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Article on Perry Shows Bias That Will Plague the GOP

I do love journalism. It’s my chosen profession. And despite the condemnation on the right of the mainstream media, I think many regular reporters do excellent work.

But a liberal bias exists. And conservatives are right to be angry about it, and their hostility to the press is understandable. While most reporters I know try to surpress their political opinions and do honest work, the bias seeps out.

Often, it’s in the selection of stories.

If a Republican blocks or gets rid of a government regulation, you will see lots of copy about how it will harm people or the environment. If a Democrat establishes a new regulation, you need to look hard for articles about jobs lost or the adverse effects on business.

And sometimes, mainstream reporters don’t even seem to try to surpress their viewpoint.

How else to explain this article by Washington Post reporter Michael Fletcher about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, which appeared yesterday at the top of the Post website, It starts with a premise that is demonstrably untrue – that “much” of the employment growth in Texas under Rick Perry is due to government jobs – and cherry picks misleading evidence to support this false notion.

This is the type of thing Republicans will be up against during the campaign. Usually it will be less ham-handed.

Take a look at the first few paragraphs of the story.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has leapfrogged to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates largely on the strength of one compelling fact: During more than a decade as governor, his state created more than 1 million jobs, while the nation as a whole lost 1.4 million jobs.

Perry says the “Texas miracle” rests on conservative pillars that he would bring to the White House: minimal regulation and government, low taxes and a determination to limit the reach of Uncle Sam.

What he does not say is that much of that job growth has come because of government, not in spite of it.

With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure.

What is left out here is that about 300,000 of the more than 1 million jobs created under Perry – less than a third – are government jobs. And a significant number of these were established to service the people who were migrating into the state because of all the private sector jobs being created.

THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH LESS THAN ONE THIRD CAN BE CHARACTERIZED AS “MUCH” OF A TOTAL. It’s not “much” of it. It’s some of it. Except if you are trying to create a dramatic headline, or you are biased against your subject because they are Republican, or both.

It may be true that government jobs in Texas grew at a faster rate. But that’s starting from a smaller number. Including this phrase about percentages without also giving the raw numbers suggests that the reporter is disingenuously trying to back up his erroneous statement that “much” of the job growth is due to government jobs.

"Here, have a job."

Even the Washington Post’s own graphic  helps puts the lie to the story. It shows that during Perry’s 11 years in office, private sector jobs grew nine percent in Texas, while employment in the nation overall declined by 2 percent. That suggests a very robust private sector jobs picture in Texas.

The first analyst cited in the article by Fletcher, from the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, calls public sector employment “an ongoing driver of our job growth.” Fletcher describes the CPPP as a “a research and advocacy group in Austin.” Sounds benign, but it’s not hard to see where the group is actually coming from.

It’s run by F. Scott McGowan, who has recently penned articles supporting Obamacare and saying what a terrible mistake it was for Perry to cut taxes by $10 billion in 2006. His number two is Anne Dunkelberg, whose “activities and interests” on her Facebook page include “Barack Obama,” “Telling Dick Cheney to Shut the Hell Up,” and ” Can this poodle wearing a tinfoil hat get more fans than Glenn Beck?”

Reporters in Washington often shake their heads at things like conservative talk radio and Fox News. What they don’t realize is that, THEY created the conservative media, which grew up in response to articles like this one.

Those overtly biased conservative outlets will balance the less obvious but ultimately more pernicious bias – since it emerges from beneath claims of neutrality – of a mainstream media that overwhelmingly sympathizes with the goals and ideology of President Obama.

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22 Responses to Article on Perry Shows Bias That Will Plague the GOP

  1. Oh, yeah–the meme is the jobs are from the stimulus and Obama really created them. I have heard this half a dozen times… You have to kick your way through the cow pies these days… All hat no cattle–another one for him. No one in Texas likes him–another one. No one is original or interesting…

  2. Disheartening…and I bet if you had a discussion about the article with Mr. Michael Fletcher, he’d deny being biased at all. “What, are you crazy Koffler?” The only good news I can think of is that during this presidential election cycle, most voters will be getting their news via the Internet and the number one news network, Fox.

  3. Great article Keith. Thank you for telling both sides of the story. Something that is missing quite often in a lot of papers and broadcast.

  4. We all recognize the bias of the media favoring the Democrat party, so this is not surprising. Austin is a hotbed for progressives so be leery of any political advocacy group based out of there. I’m no fan of Rick Perry, but he has done a lot more good for Texas than he has done harm. The fact that our State legislators only meet once every two years has also helped to keep the Texas economy stable.

    I can tell you one thing…if the choice in November 2012 is between Perry and Obama, I’m voting for Perry.

  5. WashPo liberal bias to the extent of a misleading premise..shocking!

    What gave the conservative press/media impetus could be a mixture of many things. One of the most important was the basic American resistance to the MSM’s making an idol of grand proportions of a Chicago politician with a strange name and shadowy background. The coordinated praise and awe that we read/heard about every day made the MSM seem like a cult promoting their annointed one. We didn’t buy it.
    FOXnews. and a thousand internet sites. gave us the real story, gave us a different view of national events. and the viewer stats prove that America has turned off the tradional news givers.

    The Dems who can pull enough weight to appear on national TV or be quoted in the MSM dailys, have been given opportunities to assail the very voters they wish to convince. Terrorists, racists, anti-every-thing-in-the-world are few of the epitaphs spouted, without any censorship, every day.

    We all respect the office of the President, until he, himself, has maligned our intents and lowered himself to blaming those of us who want our government to act and spend as if the dollars we send them are hard-earned.

    The attacks on every Repub candidate is mind-numbing and over the top.
    We’re not listening anymore. We’ll decide on our own, now.

  6. Yep, it reads like an attack on Perry, in my opinion. Cherry picking the “rate” of gov’t job increase is typical liberal agenda BS: Dupe their under-educated base into hating conservative candidates. A real lack of integrity on the part of Washington Post.

    Good job Keith. You’re an honest man.

  7. My Dad used to tell me it wasn’t a compliment when somebody thanked you for being honest. Still isn’t but a lot more rare. Good piece, KK.

    • Thanks Mike. Reminds me of something my wife said. I had lost something valuable, can’t remember what, and someone returned it. Might have been my wallet. And I wanted to give them $20 bucks or so. And she says, “So, you’re going to reward them for not stealing from you, is that correct?”

  8. How do you know that the White House isn’t supplying all the main points of this article and gave “references” to look like this wasn’t the angle the WH wanted the reporter to cover? I saw almost the exact same article in the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post during the 2008 campaign, all using points and quotes that the Obama campaign had supplied. Remember, David Axelrod was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune – he knows how to work it. Moreover, and credit to Rush LImbaugh for pointing this out, a NYT reporter took a campaign highlight sheet and basically did a point by point article and was only caught because the fact sheet inadvertently got out. And let us not forget the infamous Journolist.

  9. “THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH LESS THAN ONE THIRD CAN BE CHARACTERIZED AS “MUCH” OF A TOTAL.”

    I disagree. I put “much” at south of 50%, which would be most or the majority. I’d call it a significant minority. Example: Much of my hair is thinning!

    If this is the extent of the bias that created Fox News, I might also encourage my 7-year-old to start packing a gun to school for his classmates finding much of his knock-knock jokes unfunny.

  10. Yeah but the greatest sound in the world is the sound a liberal makes when you say “President Rick Perry.” It is music to my ears. Try it at HuffingPuffingPost. More fun than most.

  11. Who should be Perry’s running-mate? Bachman? Romney? Cain? Palin? Paul? Gingrich? Santorum? Huntsman? Who do you want to see as VP>