Politics

Former Texas State Senator’s New Media Outlet Is a Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing

The news was enough to make one check the calendar and make sure it wasn't April 1. Monday morning, former Republican Texas state Sen. Konni Burton, fresh off her November 2018 loss to Democrat Beverly Powell, announced that she's starting a news outlet "dedicated to shedding light on the stories that matter most to Texans."

“Our mission is to provide relevant, objective news in a manner that respects the worldview of Texans.” — Konni Burton

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Given Burton's history — she wore "Stand for Life" branded boots to her first day on the job at the legislature and wrote a bill that would've required public school teachers to tell parents of their child coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community at school — it's not hard to guess what she might view as the "stories that matter most to Texans." 

The red flags begin in the third paragraph of The Texan's post announcing itself.

“Trust in legacy news organizations is waning,” Burton said of her new baby in a news release. “Our mission is to provide relevant, objective news in a manner that respects the worldview of Texans.”

Whenever an outlet trumpets its own objectivity at the expense of others, one's ears should perk up.

The Texan's first batch of stories does nothing to dispel the bad vibe.

A dispatch from Bernie Sanders' Saturday rally in Fort Worth offers pearl-clutching about signs "contain(ing) expletives aimed at the president in Spanish," blames the Affordable Care Act for America's healthcare cost crisis and refers to "Democrat" primary voters, a favorite rhetorical trick of the right.

Another article points out that Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro called the victims of the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka "Easter worshippers" — rather than Christians — while San Antonio's squabble over a proposed airport Chick-fil-A also got a full write-up.

Monday afternoon, a crime post — "ICE Deports MS-13 Gang Member Apprehended in Houston" — that would be right at home on Breitbart got top billing.

As it exists now, the thing The Texan needs most is a sense of humor — the Castro piece, especially, is an excruciating, "gotta hear both sides" rundown of a vapid, bad-faith Twitter fight. News with a point of view is often more honest, more entertaining and more useful than that which pretends otherwise. But it helps if you admit you have that point of view in the first place.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young