The Texas Tribune bills itself as a non-partisan straight news source. When I recently questioned that status, as a matter of fact, its editor-in-chief, Evan Smith, came here to affirm it in comments on that post.

So what, then, are the Tribune’s readers to make of this story? It lovingly predicts the first week for a Democratic candidate who has not even officially launched her campaign.

You know what fan fiction is, right? Well, that’s what Ben Philpott has produced.


Wendy Davis is not, as of this date or the writing of that piece, an actual candidate for governor in Texas. But that fact isn’t slowing the Texas media down from salivating over her.

Philpott puts fake quotes in her mouth:

Davis held her campaign kickoff on a field beside I M Terrell Elementary in Fort Worth. The location gave Davis a chance to campaign on the need to invest in state infrastructure, with the school on one side of her and Interstate 30 on the other. The theme of her opening speech: bringing Texans together.

“Together we can do what they won’t,” Davis told a raucous crowd. “We can stand, we can stand up for each other, we can stand up for what’s right, and we can stand up for Texas. God bless you.”

He uses real quotes from real consultants to construct a conceit that is not necessary. A straightforward pre-analysis piece could have had balance and read a bit less like a love letter. Philpott expresses no reservations or skepticism that someone who has never run for statewide office will have anything but a stellar first week on the campaign trail — which she has not even officially ridden onto yet. Philpott casts Davis in the role of star on the statewide stage, under attack from Republicans for keepin’ it real and trying to take back abandoned territory and stuff.

It’s fan fiction.

For a Democrat.

In a “non-partisan” publication.

This the second time this week we’ve caught Texas media doing advance work for Wendy Davis. And her campaign hasn’t even officially started yet.