Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

March 08, 2005

Rick Perry Attacks Blogs Again

By Byron LaMasters

Rick Perry really doesn't get blogs. For the second time in just over a year, Governor Perry has gone to the Austin American Statesman attacking the blogosphere. This time, Perry's victim was In the Pink, Texas. Here's what Perry's spokesman said this time:

"Blogs are certainly appropriate expressions of people's opinions," gubernatorial spokesman Robert Black said Monday. "The general public has to realize on blogs . . . there are no controls on accuracy or honesty. And there's no accountability.

"People need to be very careful with what they read in the blogs. Most blogs seem to be run with a pretty severe liberal bent."

Most blogs are run with a "severe liberal bent"? That's completely laughable. I guess that the governor has never heard of Instapundit, Powerline Blog or Little Green Footballs. And even if we just look at Texas blogs, I guess that the governor has never heard of Beldar Blog, the Lone Star Times, BlogHouston or Safety for Dummies.
(Update: Forgot to mention another conservative Texas blog noted in trackbacks for our governor to read - Swanky Conservative).

When I mentioned this to the reporter, Gardner Selby, he said that Governor Perry mentioned that there were no conservative/Republican blogs specifically referring to capitol politics, while there are numerous Democratic and left-leaning blogs at the capitol. I have a very simple solution, governor... there are 19 Republican State Senators and 87 Republican State Representatives. They all have a lot of staffers that could easily start blogs to cover the legislative session. Why don't they join the Democratic representative (Aaron Pena) and staffers that have started blogs this session? It's quite easy.

As for the "controversy" that prompted this article - I'm perplexed that the governor would find it necessary to speak to the press on the matter. The "controversy" - only seen by several hundred people until now, will be seen by thousands in the newspaper today. These types of stories just go away unless fuel is added to the fire. Going to the mainstream media does just that.

I'm rather pleased with the quote of mine that got printed:

Byron LaMasters, a University of Texas senior whose burntorangereport.com raised eyebrows last spring by posting a rumor about Perry's personal life, said bloggers are accountable to readers, like any source.

"If readers disagree, they can say that and comment (online)," he said. "It's much more open than most media.

I believe that blogs are just as accountable to their audience as any other media source. In fact, I would argue that blogs are in many ways more accountable to their readers than newspapers, and other traditional media. Blogs provide instant two-way communication. If a reader believes that something that we write is biased, unfair or incorrect, that reader can post a comment instantly communicating to the writer and all readers their opinion. Newspapers only provide corrections in later editions, and only print a small fraction of the letters to the editor in which they receive. Bloggers, on the other hand, publish nearly all non-spam comments to their posts.

There are arguments that blogs aren't accountable. For example, most of us don't have editors, and anyone can start a blog and write whatever they want. However, as blogs have grown as a major news medium, institutional checks-and-balances systems have emerged. If a blog is not creditable, other bloggers won't link to it. If a blog is not creditable, readers will stop visiting it. If a blog is not creditable, advertisers will not advertise on it. Not all blogs are creditable, but the nature of two-way communication that blogs provide, allow for a checks-and-balances system that separates the creditable blogs from the non-creditable blogs. So, my advice to Rick Perry? Stop whining and set up your own damn blog!

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 8, 2005 07:39 AM | TrackBack


And boy, if people don't like what you post, or believe it is overly biased, or incorrect, they usually will call you out on your shit. It's been refreshing to get that kind of feedback personally in regards to a couple of my Student Government related posts (by comments or e-mails) and it is true that you tend to adjust to that criticism. If it is unfounded, you don't have to change, but if it is based in real concerns, you cannot ignore it and expect to continue to be taken seriously. If you lose your credibility as a blogger, you lose your greatest asset. That goes for the MSM as well.

Posted by: Karl-T at March 8, 2005 06:03 AM

But Mr. Perry - - The other side has Rush Limbaugh and Darryl Ankarlo.

Posted by: Tom Blackwell at March 8, 2005 06:26 AM

The governor's staff just turned a story that was circulating on a few partisan blogs into a "real" story.

That certainly wasn't pretty to watch for this conservative leaning blogger. Ah well.

Thanks for the mention of blogHOUSTON, even if it isn't really about state politics or partisan politics per se.

One comment on this point:

I believe that blogs are just as accountable to their audience as any other media source. In fact, I would argue that blogs are in many ways more accountable to their readers than newspapers, and other traditional media. Blogs provide instant two-way communication. If a reader believes that something that we write is biased, unfair or incorrect, that reader can post a comment instantly communicating to the writer and all readers their opinion. Newspapers only provide corrections in later editions, and only print a small fraction of the letters to the editor in which they receive. Bloggers, on the other hand, publish nearly all non-spam comments to their posts.

I certainly share your frustration with newspaper corrections. The Chronicle has a really bad habit of printing those corrections later, and then whitewashing the original online story (no indication it was corrected). That's infuriating.

On the other hand, I think we as bloggers do have to be careful in thinking our audience will always provide corrective. Many bloggers do have loyal audiences, and I would suggest that sometimes ideological loyalty may slow the corrective process (sometimes, I'd suggest, readers are reading what they want to believe). I think that sort of blindness is rare among quality blogs, but I do think it happens from time to time. The better blogs, of course, tend to have a diverse readership (whatever the blog's partisan orientation), and in that case, I think the process usually works as you describe.

Posted by: kevin whited at March 8, 2005 08:12 AM

I thought Hugh Hewitt thought blogs were the best thing since sliced peanut butter... err, something.

Posted by: Jim D at March 8, 2005 08:25 AM

I was waiting by my phone ALL DAY yesterday for Perry flack Robert Black to call me so we could discuss, mano a mano, any errors he was referring to. (I felt like it was high school all over again and I was waiting in vain for that dreamy upperclassman to invite me to the prom.) He never called. (Neither did the senior.)

And, Kevin, in response to your comment, I don't write a "partisan" blog - I'm not on anyone's payroll and I take shots at absolutely everyone. Perry gets more shots than other people because he's, you know, The Governor.

Posted by: inthepink at March 8, 2005 08:29 AM

That wouldn't be the first questionable thing a Perry staffer ever said.

Posted by: betapundit at March 8, 2005 09:54 AM

Along with the article in New York Metro in which Kurt Andersen attacks blogs", there seems to be this sudden interest in the "accuracy" of blogs.

It seems to me, that this interest is fueled, no so much by the accuracy aspect, as much as the media, and by extension politicians, such as Perry, losing control over the message.

Bloggers can take the words of a journalist or politican, and provide a (not always accurate) analysis. Those bloggers who are regularly off the mark, or just plain "out there" get ignored. Those who are right get attention paid.

Bloggers need the media, to provide the fodder for their blogs, so contrary to Kurt Andersen, neither will be made redundant by the other.

Politicians on the other hand, require the media (preferrably a compliant media), and don't want this uncontrollable group of people, who are only answerable to their readers, and not to the politicians who feed them information, or the corporate interests who write their checks.

Posted by: David (Austin Tx) at March 8, 2005 11:54 AM

Interesting thought, David. I agree, pols and the MSM reject blogs because they cannot control the message.

However, I would also argue that there is a line of decency to which the MSM is bound, but which blogs can skirt. (Making so big a deal of "Jeff Gannon's" extracurricular activities, for example.)

It may be that the more "fringe" blogs are the most frequent interlopers but all blogs have the same potential. They are accountable only to those who read them, which tends (as said above, I believe) to be more and more "loyalists." Blogs then would seem to cater to these readers at all costs and stories that, perhaps, should be handled with kid gloves (if not remain out of public exposure entirely), are blown up for a ravenous audience clamoring for blood and not willing to see any punches pulled.

Posted by: TAMU Andy at March 8, 2005 12:21 PM

TAMU Andy,

I accept your premise to a point.

The problem where it begins to break down, is when you look at the yellow journalism of the Clinton years.

It seemed that nothing really, was off limits for reporting. By both the MSM, and in other forums.

The sense of decorum that seems to be the current norm, did not exist as few as 6 years ago.

Maybe there has been a bit of introspection on the part of the media, reviewing the feeding frenzy of the 90's but I don't know that it is entirely that.

Posted by: David (Austin Tx) at March 8, 2005 12:49 PM

In a lot of ways, you guys are right about the self-corrective nature of blogs, and wrong about loyalists and such.

Most bloggers (I would think) along with myself, started blogging for one reason, myself. I wanted a place where I could just state my opinion. If I had a million daily readers or 5, I would still write the same things. I write about what interests me, and let people who find the same thing interesting find me and read me.

The idea that I might "cater" to anyone just seems silly.

And since I'm writing for myself, I take a great amount of pride in the fact that I take enough time to do a simple google search and find a source for a quote or for CBO numbers or for anything else. That's basic journalism and basic common sense (a clever reference to my own blog. I make it real easy for people to find me and read me).

That's it for now. There's a lot more to this discussion, but this is just a comment to be elaborated on later perhaps.

Posted by: Nate at March 8, 2005 07:59 PM

Comments elaborated.

Posted by: Nate at March 8, 2005 08:34 PM

What an interesting post Byron--one of your best. Now if you will more consistently practice what you are preaching it will be refreshing.

But, Karl you got some splainin to do--you state in the response to this post,

"If you lose your credibility as a blogger, you lose your greatest asset. That goes for the MSM as well."

Yet, just the other day, when I was critical of Byron for being too biased, you posted this comment aimed directly at my criticism,

"I don't really feel that as bloggers we have much a 'reputation' to fulfill, certainly not some standard of the Washington Post or such. If you don't like reading opinion driven commentary, then don't read it, and certainly don't bitch about it. Pick up a newspaper then. But if you don't feel that the newspapers are covering your little shindig right (or at all) then start up your own little press shop instead of attacking other writers. I don't pretend to believe that everything I'm reading on blogs about meetings and events isn't slanted in some way. We try our best but by no means are there any requirements in place."

Hmm. Looks to me like you are trying to have it both ways. So which way is it Karl?

Posted by: Pete at March 8, 2005 09:41 PM

Check out "Blogged Down" from The American Prospect.

From the lead: "Pseudo-journalistic Web sites are another way conservatives get around “the filter” of mainstream media. It’s a new medium, but, for the Republican Party, it’s an old story."

Article URL: http://www.prospect.org/web/view-web.ww?id=9292

Posted by: Steven Phenix at March 9, 2005 05:41 PM

I must have missed the part where Perry "attacked" blogs.

Posted by: Gringo Salado at March 10, 2005 05:21 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

May 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

About Us
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15