Comments: Rick Perry Doesn't Like Us

That bit about how he doesn't think "it was just a rumor I was reporting" is a legit defense is crap. His apparent desire to protect the legitimacy of the political process has nothing to do with the freedom to report what we feel is interesting information. I posted on this in order to find out what the truth was. Governor Perry should have stepped out FAR earlier on to end this if it was so inaccurate, rather than letting it boil and bubble beneath the surface.

Posted by Charles Hueter at March 5, 2004 10:25 AM

For a man who cut 169,000 kids off their healthcare, signed a bill legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians, disenfranchised millions of Texans, executed dozens of people and allowed the lege to raise my tuition by more than $700 a year to say that I am part of the problem is a distinct compliment. Blow me, Perry.

Posted by Andrew D at March 5, 2004 10:41 AM

Forgive me for being the voice of reason, but if there's no truth to these rumors, then you guys are a bunch of assholes. I'd never vote for Perry, but come on, people. Even your enemies deserve some degree of human decency.

Posted by MD at March 5, 2004 10:43 AM

How absurd! Byron has said all along that these allegations were just that. I'm so glad that Perry is concerning himself with the important matters of our state. Yes indeed, it is something to be comended how he can focus his attention not on healthcare, immigration, education, or environmental pollution here, but instead on calling out a University student. But really, let not degrade Perry, afterall, he has already shown how he has no respect for education or those who are getting one. Hey Byron, perhaps you should retaliate with a phrase we all heard Perry use in ads during the mid-term election 'Do you know who I am!'

Posted by Mandolen at March 5, 2004 11:05 AM

Way to go, BOR! As I just posted (sorry for self-promoting... I'm too lazy to come up with the same sentiment in an original format for comments) before I got over here and saw your response,

"As long as Matt Drudge is publishing and Freepers are posting, the conservatives will never have a 'high road' to claim. For the GOP to whine because liberals used their tactics against them is childish and disingenuous, and about what I'd expect."

Posted by PG at March 5, 2004 11:21 AM

Byron, it is no mean distinction to have been singled out for a hit by Gov. Goodhair. Wear that as a badge of honor!

I never knew what to make of the rumors. They were never substantiated, as you regularly pointed out in your posts about them, but any assertion by Perry that they should not have been investigated by mainstream journalists is just crap, crap that falls into the "can dish it out but can't take it" category. "There ought to be limits to freedom," as Perry's predecessor said. "Democrats are presumed guilty; Republicans are above suspicion," as Perry himself seems to be saying. Yeah, right.

Maybe I'll have to reconsider the possible truth of the rumors, now that Perry has come out swinging. Oops, maybe I should rephrase that...

Posted by Steve Bates at March 5, 2004 12:09 PM

Way to go! Screw Perry! LOL.

Posted by Todd B. at March 5, 2004 12:15 PM

Byron, I am truly impressed. The only person who ever criticzed me in a newspaper was some disgruntled, middle-aged UT alum who still reads the Daily Texan. All Perry ever did was write me a terse (personal) letter, addressed to me and one other person. My hat's off to you, Byron. I hope my laughter over the phone was evident of my happiness for you...:)

You were clear from the beginning that these were only rumors. You did a responsible job.

Posted by Leodem at March 5, 2004 12:15 PM

Here's a great quote from Perry regarding rumor-mongering:

"I think it's inappropriate. I think it has great potential for backlash for those who start it."

Yeah. I bet that, sometime in the future, Republicans will retaliate by attacking a popular Democratic president based on reports of alleged sexual misconduct. Or is that too far-fetched?

Posted by BarrettBrown at March 5, 2004 12:16 PM

As an award-winning former journalist and editor, I was very displeased with the Austin American Statesman's story, especially their attacks on the Burnt Orange Report and its writers.

First of all, if Perry categoricaly denied all of the rumors, then why not explain what all of the rumors were?

You can't say that you'd be libeling him because he's been given the opportunity to comment and denied them. As for the supposed other party involved, a reporter should have made an effort to contact him, get his side of the story, and get a denial.

All the Statesman really did (and Perry and his people should realize this) is simply foster more speculation about what the rest of the rumors were, since they didn't detail them.

This is not a story you can do "half-assed" like the Statesman did. If you are going to print a story about rumors or speculation, then you need to detail what that speculation is or you are only fostering more speculation, which isn't the newspaper's job.

As for the criticism of BOR by the Statesman (and yes, they were sanctamonious and editorializing in the way they treated BOR, in my opinion), they failed to note that online weblogs and other sources (with the exception of the other two they cited) around the nation picked up on this story. They can't say they weren't aware of it; it's all in the trackbacks on the BOR posts. I believe they singled out BOR because first of all, they actually had the guts to report on the story (and by the story, I mean the fact that there were rumors, which is, I believe, a bona fide news story); second, becaust most of the authors (to my knowledge) are Democrats or proclaim to be Democrats; and third because it was the closest local source to be able to attack.

And, although the Statesman claimed they were the first to debunk these rumors, they weren't. The Austin Chronicle did a piece on them last week, after a group of people showed up in front of the governor's mansion with signs concerning the rumors. In that story, Perry's press people were quoted as denying the rumors.

In criticizing BOR, the Statesman failed to note that what BOR did is not all that dissimilar from what the Drudge Report does ever week. It is specifically not dissimilar from what Drudge did during most of Whitewater and the Lewinsky scandal.

Honestly, is it any less newsworthy that a Governor may have had an affair for the people of Texas than that the President may have had oral sex with an intern and ejaculated on her bule Gap dress?

And, if the Statesman printed the Starr report (as I suspect it did considering most major dailies did), why not address all of the meat of the Perry rumors? Is it any less "appropriate" for a "family newspaper" to talk about an alleged homosexual affair than for them to print a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) account of the President's alleged sexual exploits?

In my opinion, the Statesman should have, as soon as these rumors became so prominent, done a story on the issue. If the governor's press office was denying the rumors and the rumors are out there, that was a story then just as much as it is a story now that Perry actually decided to come front and center and address the issue. It didn't just suddenly become a news story because Rick Perry picked up the phone and dialed the number of the Austin American Statesman.

Posted by Vince at March 5, 2004 12:23 PM

Ha! Well done. I work at the capitol and am thrilled to hear Perry took the time out of his busy schedule to mention you guys. He has waited way too long to address this and the mainstream media has pussed out on touching this one.

Posted by chip e. at March 5, 2004 12:27 PM

My edition of the AAS didn't have a shirtless picture of either the homo governor or the homo Byron. What's up with that?

Anyways, it was picked up all over the state and once I saw it in the Hou Chron this morning I knew I had to go check out the Austin paper, wondering what would be said about my friends at BOR.

Posted by monceaux at March 5, 2004 12:31 PM

As someone who mentioned the Perry rumors in my blog (always stating that they were just that -- rumors), I must say that looking through the search strings for hits on my site, the number 1 item was "Rick Perry divorce rumors", etc. There are many people out there who love the rumor mill. My entries on Perry were entirely comical, so I was just poking fun at the whole rumor mill anyway.

When you have the mainstream media (are you listening Mark Davis at WBAP?) reporting on the whole Kerry/Intern/Sex b.s. as news, then we're in trouble. We're just little bloggers, so lighten up!

As to people who print rumors being "assholes", thank you very much - I'm told I have a nice one.

Posted by Alan W at March 5, 2004 01:09 PM

I don't think the comparison to Drudge is apt. Byron didn't put a red flashing light on the site with sensationalized claims that the governor is gay or an adulterer. He showed far more discretion and good taste than we've learned to expect from the radical right.

Posted by Bassfish at March 5, 2004 01:23 PM

There wasn't going to be a bad comment on Perry with him visiting the Statesman editorial room so much Thursday night. Consider this story a plant by the gov. He did, after all, approach the Statesman to do the story. I think he had to address it sometime or another. And with democratic politicos spreading the rumor on the campaign trail, he had to speak on it sometime.

Posted by Chocotaku at March 5, 2004 02:24 PM

And besides. They got the police against them. The Statesman couldn't get the governor pissed at them, too. A few statesman employee's have already come close to getting off tickets, only to have them given when their working for the statesman comes up.

Posted by Chocotaku at March 5, 2004 02:27 PM

I wonder what the Guv thought of today's Mallard Filmore comic. Did he critize that too?

Posted by Blake at March 5, 2004 02:35 PM

Wow, the governor is mad that you spread baseless accusations against him! What an asshole!

Posted by Jim at March 5, 2004 03:15 PM

First, congratulations on the being attacked by the Governor of the country's second largest state and ensuring that newspaper readers all over the state will learn about your site. Hope you have lots of bandwith.

To me, the most interesting aspect of the story is why the Governor thought this was a smart strategy.

The rumor mill has died down, at least two credible sources (Austin Chronicle and Quorom Report) have written about the rumors, and the Capitol Press Corps had already pretty well decided to do nothing absent some legal filing or smoking gun.

I could understand him taking this strategy a month or even two weeks ago to "get ahead of the story." But now??

For people who have heard the rumors, the story will have little effect one way or the other. For people who haven't heard the rumors (and remember, the world doesn't revolve around politics for Joe Sixpack) all it does it make them want to boot up their computer and find the BOR posts pronto.

The point: it seems like a silly-assed media strategy. Anyone have any idea why he thought this was in his best (political) interest?

Posted by notgonnatell at March 5, 2004 03:23 PM

I can't think of any possible explanation other than that:
It's true and there's legit sources(less probable)
or that, true or not, it's spreading rapidly enough to do him damage even without the story blowing up in the mainstream media. I think that's the most likely theory, 'cause man, it's getting ridiculous here at UT.
Just about everyday a person, usually one who couldn't care less about politics, says to me "did you hear about Rick Perry?" In a recent group hangout, every single person knew independently of the other, with multiple variations. (his secretary, a man from Louisiana, etc...) One of my friends even told me in all seriousness that his friend who works at UT's pharmacy can verify that Perry's gay 'cause he takes some sort of gay/psychological medicine. Don't ask. That's my best guess but I'm still a bit baffled why he'd respond to these.

Posted by UTstudent at March 5, 2004 03:45 PM

"Wow, the governor is mad that you spread baseless accusations against him! What an asshole!"

Hey, Jim, if you read the entries, it was always clear that the rumors were inded that--rumors. This is a forum to discuss really anything and everything. Nothing was spread--we discussed, and all of us knew that the allegations were just that.

This issue is a personal one to the Perry family, and I sincerely hope that they can go on with their lives. I don't like to see any family go through anything like that. If the rumors are indeed untrue, I certainly hope that the matter is dropped. If that is not the case--well, Perry needs to explain why he keeps endorsing anti-gay legislation.

Posted by Leodem at March 5, 2004 04:25 PM

First posted here over two weeks ago, the story
seemed to be dying on its own. Wonder why the big denial and blowup now? It can only refuel the speculation, especially since his wife had no comment.

Posted by tp at March 5, 2004 04:32 PM

BOR is to be congratulated for not flinching in the face of pressure.

It's easy for me to sit in comfort in a progressive state (Illinois) dominated by Democrats in every branch of state government and say what I think about depraved Republican efforts to wreck the America we all love.

But you guys are on the firing line and have to deal with everything from petty harassment to the possibility of politically motivated legal problems.

As a Democrat, I just wanted to express my appreciation for your efforts.
Of course, you're always welcome to seek political asylum up here if it comes to that.

Posted by Tim Z at March 5, 2004 05:10 PM

Damn - I spend months and months trying to link Perry and the nickname "Governer Assbag"with no real luck, and you guys in about a month manage to get his ire drawn upon you in public.

Hats off, BOR! Here's one Austin blogger glad you're on the case.

Posted by Adam at March 5, 2004 05:37 PM

TP and I both posted this afternoon with basically the same message: WHY??? And maybe more importantly: WHY NOW???

I talked to three political consultants -- two primarily R, on solely D -- and they can't come up with a theory that makes any sense.

The Quorom Report just posted the same question on its site, which is follows:

The rumors were dying a fast death
What a fascinating turn of events today.

After months of the Governor's office trying to keep the lid on trashmouth rumors, they came out swinging. Governor Perry granted a full-tilt above the fold style interview in this morning's Austin American Statesman.

Shortly afterwards, First Lady Anita Perry issued a statement.

Then Press Secretary Kathy Walt issued a statement castigating Democrats for rumor-mongering. Within minutes, Republican Party Chair Tina Benkiser issued her own statement blistering her Democratic counterpart for spreading the rumors at political events.

But what is remarkably curious about the turn of events is the change of attitude in the Governor's office just as the rumor seems to have disappeared.

For well over a month, the Governor's office had acted to suppress the story, relying on journalist's disdain for airing sordid and unverifiable rumors.

Last week, we posted, "Enough is Enough" which was widely read and distributed in the political community.

The Governor's press office told us that the day after the Thursday posting was the first time in weeks that they did not have to field a single call on the rumor. And press interest has been all but non-existent since then.

So why revive it and come out guns blazing on Friday, just in time to feed the Sunday editions after the story had all but disappeared.

Maybe it was to divert attention from the drop in his approval numbers as measured by the Texas Poll to be released tomorrow.

Just a guess on our part, but we would not be surprised to see the next iteration of this melodrama tying the charge of a "partisan smear by Democrats" with what Republicans allege is the "partisan withchunt" by the Democratic Travis County District Attorney.

Copyright March 5, 2004 by Harvey Kronberg,, All rights are reserved

Posted by notgonnatell at March 5, 2004 05:43 PM

If anyone cares, here is the First Lady's statement:

Post Office Box 12428 512-463-2000 (Voice)

For Immediate Release Contact: Wendy Taylor Bengal
March 5, 2004 (512) 463-1826

Statement of Texas First Lady Anita Perry
On Politically Motivated Rumors
Its very sad that some people believe that spreading false, vicious and hurtful rumors is acceptable behavior. Rick and I are both outraged that people would drag our family into such ugly, politically motivated nonsense.

# # #

Posted by notgonnatell at March 5, 2004 05:53 PM

Well I'm worried about Geoff. Has anyone bothered to see if he's alright? Bless his heart. Anyway, I said it was a delicious rumor as rumors go. I'm so glat we heard from Anita. You know, since Martha Mitchell bought the farm, I've been worried about Anita. I'm also disappointed that I wasn't named personally. Who do I call to correct that?

I'm going to think of something snarky to say this week-end. I just know I am.

Congrats, Byron. You the man.

Posted by r. Houston Bridges at March 5, 2004 09:39 PM

The question is why would Gov Goodhair deny rumors that are almost dead. Is it possible that there is a hint of truth to them.

Why should anyone feel bad for Perry, this man delights at character assasination of his political opponents, whether they be true or not.

Posted by Tek_XX at March 5, 2004 09:46 PM

This whole thing (rumors) has made me sick. What kind of people are you? I may not care for the way Rick has run the state but this was insane. You've done something even Mack Brown couldn't get me to do, stop wearing my burnt orange.

Posted by mekot at March 9, 2004 08:08 AM

Apparently this rumor has legs! I hadn't even heard it until 2 days ago. I very good friend of mine who is a long-time gay citizen of Austin told me a gay co-worker and a friend of his told him that they knew all about the Governor's gay relationship. Apparently his gay lover is a high class gay hooker named Miguel, who the Governor rents a house for in west Austin. My friend is very honest, so I believe him.

Posted by truthbnon at March 13, 2004 11:21 AM

Whenever I am moved to compassion for the suffering of a Republican politican, I remember
that every Republican I know never failed to
mention what an ugly child Chelsea was. No
mercy for the brutes! Destroy them all!
And besides if Perry was gay, how could that do
anything but help?

Posted by Villiers at March 15, 2004 12:41 AM

I just recieved an email from Florida telling me about this. I had to find out if it is true or not. I always thought that where there is smoke fire is sure to be close by.Rumors have to start somewhere.

Posted by Littlelady at March 30, 2004 02:19 PM
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