Mainstream Media Push Democrats’ Anti-Perry Narrative
Texas media is running without a question a narrative being spoon-fed to them by a liberal activist group seeking to derail Gov. Rick Perry’s presumed 2016 presidential ambitions. Not once has the Dallas Morning News, Austin American Statesman or other newspaper disclosed the political leanings of “Texans for Public Justice” in breathless reporting of the charges brought by the organization against Perry. Nor have they noted that the “special prosecutor” appointed to the case is a Democrat.
In notoriously Democratic Travis County, a grand jury has been convened to consider allegations that Perry’s line-item veto of the Public Integrity Unit constituted bribery. The unit is managed by the Travis County District Attorney’s office but is funded primarily with state dollars. Last spring, the incumbent District Attorney--Rosemary Lehmberg--was arrested for drunk driving. She subsequently pled guilty and spent 45 days in jail after videos of her arrest and jailhouse booking behavior were made public.
Many elected officials called for her to step down, but she refused. Perry threatened to veto the unit’s funding if she did not, and then later made good on the promise, questioning the legitimacy of the office under her leadership.
The liberal activist group, Texans for Public Justice, which brought the complaint against Perry has a long history of dogging conservatives. A report by Texans for Lawsuit Reform described it as being set-up by “veteran operatives of leftist, out-of-state organizations.”
“TPJ’s main mode of derision is a steady stream of reports targeting campaign contributions,” the report noted.
The group “has used an array of slanted, self-published reports to criticize a select segment of this state’s political spectrum,” according to the report. “The targets of TPJ’s attacks are almost exclusively Republicans, business leaders and organizations, and those interested in the reform of Texas’ civil justice system.”
Recent media reports of TPJ’s attack on Perry continue the trend of ignoring the organization’s liberal background and bias against conservatives. Indeed, no articles on the subject can be found which describe TPJ has anything other than a “non-partisan” “watchdog” group.
Political strategist Ray Sullivan, who once worked for Perry, said the TPJ attack “ridiculously targets one of the Governor's most clear, constitutionally enshrined and time-tested powers”: the veto pen.
“Every decade or so, Travis County liberals trump up false charges and try to indict a sitting Republican official, garnering many headlines for claims that are ultimately thrown out or overturned in court,” said Sullivan. “Governor Perry's actions were completely consistent with the Texas Constitution and aimed at preventing an embarrassing and admitted law-breaker from administrating the state's public integrity unit.”
Many recent articles led with the presumption of guilt by the governor.
A Dallas Morning News article on Sunday by Christy Hoppe led with this:
Gov. Rick Perry, using longevity and sharp elbows, has managed to clear offices and insert loyalists into virtually every important position in state government.
Now, a Travis County grand jury is weighing whether he went too far trying to shove a Democratic elected official from office.
Columnist Ken Herman of the Austin American Statesman wrote on Sunday that “there may be more for Perry to worry about than I first thought. His decision to hire topnotch local lawyer David Botsford to represent him indicates the governor feels likewise.”
The Herman opinion article was titled “Can veto by Perry also be a crime?” and was published the same day his Austin American-Statesman colleagues wrote a front-page piece titled “Probe muddies Perry’s prospects” in reference to his nascent 2016 presidential bid.
Herman wrote that he reached his conclusion after a long conversation with TPJ’s front-man, Craig McDonald. TPJ and McDonald claim Perry would have personally benefited by Lehmberg’s resignation, because he would have been allowed to appoint her successor. They also claim Perry’s actions amounted to “official oppression.”
While being prosecuted in Travis County, the case is being handled, at taxpayer expense, by a Michael McCrum, a San Antonio attorney who was appointed to a “special prosecutor” post by Bexar County Judge Bert Richardson, a Republican.
So far, media reports about McCrum’s involvement in the case have neglected to mention that in 2010 he was being pushed for political appointment by the Obama Administration. A Democratic donor, McCrum withdrew his name from consideration after his nomination stalled, according to the Texas Tribune. Additionally, state records show McCrum gave a $500 donation to the judge who appointed him to spear-head the investigation.
Election law expert Trey Trainor, a partner with Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, told Breitbart News that the allegations are nothing more than “a highly organized effort by those on the left to use the grand jury process to smear a successful conservative.”
“The left has been unable to win approval of their policy ideas at the ballot box so they are now seizing upon an opportunity to attack the conservative who has a proven track record of leading, and winning, on ideas they cannot ideologically combat,” said Trainor. “There is clearly nothing criminal about Governor Perry's actions.”
Michael Quinn Sullivan is the President of Empower Texans