IssuesA Case Study in Media Dishonesty and Why The Texan Exists

A freshman Texas congressman at the center of a firestorm highlights that media is weaponizing citizens against one another. We exist to put a stop to it.
May 29, 2019
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Last night, Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX-21) went on CNN to join Chris Cuomo to discuss his objection to a unanimous consent motion last week over a $19.1 billion disaster bill. As background, House Democrats tried to pass the federal disaster package after members had already recessed for the Memorial Day break.

Congressman Roy stated that he objected for three reasons, which he gave in a brief floor speech and a follow-up press release. He said that Congress should actually provide a recorded vote on big spending bills instead of passing legislation without a vote. He stated that the bill provided no funding for what he has described as a humanitarian crisis on the border. And he stated that the spending is not offset, which in the context of a $22 trillion national debt, is problematic to him.

The Texan covered that story in great detail that same day.

The decision by the freshman Texas congressman resulted in a massive national story with some people applauding Rep. Roy and some people deriding him.

This is to be expected and should be encouraged in a free republic where the exchange of different perspectives and viewpoints is necessary for a healthy civil society and for governing.

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What followed last night and this morning, however, was a case study in why there is deep distrust of the media.

And why it is well-founded.

During the conversation with host Chris Cuomo, Rep. Roy was challenged about his objection to the disaster bill over the lack of funding for the border crisis. Cuomo pointed out that Congress can’t handle all of these issues at once and that they “can’t even get these kids out of harm’s way.”

Rep. Roy responded that that was why he wanted to have a debate on the $4.4 billion funding request from the Office of Management and Budget for providing beds, medical care, and additional humanitarian assistance for illegal aliens in our custody.

Cuomo interjected that it would take too much time.

“Deal with the kids right now, Chip. You know they’re dying,” Cuomo stated.

“Fine, we can have that debate about the beds that are needed to house the kids. Let’s have that debate about the beds that are needed to deal with the families. Let’s have that debate about the fentanyl that’s coming across the border. The cartels that have operational control of the border,” Roy responded.

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar then proceeded to clip the entire interview, which spanned close to seven minutes, down to a 4-second snapshot in order to characterize Rep. Roy as saying “Fine” to children dying. He engaged in such an appalling display of dishonesty despite the longer clip clearly showing that Rep. Roy was saying “Fine” in the context of having a larger debate on Cuomo’s point regarding the humanitarian needs of those at the border.

Why?

Because Aaron Rupar is less interested in a common set of facts and more interested in advancing a progressive narrative under the guise of journalism.

And Texas outlets are not immune to such displays of dishonesty either.

Scott Braddock, the editor of Quorum Report, which serves as an insider’s playbook on happenings within the state capitol and the lobbying industry here in Texas, tweeted the following out this morning.

This is simply dishonest. And all it takes is a viewing of the whole clip to realize that this is dishonest.

Such actions only serve to inflame the deep distrust among Texans and all Americans of different political perspectives about one another and about the integrity of the media.

The display by Rupar and Braddock are embodiments for why the entire concept of “fake news” still resonates with so many Americans.

It is also why The Texan exists.

We make no bones about the fact that we’re individuals largely with a right-of-center worldview. It’s outright stated in our Code of Ethics. As CEO and founder of The Texan, I’m also a former conservative state senator and Tea Party leader. Our editor is a former Heritage Foundation employee, a former policy staffer to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and a former analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

However, unlike many other outlets, we don’t exist to carry one tribe’s narrative. There are plenty of stories that we have covered and will continue to cover that don’t paint Republican figures or conservative ideas in a positive light because the facts suggest to do so would be a misrepresentation of what is actually happening at that particular moment.

We exist to report on a common set of facts and give voice to as many sides of a debate as we can for the benefit of our readers and subscribers. We also attempt to do so in a way that isn’t actively waging war on the worldview of millions of Texans who, understandably, believe they have few places to go for news and information that isn’t aimed at carrying a progressive narrative, facts be damned.

The media has to do better or the industry will soon transform into full-fledged propaganda for one political tribe or the other.

The media has to do better for the health of our civil society and for the benefit of the millions of people who are simply living their lives keeping this state and this country going, who just want to know what the heck happened during the day that was newsworthy.

Intentionally arming warring political tribes to loathe one another through dishonest means may make some in media feel good about the dopamine they receive from “likes” and “retweets,” but that only makes sense if one is interested in a particular team winning at all costs.

It doesn’t make sense if you just want people to have information that they can process on their own to be better-informed citizens.

Which is allegedly the entire purpose of journalism.

It’s fine for reporters and self-described journalists to have a worldview and political leanings. As adults who process information and follow developments on a near constant basis, it would be borderline inhuman not to have an opinion on issues.

However, when your job is to simply provide the public with information, it is not fine to elevate the success of your ideology or political biases above everything else.

Doing so in such an obvious manner not only breeds contempt among everyday people for one another and those tasked with reporting what’s happening, but it also results in inevitable challenges to the self-appointed guardians of knowledge in the media.

Sometimes those challenges result in viable competitors.

And sometimes those viable competitors prove that they’re better suited for the task.

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Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.

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Konni Burton

Konni Burton is Founder and CEO of The Texan. Previously, she was a grassroots activist who worked on numerous campaigns for local, state and federal races. Konni then went on to run for office and was elected in 2014 to serve Tarrant County's Senate District 10 in Austin. Her experience as a grassroots activist, elected official, and taxpaying citizen provides a unique and valuable perspective on the political landscape in Texas.