Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The Daily Texan's Prop. One Hatchet Job
"Congress shall make no law...abridging ...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition Government for the redress of grievances." United States Constitution, First Amendment.
On most issues, I wouldn't dignify the Daily Texan with a response. Their coverage of national and state issues is liberal, predictable, and tiresome. Today, however, they need to be held accountable for their corrupt hit piece in a low-turnout Travis County referendum.
Travis County Prop. 1 is a boondoggle that enriches the U.T. bureaucracy at the expense of middle class homeowners. If passed, Prop. 1 would increase property taxes 63% to finance a medical school that the largest hospital in Travis County says we don't need. I've already voted no.
Which brings us to the front page of Today's Daily Texan. Under a (relatively) neutral headline "Prop. 1 fight rages on," the paper then alleges to objectively present the two sides' stories. To say that there is an editorial thumb on the scale in favor of this 63% tax hike puts things quite mildly.
The first article, "No to tax increase, PAC says," details the 'no' position. For some reason, the author mentions that the citizens opposing this 63% tax hike have formed a political action committee three times between the headline and first four paragraphs. I guess there's something nefarious about concerned citizens exercising their first amendment rights.
By contrast, the pro tax-hike article "Powers: Prop. 1 necessary for UT" uncritically echoes a mass e-mail UT President Bill Powers sent to UT students, faculty, and staff. The article is a glorified press release. While the article amplifies a number of irrelevant or questionable claims by Powers, my personal favorite is that the article fails to fact check Powers' assertion that "UT is by no means rich." Really?!? An institution sitting on $1 billion in Gold and a $300 million television network is "by no means rich"?!?
Normally, I don't care what the Daily Texan says. Travis county Prop. 1, however, isn't about the Daily Texan or the University of Texas. This is about protecting middle class families from an arrogant and predatory U.T. bureaucracy. Travis county Prop. 1 is a corrupt boondoggle. Media outlets that uncritically amplify claims made by its proponents should be held accountable.
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