While the mainstream media has done its normal job of downplaying, dismissing, or defending Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis from her bio fabrications, policy flip-flops, and ethics complaints, the quiet buzz in the media is that the Democrat rising star is in over her head with a state-wide campaign. It’s doubtful a new report about the Davis campaign’s underhanded dealings with the media will help that.
This latest scandal revolves around a speech Davis gave January 28 to Travis County Democrats that barred press coverage. It was an important speech – the one where she falsely blamed Republican Greg Abbott for her own biography fabrications. All media was barred except for one reporter and a camera that live-streamed the event. The Davis campaign blamed the event organizers for barring the media. But that doesn’t appear to be true:
The Texas Monthly piece would suggest the campaign was less than truthful when it came to admitting its role in the event and explaining what actually went down to the same reporters it had previously slighted.
Let’s start with the media access issue.
This is the one that really chapped reporters, in part, because it’s simply hard to swallow the notion that the biggest and most prominent Texas Democratic gubernatorial campaign in a very long time was muscled by a local party into having zero say as to which press outlets could attend and cover.
Davis’ campaign has said repeatedly that the Travis Democrats set the rules of the road in terms of press coverage and it had no leeway in pushing back on the issue (Travis County Democrats have said they made the decision to give access to only one media outlet, citing occupancy limits in the ballroom as a justification for barring the press corps as a whole).
But Robert Draper, who authored a front-page New York Times Magazine piece last month on Davis’ gubernatorial bid and who wrote the Texas Monthly story, reports that Davis’ folks actually played a role in making the decision to bar reporters.
The media is correct that Davis is not ready for primetime. But her ethical lapses are piling up, and these will hurt any second chance she thinks she might get.