Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Texas Toast

“The last time a Texas governor ran for president, out-of-state reporters went looking for scandal and controversy about George W. Bush and found mostly glowing accounts in the Texas media of his rapport with Democrats, passion for education reform and success at coming off like a ‘fairly normal’ guy despite his blue blood pedigree—and that positive judgment was more or less echoed by the national media.

“‘Bush could do no wrong,’ recalled Paul Burka, who covered him for Texas Monthly. ‘He just got a clean bill of health from the media, and that included us.’

“But the reporting on [GOP presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick] Perry has been far tougher, and has presented national reporters, publishers, TV bookers—and Perry’s opponents—with a ready supply of story lines that in recent weeks have taken at least some of the bloom off his candidacy.”

“. . . R.G. Ratcliffe, a reporter at the Austin American-Statesman who is working on a book about Perry, . . . says he already sees signs that the national media will follow the Texas media in its aggressiveness toward Perry—continuing the stark contrast to Perry’s predecessor.

“‘I get the sense that the national media would just as soon take Perry out as anything,’ he said. ‘The national media, in 2000, wanted George Bush to be president. The reporters all wanted an inside track to the Bush administration. This time around, it’s like, ‘We want to take the guy’s legs out.’”

—Keach Hagley, reporting for Politico, “Texas tales of Perry go national,” Sept. 18

• Editorial Comment: You want grits with that?

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