I Made the Newspapers: Should I Be Honored or Perturbed?

Donna Garner – I seem to have made the newspapers today — Austin American-Statesman. Even though I am a private citizen exercising my First Amendment rights to free speech and do not get paid a cent for the articles I research, write, and publish widely on the Internet, Politifact.com decided to Fact Check one of my articles and make their assessment public. Should I be honored or perturbed?

Actually, I am quite pleased because whether Politifact.com meant to or not, they have just verified the deep ties that Speaker Joe Straus has with Planned Parenthood.

Below, I have posted today’s Politifact.com article probably written by Clara O’Rourke since she was the reporter who contacted me and questioned my statement about Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and his ties to Planned Parenthood and sex education. 

I also suggested to O’Rourke that instead of spending time Fact Checking a private citizen’s articles, she might want to spend time Fact Checking Rep. Joe Straus’ ad that he placed on the Drudge Report  in which he described himself as being  “Pro-Life.”  To help O’Rourke in her research, I sent her many links documenting that Straus is anything but “Pro-Life.”   

Underneath O’Rourke’s story, I have posted a piece by Jonathan Saenz, attorney for Liberty Institute.


Below that, I have posted an article that I wrote about Politifact.com on 9.28.10 in which I exposed their real agenda and who these people are who write for Politifact.com.


Donna Garner






The Truth-O-Meter Says:


Says Joe Straus “was co-author of a bill that would have allowed Planned Parenthood to control public school sex education.”


Donna Garner on Thursday, December 9th, 2010 in a newsletter

Conservative education activist Donna Garner says Texas House Speaker Joe Straus coauthored a bill that would have allowed Planned Parenthood to control public school sex education



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Blasting House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, as a “Republican in name only,” the conservative Texas Eagle Forum says “he has much more in common with the Democrats.” In a Nov. 9 newsletter, the group urges Texans to tell their state representative to vote for one of the other Republicans running for speaker.

Legislators will choose the speaker for 2011-12 after the biennial legislative session convenes in January.

Please read the following article on Texas Legislative Update:  A Liberty Institute Blog to gain a clearer understanding of Clara O’Rourke’s Politifact.com article:  http://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/aas-politifact-shows-deeper-joe-straus-ties-to-planned-parenthood/

“Who is Behind Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter?”

by Donna Garner



Lately readers all over America have been seeing Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter in their local newspapers. The icon is positioned after political candidates’ statements and makes the reader think that the ratings done by the Truth-o-Meter are the absolute authority.  


However, just as I suspected: The Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter is a farce!  This organization of journalists at the St. Petersburg Times in St. Petersburg, Florida, that partners with other newspapers around the country (undoubtedly left-leaning) is supposed to present non-partisan analyses of statements made by political candidates.


What Truth-o-Meter actually does is to nitpick at various statements made by candidates in an attempt to discredit them while at the same time Politifact.com pretends to be a non-prejudicial referee upon whose statements voters can lean. 


If I am going to lean upon their analyses of candidates, I need substance — not nitpicking.


Bill Flores v. Chet Edwards


Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter just did a hit piece on Bill Flores (R – TX),  who is running against incumbent Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX).  Flores is a successful businessman whose recent TV ad states, “Bill Flores.  He’s a businessman, not a politician. Bill helped build successful energy companies and created over 500 American jobs. Now Bill Flores is running for Congress.”


Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter rated this statement “Barely True.”  How did they make this determination? They decided that Bill Flores had not personally created these jobs himself even though he was the chief financial officer (CFO). 


Now come on, Politifact.com.  How nitpicky can you get?  Everyone knows that a CFO runs a company and even though he may not have gone out on the street, grabbed someone up, brought him back to the company, and put him to work, the CFO is still considered the employer. 


A CFO is similar to a head football coach.  Even though there are assistant football coaches who do a large amount of the work, it is the head football coach who gets the credit or the blame for a team’s record.  It is the head football coach whose record is publicized in the media:  “Coach Groundhog now has a record of 1,579 wins and 2 losses!”   In a similar way, it is the CFO who is credited with creating the jobs for the company he runs.


Sen. Cornyn v. Abortions in Military Hospitals


Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter has done another similar nitpicky job on whether the defense authorization bill (9.21.10) contained language that would have required taxpayers’ funds to pay for abortions in military hospitals, domestic and abroad. 


Sen. John Cornyn and all of the other Republicans (along with two Democrats) voted against the defense authorization bill because of the three tacked-on amendments (i.e., taxpayer funding of abortions in military hospitals, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a provision to give young illegal immigrants amnesty).


On the taxpayer funding of abortions in military hospitals here and abroad, Sen. Cornyn said he objected to the amendment because it “includes language that would require military hospitals to provide abortions on demand.” 


Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter immediately rated Cornyn’s statement as “False.”  Why?  Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill) is the one who scripted the original abortion amendment, and he admitted that it would repeal the restrictions on privately funded abortions performed in Department of Defense facilities on women in the military and even on their family members.


However, Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter then nitpicked Sen. Cornyn’s statement by saying that just because the abortions would be “permitted” does not mean “required.”  Truth-o-Meter concluded:


The defense bill stalled before the Senate includes language allowing military hospitals to provide abortions in cases beyond the existing permissible instances of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is endangered. But allowing is not the same as requiring. Contrary to Cornyn’s claim, we see no mandate in the proposed change.


Then Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter listed Sen. Cornyn’s statement as “False.” 


I may not be brilliant, but I think even I can conclude that if a military hospital were to be “allowed” to give a woman a free abortion, most of the military facilities probably would; and our taxpayers’ dollars would indeed have ended up paying for abortions in military hospitals, domestic and abroad.  Further, the abortions would have been given “on demand” meaning women would not have had to prove rape or incest.  


I am very appreciative of all of the Senate Republicans (and the two Democrats) who voted against the defense authorization bill that contained the three nefarious amendments. 


Can’t Count on Truth-o-Meter


In conclusion, I think it is obvious that we voters cannot count on Politifact.com Truth-o-Meter to produce any real, in-depth analyses; and I do not want to base my voting decisions on nitpicky statements. 


Could it be that Politifact.com at the St. Petersburg Times (partnering with other financially desperate newspapers) has become an income producer during the elections to try to tide them over financially because of loss of readership?   


Here’s a unique idea for these Truth-o-Meter journalists:  Why not let us in the public run a Truth-o-Meter on their newspaper articles.  For instance in newspapers throughout our country, the headline after the defeat of the defense bill read,  “Republicans Defeat Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 


The public’s Truth-o-Meter rating:  FALSE 


The Republicans do not have enough members in the Senate to defeat anything.  Remember:  It is the Democrats who have the majority in both the Senate and the House.  It took the two Democrats voting with the Republicans to defeat the bill. The newspapers should have read,  “Bi-Partisan Effort Defeats Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 











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December 13th, 2010

Donna Garner EducationNews Policy Commentator

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