Associated Press Hires Lefty Activist Chris Tomlinson, Gets Its Money's Worth

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In July 2011, the Associated Press hired Chris Tomlinson to be its Supervisory Correspondent in its Austin, TX bureau. The AP’s news reporting is supposed to be neutral and non-partisan, but Tomlinson is not. He came to the AP from a gig at the Texas Observer, which is the same lefty publication that was once the home of Molly Ivins. The Observer by its own admission promotes “progressive change for Texas.” Well, the Observer used to describe itself that way. Now that page pulls up a 404 error — it has been deep-sixed. But blogger Bradley J. Fikes was alert enough to capture the details back when Tomlinson moved from the Observer to the AP. Fikes also notes that the liberal viewpoint has permeated Tomlinson’s reports for the AP since the wire hired him.


Well, last month Mr. Tomlinson emailed a questionnaire to several Republican statewide candidates for office.


Notice that tone at the end: Answer mah questions, or else!

The questionnaire asked these six leading questions, according to a source with one of the campaigns that received Tomlinson’s email.

Associated Press Candidate Questionnaire on Gay Rights

1. Do you believe that homosexuality or gender identity is the product of genetics or environment? Please explain your reasoning.
2. Do you believe that homosexuality is a disorder that requires treatment? Please explain your reasoning.
3. Do you support equal civil rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens? Please explain your reasoning.
4. Do you believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or have a civil union? Please explain your reasoning.
5. Do you believe that private companies should be allowed to make employment decisions based on a person’s sexual orientation? Please explain your reasoning.
6. Do you believe that people have a right, through their freedom of religion, to treat homosexuals differently than heterosexuals in public spaces? Please explain your reasoning.

Did any Democrats get these questions, or similar ones asking why they abandoned the traditional definition of marriage? No. Tomlinson says in his story, which hit the web over the weekend, that he only sent his six questions to the Republican candidates.


The AP sent six questions on gay rights to the Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. No Democrats have announced their candidacy for those posts, but the Texas Democratic Party endorses full civil rights and protections for gays, including the right to marry.

Tomlinson opens the story as follows:

AUSTIN, Texas — As legal questions surrounding gay rights become major issues in Texas, Republicans running for the top statewide offices unanimously oppose expanding protections based on sexual orientation.

Barring any major election upsets next year by Democrats, the Republicans vying for statewide office are unlikely to soften those stances if elected.

It may be news to newsman Chris Tomlinson, but the gay marriage issue doesn’t cut as evenly partisan as he believes. There are several Republicans, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who favor gay marriage. Many Democrats remain opposed to it. In Texas, the Texas Democratic Party is likely out of step with many of its own elected officials, just as it is out of step on issues ranging from border security to Obamacare. An article exploring how and why the Texas Democratic Party and many of its own elected officials don’t see eye to eye might be interesting, but Tomlinson evidently has no intention of writing it. I’ll even offer a head start: The TDP resembles the DNC, and not Texas values, because of where its money comes from.


Tomlinson is free to ask the candidates whatever questions he wants. The AP shouldn’t pass him off as a neutral reporter, though. Not when we creates slanted pieces like the above, and tweets as he does below.



As you might expect, the tweet about Davis leads to a fawning piece about her campaign, which hasn’t even begun yet. Tomlinson is setting up to become head cheerleader on Team Davis and Team Democrat.

The AP needs to clearly label all of Tomlinson’s stories as “opinion.” Or hire a reporter who can actually be fair to both sides.

Or, at least, gets basic facts right.

Barry Smitherman, a candidate for attorney general, refused to answer any of AP’s questions. His opponent, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, issued only a single sentence through his spokesman Chris Elam: “Commissioner Patterson strongly believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”


Patterson is running for lieutenant governor, not attorney general.


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