Here’s the formula: Take some spurious charge made by Democrats against Republicans at face value and build a story around examining that charge. Just reporting the story itself is a service to the Democrats. You’ll have to throw around a few statistics and then quote a paid hatchet-man who will just happen to back up the Democrats’ accusation. There is no shortage of statistics to manipulate, or hatchet-men to find. Close the piece with the pithiest quote from the hatchet-man. Leftwing agigators then tweet the story and pat themselves on the back for a hit well executed. They probably email the reporter a hearty word of thanks.
Once you’ve seen the formula’s outline, take a look at this little hit by Nolan Hicks of the San Antonio Express-News. His own stats don’t conform to the thrust of his story, which is that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office hasn’t hired enough minorities and has a pay disparity between minority and white employees. But that doesn’t stop him from pursuing the story anyway.
Even as Texas grows increasingly diverse, whites continue to vastly outnumber minorities in key positions and earn more salary in the Texas Attorney General’s office.
But if you read past the lead, he admits:
The demographics of the whole department largely mirror the demographics of the state: slightly more than 47 percent of its total employees are Anglo; nearly 53 percent are classified as minorities.
He also admits:
Additionally, [a department spokeswoman] pointed out its assistant attorneys general workforce is more diverse than the overall composition of the state bar, which is 82 percent white.
That fact alone should have caused Hicks and his editors to take a far different line from the one that they took. Given the pool of available lawyers in the state, the attorney general’s office is actually far more diverse than the state bar at large. Is that not evidence that the attorney general’s office is going out of its way to increase the diversity of its hires? Show your work.
A reasonable person would come to that conclusion. Mr. Hicks never does.
Cue the hatchet-man.
“To me, this is all sort of disgusting,” said Jim Harrington, the founder and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, who is a longtime Abbott critic. “This is the agency that should be setting the example for Texas.”
Hicks gets close to honesty by writing that Harrington is a “longtime Abbott critic.” But he does not identify the “Texas Civil Rights Project” or its aims. What are they about? Isn’t that relevant to what they say about a given politician, and why they say it? Couldn’t Hicks have found more supporters for Abbott — he has won statewide, after all, and currently leads in the polls. Surely someone out there across this great state supports him. The only supporter Hicks found is Lauren Bean, who works for the AG’s office.
So here’s Hick’s set-up — Abbott is only supported by someone who works for him, but here’s this independent guy over here who has never been impressed by Abbott or anything he has done. Which one is set up to be the good guy in Hicks’ little drama?
As for the Texas Civil Rights Project, let’s do the work that Nolan Hicks failed to do. They’re a typical leftwing outfit, as they have every right to be, an offshoot of the ACLU that opposes immigration law enforcement among other leftwing aims — “economic justice” etc. They would be on the left-hand side of your politics dial. According to the Soros Files they have a small connection to the various Soros efforts, through a group called Equal Justice Works. We shouldn’t make more of that than the facts suggest, but if this was a Koch connection, you can be sure that that would have made its way into the story. The Texas Civil Rights Project should not — ever — be quoted as anything other than partisans for the left. (Hicks hides that even in how he identifies Harrington — Abbott does have some critics on the right. Harrington just doesn’t happen to be one. He’s a partisan on the left.) If they are quoted, they should be clearly identified. Again, they have every right to advocate for their positions. They just don’t have the right to be used in the way Hicks uses them in this story. He gives them credibility that isn’t earned.
“Abbott has bragged… about suing (President Barack) Obama everyday,” Harrington said. “I’d like to see him to go work and do something about his workforce.”
In other words, Harrington would rather that Abbott focus on enforcing quotas to satisfy the unsatisfiable left than defending Texas.
The latter is the job of the Texas attorney general. The former is not.
By the way, most Texans seem to agree with Abbott’s priorities. He has won his races for attorney general and leads in the polls for governor.