in the background. Abbott also avoided questions from pesky reporters who might want to know how he could sign a bill that is opposed by every major city police chief in the state. And though Abbott acknowledged the hard work of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, and bill sponsors Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock and Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, he grabbed sole credit by not having them stand behind him as he signed the bill.

From the start of this legislative session, it has been obvious that the state’s socially conservative Republican leadership has been trying to create a new normal for dealing with a news media that is viewed as both hostile and liberal.

The Texas Senate moved first with a “decorum” enforcement that required journalists to sit only at a press table, and if the table was full, they would have to move to the Senate gallery for overflow. If a journalist wanted to interview a senator, then they had to submit a written request on a blue slip of paper, and interviews were barred in the foyer outside the chamber. Most socially conservative senators declined interview requests or delayed answers until past most reporters’ deadlines. The crackdown on journalists was decided upon in a closed-door caucus of the Senate, which would have been a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act if done by a city council or a school board. Texas senators, like members of Congress, often are exempt from those types of rules.

Restrictions on the news media like those adopted by the Texas Senate have in the past been declared by a federal court as a violation of First Amendment protections of a free press. Long before he was The New York Times Washington bureau chief or the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bill Kovach was a young reporter for the Nashville Tennessean covering the state’s Senate. When a Senate committee attempted to meet in secret, Kovach, with the permission of his editors, refused to leave the committee room. The Tennessee Senate retaliated by banning reporters from the chamber and blocking the doors of the Senate chamber to require them to watch the proceedings from the spectator gallery. The Tennessean went into federal court and had its floor privileges restored.

The Senate rule, wrote Chief Judge William E. Miller, “represents an unreasonable prior restraint upon plaintiff’s freedom of the press and freedom of speech and is itself unconstitutional and void under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.” Miller went on to write that newspaper access to the Senate floor was not just a matter of whether it was ‘convenient for the Senate.” Whether it is a right or a privilege for the press to have a place on the Senate floor, “it cannot be plausibly denied that the interest involved insofar as a newspaper is concerned is one of real if not indispensable value. It gives direct, immediate and effective access to an important and vital source of state news. Denial of such an opportunity…would place a serious handicap and burden upon any newspaper which could not be materially alleviated by access to the Senate gallery.”

The point of the Texas Senate enforcement was not to punish journalists but to set the stage to bypass them in favor of advocacy groups like Empower Texans and Texas Values, which often give unchallenging video interviews to legislators and public officials who support the bills they are backing, particularly on socially conservative legislation involving gay rights and opposition to abortion.

James Cardle runs a conservative news site called Texas Insider, which he said has 172,000 email subscribers. Cardle said he and his staff try to give his audience news conservative coverage based on issues rather than agendas. Many of the politicians who agree to appear in his videos or on an associated talk radio program do so because they have a perception that they will get a “fairer shake” than from the mainstream media. “All we’re trying to do with Texas Insider is truly reflect the Texas populous, because that’s our customer,” Cardle said. “You look at the Supreme Court justices last time, every stinking one of them got 59.8 percent to 61 percent (of the vote). That is the baseline of the Texas Republican, I would call them conservative … That is who the news customer in Texas is.”

Conflict between the news media and the powers that be is nothing new. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman thought the Civil War reporters covering his campaigns against the Confederacy were nothing more than spies whose reports were ”false, false as hell” and the people who read them were “the non-thinking herd.” Sherman’s frustration arose in no small part from his version of the internet, the advent of news reports spreading rapidly because of the telegraph. The Confederacy might not be receiving the dispatches directly, but soldiers on the front line were trading southern tobacco or northern coffee and newspapers.

In the presidential campaign of last year, the campaigns of both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump took shots at the mainstream news media. Since becoming president, Trump has turned attacks on the media into a form of deconstructing art in an effort to destroy the credibility of those who question his administration.

The effort to isolate the news media in Texas is a phenomenon of just the past several years. Governors Bill Clements, Mark White, and Ann Richards were available to the news media at least weekly and often daily during legislative sessions. Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry did not hesitate to talk to reporters covering their events. Past lieutenant governors routinely met with journalists at the press table. But Patrick has almost completely halted that practice, and Abbott rarely meets with journalists and his communications office has a closed-door policy and usually only wants to communicate by email. (I sent his press secretary an email today asking simply why Abbott did the bill signing on Facebook and received no reply.)

In the days when the Texas Capitol news media could catch a governor on the front steps, the interactions were so natural that the Clements administration formalized the gatherings at lunch when the Legislature was in session. Pigeons cooed on the ledge above, and tourists stopped to snap pictures. Television camera crews jostled for position, while the pen pushing print reporters strained to hold their tape recorders close to the governor. Asked whether he preferred the outdoor news conference to the ones in his reception room, Clements replied, “I think it’s lovely. Maybe we’ll get some pigeons with us.”

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  • José

    Technology is funny in that way. It can help to spread information broadly, quickly, and in depth. And, as Gov. Abbott demonstrated, it can be used to insulate yourself while still delivering a message but in a limited, targeted fashion. The public is not well served when their officials are protected from questioning and scrutiny.

    • roadgeek

      “….from questioning and scrutiny.” Your statement is true, as far as it goes. It would certainly be true if we had a Fourth Estate which was fair and unbiased. We don’t, not at all, so the questioning and scrutiny by the MSM which results is biased and agenda-driven. I don’t blame our elected officials one bit for bypassing the media. i don’t need a reporter to interpret what Abbott said; I’d prefer to see and listen for myself and make up my own mind.

      • R.G. Ratcliffe

        Is it biased for the news media to ask the governor what he thinks of every major police chief and every major law enforcement organization except one opposing the bill he just signed because they say it will make the state less safe, not more? That’s not the news media stating an opinion, just asking a question based on the opinion of others.

        • Jed

          You might as well go to Breitbart and argue in the comments there for all the good it will do to argue with racegeek.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Geek loves him some AmRen!

      • José

        Well bully for you. I do blame politicians who avoid the media. Maybe you’re comfortable with news shows that are absolutely devoid of analysis but a lot of folks benefit from explanations of complex policy issues and from fact checking. More importantly, a good reporter knows just what questions to ask in the first place. It’s awfully naïve to assume that someone is going to tell the whole truth out of the goodness of their heart. There’s a difference between journalism and public relations.

        A responsible politician makes himself available for questioning, even by biased reporters. As an example see President Obama’s Super Bowl Sunday interviews with the odious Bill O’Reilly. Abbott can take a lesson in courage.

      • BCinBCS

        roadgeek wrote: “It would certainly be true if we had a Fourth Estate which was fair and unbiased.

        I don’t know what you have been reading but one of the biggest complaints about the media is “both sidesism”; the need for media to find something, anything, wrong with candidate or policy “B” after doing an article about the problems with candidate or policy “A”. Democrats are usually the unfortunate recipients of being on the “B” side as demonstrated by the past presidential election.

    • Mike Jarvis

      I actually like that Facebook Live or Twitter or YouTube are being used to disseminate events. I like the pundits and analysis on both sides, but a lot of times I’d rather take my own opinion rather than filter it through someone else’s opinion. The politicization and spin on both sides after the Comey event is telling. Each side is towing the party line. Democrats say there is a watergate style scandal going on with Russian collusion, and Republicans say Comey lost confidence of Republicans and Democrats across DC with the handling of Hillary’s emails during the elections and became prosecutorial, something which the FBI is supposed not to take part in. Either way, I’d rather watch a CSPAN testimony than hear NPR or Fox news give me the party message from the collective intelligentsia. Sometimes insider information inside the beltway is good sourcing, sometimes its just more noise on the left and right. I honestly like to lastly take a step outside the bickering and listen to Ron Paul’s Liberty Report on YouTube. Think of the size, scope, purpose, and history of the FBI as an entity….

      • José

        Like I said, nothing wrong with adding new ways to reach out to folks unless that means taking away something essential. When someone won’t open themselves up to questioning it’s the same thing as hiding.

      • BCinBCS

        Not to be confrontational Mike Jarvis, but…

        You hit upon a pet peeve of mine. I have very conservative friends who are always throwing out that canard about the “liberal” slant of the news on NPR and PBS. Multiple times I have stopped them after a news story and asked them to explain the bias that they just heard. It’s always: “Well that news was okay but I know that they are liberal”. Facts, for some reason, can never seem to overcome biases, despite the evidence to the contrary that can be clearly seen and heard.

        So Mike, I’m calling you out on your statement that NPR broadcasts “the party message”.

        • Mike Jarvis

          NPR is created in DC. DC proper is 76% registered democrats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_Democratic_State_Committee

          • BCinBCS

            NPR is created in DC. DC proper is 76% registered democrats

            Are you KIDDING me? So, by that logic, NBC News is slanted toward blacks because its anchor, Lester Holt is black; the atomic bomb was a Jewish plot since J. Robert Oppenheimer was Jewish. You need an education in logic.

            And I stand by my challenge – show me the bias.

          • Mike Jarvis

            Unfortunately, unless I walk into NPR’s offices and take a survey of political affiliation ( which somebody should totally do ! ) . I think my original stats are pretty good. The whole DC metro area is 75%+ Democrat in party registration and in recent Presidential election. If 50% voter turnout, its good sampling, statistically. And then here is my assumption, 25%…the Republicans in DC MSA work for Pentagon, Dept. of Homeland Security, Republican think tanks, etc.. Your comparison of Lester Holt and Oppenheimer is actually the illogical one. You can’t really assess demographics of an organization from one visible person. You could say “where is the black representation in these organizations like NPR? ” because …

            Non-Hispanic White : 48.2%
            Black or African American : 25.3%
            Hispanic or Latino : 14.1%
            Asian : 9.3%
            Mixed and Other : 3.1%

            I don’t know about the sound technicians, or storyboard editors; the on-air personalities, they fired the only black guy there, Juan Williams, because … wait for it … he made statements that sounded Conservative/Republican !!! 🙂

            It’s funny because the whole crux of your argument is that you don’t like others criticizing NPR’s liberal bias because you claim its not based on fact and is too subjective. I’m providing census bureau, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia board of election statistics about the underlying population likely to be in the workforce. I think instead you should find some fact based approach to defend why you think NPR is void of such bias.

          • BCinBCS

            The political leanings of a reporter IS NOT proof of biased reporting!
            Listen to the damned reports and then make up your mind. And, a fair observer will come to the conclusion that NPR’s news is not biased. (That isn’t to say that they do not cover liberal topics but when they do, they present all sides of the issue).

          • Mike Jarvis

            Yeah, I don’t think its anything malicious. I just think its probably like 100% of the people creating NPR are liberal Democrats. Its more of like blind bias. I think you could say the same about Fox news, which in my opinion is not malicious at all. I have no facts to support this claim, but I would guess most people working for FOX align themselves w/ Republican party. As I said in my original comment, people’s willingness to just spew the same spin they hear from their select MSM channel and party.. its funny to me. I like to watch Ron Paul tell his viewers to question the whole legitimacy of the FBI and read Edgar Hoover’s historical biography , or I was checking out some Twitter claims of possible indictments being brought against the administration over the weekend . – https://twitter.com/TrueFactsStated and http://www.palmerreport.com/

          • Jed

            you do realize that characterizing a group’s political “bias” on the basis of its racial make-up is the definition of racist, right?

          • Mike Jarvis

            I never do that anywhere. The counterpoint I make is to the comment above mine ( Lester Holt is black, therefor all NBC is slanted toward black bias ) . I’m making the point that his comment is illogical – and a better way for him to poke a hole in my theory ( which is that NPR is liberal because the underlying workforce in the DC metro area is likely 75%+ Democrat ) , would be to cite racial demographics and ask why NPR is not a representative of the racial makeup of the city that creates it.

            But, Jed, you’re smart, so explain to me how I’m such an awful racist. ( I’m not and that’s a pretty offensive thing to sling at someone. )

          • Jed

            you didn’t just cite demographic data, you ascribed particular behaviors on the basis of the demographic data.

            that’s racism. sorry if you are offended by a basic description of your own behavior.

            why does it matter whether the NPR “represents” a particular source pool? do you ask the same questions about teachers? public safety officers? business-people? political officials? etc.

          • Mike Jarvis

            No I didn’t. read very carefully what I wrote. I felt the need to respond to someone’s illogical argument that “NBC is black biased because Lester Holt works there”, but I am saying is illogical and doesn’t make any sense and is not applicable.

            Remember. my crucial argument is that NPR is liberal biased based off of the PARTY REGISTRATION and 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION VOTING RECORD of the entire metro area. Its a good statistical sampling of the people who are likely to work at ALL EMPLOYERS in the DC metro area. It’s 75%+ for DC proper and the surrounding counties. And based off my assumptions ( which are not fact based ) I’m guessing of the ~25% of DC that is Republican affiliated, a great number of these people are working in the Pentagon or Homeland Security/National Security operations or Republican think tanks, Republican staff and aides, etc. – I’m guessing NPR’s workforce is probably more like 100% liberal in the affiliation of its employees.

            So, you’re confounding the voter registration and 2016 presidential election stats I’m providing with the demographic data about race. I can understand the confusion but I felt the need to respond to the previous comments about Lester Holt and NBC.

            When I provided the racial demographic data from wikipedia, I was making a point that BCinBCS could better counter-argue my assumption of NPR being 75%+ liberal if it is not also 25% black, which we don’t really have any statistics on, but one could argue, it’s probably not.

        • Mike Jarvis

          In the 2016 Presidential Elections, the counties bordering DC voted for Hillary… Prince George: 88.1%, Montgomery: 74.7%, Arlington: 75.8%. It’s from this here. https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president . I would say its safe to say, roughly, that there is a 75% chance that an NPR employee is liberal, if not closer to 100%. Next, I’m making a factless statement here, but I would guess the 25% of Republicans in the DC metro are working for the DoD or for Republican party / think tanks / congress etc.

          • BCinBCS

            I applaud your statistics but they do not disprove my statement that NPR and PBS are liberal news sources. There are millions and millions of people in the Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston corridor but that but that doesn’t prove anything, just like your statistics proved nothing. If you cannot show/prove a bias then you are wrong to claim a bias.

  • roadgeek

    “…Abbott and his aides took a major step in this year’s efforts by Texas Republican leaders to bypass the state’s mainstream media and obtain unfiltered access to the public. ”

    And why is this a problem? For too long, the MSM acted as Gatekeepers of all that they deemed important for the proles to know. They controlled the flow of information, and they controlled the narrative. They “filtered” the news to obtain a desired result. It got really tiresome.

    No more. With the Internet I can obtain my news from a multitude of sources. It’s exhilarating. And the MSM, R G Ratcliffe and Texas Monthly included, are as irrelevant and outmoded as carbon paper.

    • WUSRPH

      The problem is that, like most people, you are “selective” in choosing your sources…..rather than actually making an effort to examine a “multitude of sources”…….Even it you actually went to more than just your pre-picked for agreeing with your views handful, you have to learn how to judge the truthfulness of what is being said—and the importance—by more than its ideological content. This allows you to find your “alternative facts” and claim them to be truth.. The MSM was not perfect…nothing can be when people are involved….but at least its members were trained to try to find the various sides of an issue and present them. Fox and your alternative sources make no effort to show the complexities of the truth…..or to put things into perspective. The result is not only a lack of real understanding of the issues but a malformed judgment.

    • José

      You describe this as though it has to be an either/or situation, and it doesn’t. The Big Three networks model disappeared long ago. Whatever you call MSM, they are not the gatekeepers. Instead of either / or it should be both / and. Abbott is free to tweet and toot and twaddle and all that. He can speak to all sorts of places where he won’t get challenged—friendly churches, awed civic organizations, ordinary folks sitting in a cafe drinking coffee. But when he avoids talking with citizens who might disagree with him, and when he refuses interviews with actual reporters who ask in depth questions about real subjects, then he’s being arrogant and disrespectful of the public that he was elected to serve.

      • Jed

        Not just arrogant and disrespectful. Also subversive. You have underargued by more than half.

        A trained, professional media plays a crucial role in safeguarding popular government by playing a watchdog role. When the government is allowed to end run the watchdogs, representative govermeny is in jeopardy.

        • SpiritofPearl

          I stopped watching cable news because THEY decide what they think I should know. I also cannot tolerate the spitting, rudeness, and commercials.

        • BCinBCS

          This very end run phenomena has happened in Russia and North Korea and is happening in Turkey under the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan administration. Journalists are arrested and killed if they offer anything but the party line.

      • SpiritofPearl

        . . . and cowardly.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Then why do you continue to come here to pontificate?

      • roadgeek

        I try to cultivate a wide range of opinions and news. Tough to believe, I know, but quite true. I subscribe to, as of this morning, 153 different blogs, from the left to the moderate middle to the right. I read voraciously; I just finished “Shattered”, about the failed Clinton campaign. I read the Austin Chronicle cover-to-cover, believe it or not. I don’t actually read Breitbart, as I find them too shrill. I slog through Slate every day, although most days it’s rough going. And AmRen, of course…. 🙂

        • roadgeek

          R G Ratcliffe is just one of many veterans of the news industry who is beyond vexed that he has become irrelevant. He’s a good writer, but he’s obviously having trouble with having become a dunsel.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Blogs are opinions, nothing more, as is the Chronicle.

          Do you read the NYT, WSJ, and WaPo? If not, why not?

          • SpiritofPearl

            It’s because you have allowed yourself to be brainwashed into believing that “MSM” is “fake news,” yet believe blogs of questionable veracity.

            I stopped reading Daily Kos because it is written by amateurs who simply want to vent, just like Breitbart, Red State, and AmRen.

            “Shattered” rubs your biases, just as “Game Change” rubbed mine. I read it with eyes wide open. I hope I live long enough to read the books that will be written about Mad King’s short reign.

          • Jed

            “Blogs are opinions, nothing more, as is the Chronicle.”

            the austin chronicle is a reliable local news source, staffed by professional and highly qualified journalists, who write news articles about local politics (as well as many other things) that far surpasses anything you can get from any other single source, both in breadth and depth.

            but if you oppose opining bereft of evidence by the media, maybe you should stop recommending WSJ.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I disagree. I like the Chronicle, but it only comes out once a week.

            WRT WSJ, what other source on the right would you recommend? Gotta look at all sides . . .

          • Jed

            AC once a week has better original austin reporting than any other source. I can’t even imagine what you are thinking is better. And to your original comment, how often it comes out has nothing to do with whether it compares to a blog or a newspaper.

            You don’t gotta look at all sides when one side is obviously corrupt. Haven’t you been paying attention? Acting as if both sides deserve equal credence is what got us here.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I attempt to read multiple sources on both sides and the center.

          • SpiritofPearl

            My observation of the AC is that it covers the music and art scene quite well. (My DIL is an artist whose work has been profiled in the AC.). I seldom read the Statesman as it seems to be “yesterday’s news today.” My spouse (who has a doctorate in political science) reads the Statesman thoroughly each morning. Different strokes for different folks . . .

            My point here is that we should all read multiple sources to be informed.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I didn’t say I gave them both equivalent credencies. Not all individuals who disagree with me are corrupt. Those who are honest deserve to be heard.

          • Jed

            “I didn’t say I gave them both equivalent credencies. Not all individuals who disagree with me are corrupt. Those who are honest deserve to be heard.”

            yes, but we were talking about the WSJ.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Are you writing for the AC? You seem protective of it.

          • Jed

            well, it isn’t the AP wire, which your husband is getting from a firehose if he reads the AAS. do they even have reporters anymore?

            i prefer my austin news to be written by people in austin. i wouldn’t say i am “protective” of the AC, so much as “reactive” to misinformation (like calling the most productive politics reporters in texas “opinion bloggers”).

          • SpiritofPearl

            Sorry. I don’t see the AC in the same light as you do. I get better Texas info from TM, TO, and TT – more straight reporting than op-eds.

            If my dear spouse reads AAS, I’d be surprised.

          • Jed

            spirit of pearl this morning:

            “My spouse (who has a doctorate in political science) reads the Statesman thoroughly each morning. ”

            spirit of pearl this afternoon:

            “If my dear spouse reads AAS, I’d be surprised.”

          • SpiritofPearl

            I thought you were referring to an academic journal . . .

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    • BCinBCS

      Maybe this analogy will help answer your question why we need the main stream media:

      “For too long, the MSM doctors acted as Gatekeepers of all that they deemed
      important for the proles to know. They controlled the flow of
      information
      medicine, and they controlled the narrative treatments. They “filtered” the news symptoms
      to obtain a desired result diagnosis. It got really tiresome. No more. With the Internet I can obtain my news medical treatment from a multitude of sources. It’s exhilarating.”

    • SpiritofPearl

      Just because a media source is mainstream does not mean it is wrong.

      • WUSRPH

        You can say the same for non-MS media. What is important is the writer’s intent, critical thinking abilities and commitment to being as objective as possible, not where it runs.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Also the track record of the publication vis-a-vis accuracy . . .

          • SpiritofPearl

            Important to understand the difference between opinion and straight reportage . . .

          • WUSRPH

            JJ never could and never will. He always thought that if you reported something you agreed with it…..

          • SpiritofPearl

            His beliefs make him a bitter man.

        • SpiritofPearl

          True.

  • WUSRPH

    Isn’t if funny how politicians like Gov. Abbott claim to love police so much…but when the police tell them something is bad policy and will make their jobs harder and more dangerous—-as they have on SB 4—they completely ignore them in pursuit of political gain.

  • WUSRPH

    Various groups are calling for a boycott of Texas as a protest for the sanctuary cities “show me your papers” law, but how do you boycott Texas if you are a native-born Texan and have lived here for all your life except for college?

    • SpiritofPearl

      Start ordering most items you use from Amazon.

  • WUSRPH

    The Texas Legislature has a consistent record of passing laws that violate the US Constitution. It even does it when it is clear that the proposal is invalid on its face….That way it can blame the evil Federal Government… It also occasionally passes laws that violate the State’s own constitution….but, when it does so it is not deliberate…but only because few members ever pay any attention to what the Texas Constitution says about anything……That appears to be the case with a proposal moving thru the House to allow adoption agencies and the state agency handling them to deny adoption requests on the grounds that the potential parents are of the right religion or of any religion…….The problem with this clear religious discrimination is that it appears to be in direct violation of Sec. 3a of Article I of the TEXAS CONSTITUTION that, in case you have forgotten, provides:

    “Sec. 3a. EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin.”
    But you can be sure that the Legislature will not let a little thing like its own constitution stand in the way of appeasing the far right religions groups.

    • WUSRPH

      They passed it.

  • WUSRPH

    I don’t know about the fate of Burka Blog….BUT the new thread—see above—certainly puts to rest the idea that TM is no longer interested in Texas politics. CONGRATULATIONS TO R.G. It is well deserved.

  • WUSRPH

    Once there was one who could be offered immunity by Congress or a prosecutor to tell what they know about the Trump campaign, etc. Now there are two…….How many will there be more to come before this is all over?

    • WUSRPH

      Both helped make him president….but now appear to have been thrown to the wolves……Trump never learned that loyalty is a two-way street.

  • BBQ

    Only one year ago, Texas Monthly reported that Texas had no sanctuary cities; that cities were cooperating with federal officials; and that republicans were just making noise. http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/does-texas-have-any-sanctuary-cities/

    One year later, you tell me that a ban on such cities will make us all less safe?

  • WUSRPH

    The real reason for “going direct to the public without any filter by the media” is that it is so, so much easier to lie, distort or tell less than the truth when there is no one there to even raise an eyebrow. In this age of “post-Truth” politics and Trumpism we are going to see more and more so-called “representatives of the people” ducking any opportunity to have their vision of the truth (and or “alternative facts”) challenged. We have already seen how some are replacing town hall meetings with giant telephone conference calls where they control everything that is said or heard. It won’t be limited to the right…..one of Austin’s so-called liberal politicians is already using that technique on a regular basis. After all, some who read Orwell’s “1984” thought the chapter on “Newspeak” was pretty good stuff.

  • WUSRPH

    Richard Nixon’s “Saturday night massacre” in Oct. of 1973 when he fired the special prosecutor who was investigating the Watergate Scandal (and in the process had the Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General refuse to do it and both resign) was probably the act that really blew open the investigation and eventually led to his “resignation” on the eve of being impeached by the U.S. House.

    Some are trying to build the Comey firing into the same kind of a straw that broke the camel’s back incident but I doubt it will have anywhere near of an impact that that Saturday night had on Nixon…..primarily because it came after months of disclosures of the misdeeds by Nixon’s aides and minions and after he had refused the special prosecutor’s request for any recordings of White House conversations on the subject. We just have not gotten that far into Russiagate, nor has Trump done as much—that anyone but Comey may know about—to harasses, intimidate and thwart the investigation. Of course, we could get there some day……

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of 1984 and the Ministry of Truth: All of Trump’s campaign promises have been taken off his web site…..You cannot compare something to what he does when there is no longer a list……or maybe they are just being “corrected”.

  • WUSRPH

    It is beginning to look more like the Saturday Night Massacre….Comey asks for more resources to probe Russiagate and is fired within days. Also, Sessions apparently does not want to let the Deputy Director do his job but is looking at bringing in an “interim” director……who will clearly follow orders.

    • BCinBCS
      • BCinBCS
        • José

          I remember. Very unsettling. Reminds me a lot of the situation today. The main difference is that during Watergate the Dems had a majority in Congress and were willing to hold the President accountable. Today the GOP runs both houses and, well, they aren’t doing their jobs. Is it because they are afraid of mean tweets from the WH? Is it because they still have hope of being able to force through their agenda with 45 in office? Very disappointing. I expected that more of them would have the courage and integrity to stand up for principles.

          • BCinBCS

            Jose´: “I expected that more of them would have the courage and integrity to stand up for principles.

            In those days Republicans would choose country over party. That has completely reversed today. (Remember Howard Baker’s famous questions? “What did President Nixon know and when did he know it?”)

          • SeeItMyWay

            You are painting with a pretty large brush. Many of the GOP legislators, if you remember, are not fans of our President, but their disdain for all that is Obama/Clinton overrides their dislike of Trump – to a point.

            All those TP’ers in Austin are still Ted supporters. They retweet as many harsh things about Trump as the angry Democrats do.

            Lindsey Graham has called for any Trump tapes to be turned over to congressional committees for review, so cussing all the GOP might have been premature.

          • José

            Clinton lost. Obama’s been out of office for months. They can’t keep beating that horse. She’s dead.

            While I appreciate the sentiments of a few Republicans, notably Graham but also Sasse and sometimes McCain, words and tweets alone aren’t nearly sufficient. We need action. It’s not coming from GOP leadership, that’s for sure. McConnell wants to convince everyone that things are normal so that his bloc can wait out the storm, just like every other crisis. He’s not going to push for the truth. And Ryan, that kid couldn’t control his mob if he wanted to.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Obama/Clinton might be gone, but their footprints aren’t.

            The GOP is fractured and unable to move things forward. What they do push is ill thought out.

            The Democrats are cohesive, but have now assumed the role of obstructionists that the GOP held for the last eight years.

            Congress is disfunctional and all parties are participating in making it so. You will not find me cheerleading for either group.

      • BCinBCS
  • BCinBCS

    I have always enjoyed David Frum. I was an avid reader of his blog, Frum Forum until he shut it down. He has astute observations including this most recent one:
    The question has to be asked searchingly of the Republican members of Congress: Will you allow a president of your party to attack the integrity of the FBI? You impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex. Will you now condone and protect a Republican administration lying about espionage?

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/this-is-not-a-drill/526056/

  • WUSRPH

    For those of you who don’t want your news “filtered” here is the full interview Trump had with The
    Economist……Needless-to-say, since they know what they are talking about and he
    doesn’t, they were not that impressed.

    http://tinyurl.com/llgskj2

    http://tinyurl.com/llgskj2

  • WUSRPH

    Trump is now playing with the idea of abolishing the daily WH press briefings since the cannot insure “100% accuracy” (usually because his people cannot get their act together) and substituting written questions
    submitted for written answers. What do you think will be the average turnaround on any controversial issue—-90 days?

    Of course, the current press conferences have gotten to be a kind of circus……perhaps because—as several
    former presidential press secretaries have suggested—because they are broadcast live. They suggest having them taped for broadcast later which seems like a reasonable idea to me. We don’t always have to have our news instantly…..a few minutes wait would not hurt—or, if there was something really big, the reporters could run outside and tell the world….like those scenes in the old movies when they all run for the telephone booth.

  • VoiceofReason

    Of course TRUMP TRASH, ABBOTT and REPUBLICANS don’t LIKE THE MEDIA and have a CONTEMPT for the media sources, because they CALL OUT REPUBLICANS for their INSANITY.. SCIENCE DENYING, LACK OF INTELLIGENCE and MORALITY TOWARDS HUMANITY and shows there CONTEMPT of anything that is LOGICAL, TRUE and ACADEMIC !!.. Republicans these days TOTALLY PERSONIFY what is WRONG with NOT getting an EDUCATION, what is WRONG with a LOVE of REALITY TRASH TV and HATE MEDIA NEWS !!! .. This isn’t a TRICK QUESTION !! REPUBLICANS are VIOLATING everything that is MORAL, ETHICAL, ACADEMIC, CONSTITUTIONAL and MOST IMPORTANTLY …. SPIRITUAL AND THIS WILL NOT, ABSOLUTELY WON’T BE ALLOWED TO BE CONTINUED !!

    • SeeItMyWay

      Are we expected to respond to that if we disagree somewhat? Sounds like your mind is pretty much made up.