News or opinion? You tell me.

Clay Robison is the head of the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. That means his job description is to do hard state political news without a slanted viewpoint. He also writes a weekly opinion column, where he gives his own viewpoint, and I can't recall that his viewpoint has ever been favorable to a Republican or a center-right viewpoint.

Can you read this article and tell me whether Robison is supposed to be writing an opinion column or hard news? It's not labeled, so I honestly don't know. I assume it's opinion, but the whole dilemma serves to illustrate the difficulty that occurs when your chief state politics reporter also writes a weekly liberal viewpoint column.

I'm going to offer up some comments on Robison's article, some of which will probably defend Perry, even though I don't agree with the governor's position on immigration.

Developing a better immigration policy is the federal government's responsibility, but the governors and would-be governors of border states, such as Texas, can help or hinder the process.

Ok. Robison is implying that Rick Perry has hindered the process of federal immigration policy, but honestly, I'm not really sure how Perry has done so. Methinks Robison has given Perry far to much credit for being powerful in Washington DC. If you can support Robison's statement, I'd love to hear it, because I can't think of any credible support.

In this election year, the operative word for Gov. Rick Perry and most of his opponents is hinder, and the rhetoric will get worse between now and Nov. 7.

Well, that's a viewpoint, and one I might largely agree with. It is clearly opinion though.

With statements and a TV commercial fanning the hopes of illegal-immigration bashers who would seal the border with a wall 20 feet high, Perry has even defied some of his own top political donors.

If Perry had agreed with his big-money donors, why do I feel like the story would be that Perry is in the pocket of donors? Either way, the story would have a negative tone towards the governor. Is it just me, or is that unfair?

Those donors some of Texas' most prominent Republican business people want a new guest-worker program or a path to citizenship for foreign workers because they think the state's economy and, in some cases, their own labor-intensive industries depend upon immigrant help.

But by giving big bucks to Perry, they, ironically, have helped the governor foster a political climate of xenophobia that is killing their cause. In an effort orchestrated or encouraged by the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based free market think tank, 36 Texas business leaders recently co-signed an op-ed article praising immigrant workers and urging reform of immigration laws.

Whoa. Robison is basically calling the governor a xenophobe, but couching it in language that lets him say that he wasn't exactly calling Perry a xenophobe. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sure seems that way.

That's a pretty serious charge, but again, I don't see much support for his statement. Although Perry has certainly talked about securing the border, I think it's largely been in as uninflammatory a manner as possible. And the proof, I think, will come on election day, when an impressive 35-40% of Hispanics vote for Rick Perry.

Moreover, if I did see support for Robison's statement, I would never even dream of considering a vote for Rick Perry.

Posted by Evan @ 09/27/06 08:46 AM


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I believe that's his "opinion" column, as it's listed on this page at the moment:

They recently moved him off of the Sunday editorial page and onto the Metro/State pages, which I guess makes him akin to Rick Casey. Except not really, because Rick Casey is not the head of the metro news desk!

It's a bizarre situation.

Posted by kevin @ 09/27/06 10:37 AM

It sure sounds like opinion, but I've been mistaken before.

I was also confused since it wasn't on Sunday. That made me think it was supposed to be news.

Posted by evan @ 09/27/06 11:00 AM

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