Some 'Truth Squad'

I didn't mind this piece by Alan Bernstein in the Chronicle, but I hope he didn't expect the headline writers to call it "The Truth Squad: Examining the claims of GOP hopefuls in the 22nd District." When you call something a truth squad, you are implying that the candidates are lying. Bernstein didn't even come close to establishing that, perhaps because he wasn't trying to. For example:

CANDIDATE: Former Pasadena Mayor John Manlove.

STATEMENT: "I am the only candidate with a proven record in business and in government ... (and) I abolished the tax department."

INFORMATION: Manlove founded an advertising agency. Candidate Shelley Sekula Gibbs, a dermatologist, was a Houston councilwoman; candidate Dean Hrbacek was mayor of Sugar Land and works as a tax lawyer and certified public accountant; candidate Robert Talton has served in the state House and is a lawyer. As mayor, Manlove voted with the majority on the city council to contract with Harris County to collect taxes for Pasadena rather than have it done by city personnel.

I'm pretty sure I won't be supporting Manlove, but his statement seems entirely reasonable to me. A lie? Hardly. Reasonable information for a reporter to include? Yes, definitely, but not under an article headlined "Truth Squad."

The only thing even close to a 'lie' was Shelley:

CANDIDATE: Former councilwoman and interim congresswoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs

STATEMENT: She served on the Houston council for six years and "during that period of time I rolled back taxes three times and ... helped to cap a tort reform initiative."

INFORMATION: Tax rate reductions came on votes by the mayor and the 14-member council. The council has no jurisdiction over tort reform. While she was a councilwoman, Texas voters in 2003 approved a referendum capping financial awards in many lawsuits. She advocated for the proposition, according to a spokesman. The referendum was supported by the Texas Medical Association's political arm, to which Sekula Gibbs contributed money a year after the passage, according to state records.

Unfortunately, Shelley has an Al Gore-like habit of repeatedly inflating her accomplishments.

Though I understand the headline writer's desire to sensationalize, an editor really should've re-worded...

Also, I eagerly await the Chronicle article where Nick Lampson's current rhetoric is contrasted with his voting record back when he held a solidly Democratic district. Somehow, I think I'll be waiting a long, long time for that one.

Posted by Evan @ 01/18/08 01:38 PM


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** Though I understand the headline writer's desire to sensationalize, an editor really should've re-worded... **


At the Chronicle, after all the layoffs?


Posted by kevin @ 01/18/08 02:12 PM

Dang, Kevin beat me too it.

Of course I can't confirm, but rumor is the local English classes at HCC have been using rough Chron copy for grammar lessons.

Just a rumor of course.

Posted by Cory @ 01/21/08 10:06 AM

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