Texas Elections Still Too Confusing For National News Organizations

As we’ve mentioned before, some websites seem to have trouble keeping up with who is running for office in Texas. These errors and omissions seem particularly common when it involves forgetting to list a Libertarian, even when the Republican challenger is not even on the ballot. For example:

If you’d like to bring these errors to the attention of the media organizations who made them, you can write to politics@nytimes.com, GeneralComments@feedback.msnbc.com, and service@nationaljournal.com.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: I actually did some in-depth investigating into this today and called several national media organizations to find out if there was even a lame explanation for this oversight. If you look at their election coverage, you’ll notice with the exception of a stray independent campaign (notably in TX and CT), there’s only the two major parties represented in any race… period.

Washington Post (feedback form): Republican & Democrat only, did not call back.
New York Times (politics@nytimes.com) Republican & Democrat only,
RealClearPolitics (feedback@realclearpolitics.com) powers FoxNews (foxnewsonline@foxnews.com): Republican & Democrat only, claims technical formatting reasons, yet they list 4 in TX Gov
CNN (feedback form): Republican & Democrat only, refused comment
Wall Street Journal House, Gubernatorial & Senate (wsjcontact@dowjones.com): Republican & Democrat only, did not call

Are third party voters on our way to becoming unpersons?

posted by nsarwark
  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Apparently only 5% of the outside population can understand anything at all about Texas. I say this as a lifelong Texan going to college in the Northeast.

    “So, you’re from Texas. Do you have a lot of steakhouses there?”

  • brian g

    i let all three know about their innocent mistake. what a coincedence!

  • http://libertyforamerica.net/blog/24 Equal Opportunity Cynic

    I emailed the Times about this last weekend when I discovered this issue (and commented about it here). No response so far.

  • http://www.BrazosLP.org Christopher Jagge

    Here in Texas we used to have problems with even the vote total of Libertarian candidates being included, BY THE STATE! On the ‘election results’ page of the secretary of state’s site, they used to round “up” all candidates by dropping the Libertarian, even when the Libertarian got upward of 20%: a two way race, Republican 80% Libertarian 20% was reported thus
    “Result: Republican 100% *note: third party candidates not reported.”

    We have solved that little one, but it is still an uphill battle with the local media, not to mention those from “New York City”.

  • undercover_anarchist

    This is so clearly wrong that it makes my head hurt.

  • http://libertyforamerica.net/blog/24 Equal Opportunity Cynic

    Yeah, what he said.

    So I guess even protest write-in votes would be futile in this old Texas system? And we used to make fun of the Soviets for being undemocratic when they tried this stuff!

  • Devious David

    Nothing is going to change here. Those media outlets are owned by the powers that be. It is deliberate. The most powerful way of silencing dissent is to ignore it. Admitting to it only give it power and allows it a place in the debate. The blackout will not only continue, but intensify, if necessary.

    The only reason most elections between Democrats and Republicans are legitimate at all is that the person who best at conning the public is the victor. The real outcomes of either one is predetermined to be the same on the issues that really matter. Why not let the public think that they have a say?

    The problem here is that Libertarians, etc. would threaten the predetermined outcome of things in an unpredictable, if not outright undesirable way to them. So it simply cannot be allowed. If Smither wins, then vote fraud will make him lose. If that isn’t possible or feasible for some technical reason, then he will probably experience a sudden heart attack or “accident”…

  • Devious David

    … then the Democrats will get to put Lampson in. Or fight over it with the Republicans.

  • Seth

    The Hess Campaign has taken the first step… In a press release today,

    announced a new fund raising effort to purchase radio and print ads specifically attacking the blatant and shameless media bias of the Arizona Republic, the newspaper of record in Arizona.

    Proceeds from this fund raising drive will be used to purchase spots in reputable media sources that have fulfilled their civic and moral duty to completely, accurately, and fairly report on the race for Governor of Arizona. These funds will not be used to attack the position or programs of Janet Napolitano (D) or Len Munsil (R). The ads will specifically target the media bias and the way the Arizona Republic has abused the right the public has to all of the facts about all of the candidates, and not just those that support the Republic’s editorial biases and desire to steer government policy and public opinion.

  • http://UnCivilDefence.blogspot.com MRJarrell

    “Are third party voters on our way to becoming unpersons?”

    Nope. They’re already unpersons as long as the media powers control access to information in the main. For all the nattering about a “free press” it is abundantly clear that media at most levels have masters in the face of the FCC and their Republicrat and Leftocrat dominated boards. They have no interest in seeing libertarians elected or giving them anything resembling a chance to garner publicity.

    Devious Dave hit it on the head. Playing the political game is a losing proposition for libertarians given the current set up. This is supposedly a “good year” with great prospects for libertarians in politics and look at what’s going on in this regard.

    When we’re reduced to wearing chicken suits to try and make points it’s a sure sign that things are not getting better. All the lawsuits in the world will make no difference. Neither will complaining.

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Nothing is going to change here. Those media outlets are owned by the powers that be. It is deliberate. The most powerful way of silencing dissent is to ignore it. Admitting to it only give it power and allows it a place in the debate. The blackout will not only continue, but intensify, if necessary.

    David,
    Your pessimism is doing nothing to help. Contact related to our last story got the New York Times to update their coverage of the Texas Governor’s race and to clarify their poll selection methods.

    News outlets need readers and are in fierce competition for them. Don’t forget that.

  • http://www.sundwall4congress.org Eric Sundwall

    Subject: Third Parties.

    Msg: Please mention or cover them.

    Send this simple msg. out every day to each of them.
    Spare them the rant, make it viral.

  • Lloyd Laughlin

    If SMITHER wins in TX, which is entirely possible with more $$$$$$$ and buzzzzzzzz; they can NEVER again ignore the Libertarian Party.

    In 40+ yrs Libertarians have never elected anyone to Congress.
    This is the yr;
    SMITHER is the man.

    http://www.smither4congress.com

  • Sandra Kallander

    I wrote to all of them. Thanks for the links. I told them I no longer rely on them for accurate political reporting, and why.

  • Devious David

    I’m putting together some media for a candidate in my area. Spending far more money than I can afford and getting others involved. It’s an expensive form of entertainment for me.

  • IanC

    Wrote to all with:

    “It has come to my attention that your paper is only covering the two ‘major’ political parties in all districts, regardless of the likelihood for minor party candidates to win major seats (E.g.; the Bob Smither campaign in Tom DeLay’s former district in Texas).

    This is utterly appalling. Unless it is changed, I cannot help but recommend to all others I discuss politics with to find other, actually reliable sources of information especially in politics.

    Thank you for your time.”

  • Derrick

    I agree with Nicholas. The pessimism is not helping to solve this problem.

    IMHO, there is not going to be a quick, overnight solution. It seems to me that this is something we have to chip away at bit-by-bit. Contacting the media organizations listed above is a start.

    In addition, it shouldn’t be hard to get these small concessions from journalists on the basis of fairness and accuracy:

    – D+R candidates should always be referred to as “the major-party candidates” instead of “the candidates”.

    – Stories about the D+R candidates should always at least mention any other candidates on the ballot, along with a few words about their platforms. Ex: “Libertarian Fred Smith is also running on a platform of reducing taxes and increasing parental choice in education.”

    These concessions are not home runs, but if we can get them in place as the *baseline* for coverage of our candidates, it will at least be a better situation than we have now.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    If you want to see some naked, unadulterated bias against Libertarian Party candidates, go no further than the Houston Chronicle:

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/editorial/4247223

    They might as well just say, “Do not, under any circumstances, vote for one of those kooky Libertarians!”

  • http://libertyforamerica.net/blog/24 Equal Opportunity Cynic

    “The Chronicle recommends that both Republican and Democratic voters cast their ballot for the following candidates.” — No kidding, Robert. It’s as though they’re willing to confirm what many of us have been saying all along, that there’s more in common between the Big Two. I like your summary but they could also precede it with, “Voters, please turn off your brains and mindlessly vote for the one candidate the establishment has provided, regardless of your own party loyalty.”

  • Brian S

    We are unpersons already. As my wife tells me, Libertarians aren’t considered enough of a threat to be hauled off to the Dear Leader’s secret prisons, despite the fears we’ve had for years about just that. We simply don’t exist to the powers that be; we aren’t even an an annoyance.

  • IanC

    Robert… that’s some damning material there. One almost wonders why it isn’t being spread around a little more.

    Ought to embarass the Houston Chronicle publically.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    I predict the Republicans and Democrats will get 110% of the vote.

  • undercover_anarchist

    Then again.. Take Smither. Dude has raised $1,600. That’s not a legit candidate, I’m sorry.

    I donated $100 to my racist LP gubenatorial candidate with a letter telling him to stop race-baiting and that my contribution was to ensure that my letter would be read. His white running mate wrote back to me. Of course, the would-be gov. is a black man from Detroit who opposes affirmative action – and he sent his white running mate to an NAACP forum in his sted.

    That’s beside the point.. But I send this bum $100, and what do I find out? He filed a waiver saying he won’t raise more than $500.

    Do I learn? No. I go see the Green Party candidate speak and I give him $100. He was really begging for money, so I figured he was raising some. Guess what… He has a waiver too.

    So I have single handedly funded at least 20% of the combined GP/LP gubenatorial efforts.

    Candidates should not get in the race if they’re not goig to run for real. We have very little to complain about in terms of coverage.

  • undercover_anarchist

    Oh yeah, here’s the link to his latest FEC report. If he would have raised significantly more, he would have had to file another report:

    http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Smither is definitely a serious candidate. He’s the best chance to get a libertarian (who admittedly has some unfortunate views on the FairTax) into Congress.

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Then again.. Take Smither. Dude has raised $1,600. That’s not a legit candidate, I’m sorry.

    That’s the amount raised as of 6/30/2006. When did the Texas courts rule that DeLay couldn’t drop out of the race? July 6, 2006. Even then, the GOP appealed and we didn’t know for sure until early August.

    That ruling changed the race and the media outlets are derilict in their duty by ignoring that fact.

  • Derrick

    Does anyone know how much Smither has raised?

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    I believe 200 k was the last figure I saw in one of these threads?

  • http://libertariansmither.blogspot.com Lloyd Laughlin

    SMITHER has raised $60k+, and that was before LP National sent in some troops to help raise $$$ this week.

    He needs $300k to $400k more to be taken seriously, however.

    http://www.smither4congress.com

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Whoops. Don’t know where I got 200 k from. I’m assuming Lloyd would know better than me.

    I would say 60k + is serious, as far as the LP goes.

  • undercover_anarchist

    Okay, my bad. But my understanding was that candidates were required to file new FEC reports when they hit various thresholds.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    I’ve tried to click on the FEC report link a few times. It says

    Internal error #1

    Every time.

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Here’s a link to a summary of the Smither campaign finances from the FEC.

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  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    That’s better. Obviously way out of date, though.

  • Devious David

    Why on earth would a candidate sign a waiver that agrees they will raise no more than $500.00 to run? What are these people thinking?

  • http://www.myspace.com/undercover_anarchist undercover_anarchist

    http://miboecfr.nicusa.com/cgi-bin/cfr/mi_com.cgi

    Search for “Campbell’ (Green) and “Creswell” (Libertarian).

    Forall I know they each took my $100 and took their volunteers out to Outback Steakhouse.

  • http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com Eric Dondero

    Undercover Anarchist, you live in Michigan???

    I am in Michigan right now. We are having a party for libertarians Saturday night. Call me. You are invited 979-799-7077.

    Why weren’t you at the Macomb County Libertarian Party meeting last night? It was very successful. The two top MI City Council persons were the speakers. Great presentation. They did a great job.

  • http://www.myspace.com/undercover_anarchist undercover_anarchist

    The Michigan LP is a racist front. I attended the state membership meeting and I thought a cross burning was about to break out at any minute. If you want to find my undercover_identity, just ask the house boy gubenatorial candidate who was the idiot dumb enough to give him #100. Can’t be more than five fools to choose from, unless of course his campaign is pulling a Hacker move and swindling cash.

  • Andy

    “I donated $100 to my racist LP gubenatorial candidate with a letter telling him to stop race-baiting and that my contribution was to ensure that my letter would be read. His white running mate wrote back to me. Of course, the would-be gov. is a black man from Detroit who opposes affirmative action – and he sent his white running mate to an NAACP forum in his sted.”

    So opposing Affirmative Action is racist?!?!?!

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Why on earth would a candidate sign a waiver that agrees they will raise no more than $500.00 to run? What are these people thinking?

    Probably, that they won’t raise much money anyway, so they may as well get some publicity out of saying they are not “bought and paid for” like the major candidates.

  • Andy

    “Why on earth would a candidate sign a waiver that agrees they will raise no more than $500.00 to run? What are these people thinking?”

    “Probably, that they won’t raise much money anyway, so they may as well get some publicity out of saying they are not “bought and paid for” like the major candidates.”

    I’d say that it was probably because they didn’t feel like filing out more campaign finace reporting forms.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Hmmmm…hadn’t thought of that.

    Does that really kick in as low as $500?

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    UA believes that the MILP is racist because one of its biggest issues is affirmative action. My understanding is that he opposes affirmative action as well, but thinks (and I agree) that it’s a silly issue to make a big deal of.

  • http://www.myspace.com/undercover_anarchist undercover_anarchist

    The MI LP is totally playing the race card and reaching out to racist voters. Its candidates do not take stands on the war, immigration, torture, the impeachment of Bush, etc. Federal candidates campaign on Michigan taxes and the University of Michigan’s “racial preference” policy, both of which have nothing to do with the federal government. The candidate for governor is a recipient of the party’s own affirmative action; a token anti-AA black man who is uninteligble and merely a front for his white backers in the party.

    Paulie: This is for Michigan state offices. $500 is the waiver. But did these guys I gave money to not really raise another $400? I don’t know. For all I know, they raised ten times that much from other guillible fools like me and spent it all at Outback Steakhouse ala Hacker.

  • http://mythofhonor.blogspot.com/ JamesH

    Why don’t the candidates try the James Warner approach and claim its unfair advertising.

    (In the drug policy reform movement, we used to consider the value of gettting LTE’s published. The fact that say the NYT is listing someone who is not even on the ballot is a lot of advertising for her*).

    *Though it might not be as bad, b/c John Republican shows up at the poll and there’s no Republican, He might think “I can’t vote for the Democrat, guess I’ll vote for the Libertarian”

  • http://c4ss.org/ paulie cannoli

    Sounds like the Michigan LP could use some fresh blood.

    Maybe you should seek their nomination for some office, UA?

    BTW since Eric likes to talk about the left wing blockers a lot I thought I should share this, from Loretta Nall’s blog:

    “Also, earlier this week, the campus Libertarians were threatened with arrest while attending a Republican sponsored voter registration concert. I tell you…Republicans are just plain mean and corrupt. FORCE is all they understand. Even their youth are corrupted.”

    http://citizenclark.com/?q=node/57

    The Auburn Libertarians have gotten a great deal of press in the last couple of weeks. First the Auburn College Republicans got SMACKED DOWN for their decision to exclude College Libertarians from the campus debates. Then, the Auburn College Democrats did the ethical thing and pulled out of the debates because the Libertarians were not included.

    http://citizenclark.com/?q=node/55

    http://s167940532.onlinehome.us/front/college_democrats_pull_out_of_republican_debate

  • Andy

    “UA believes that the MILP is racist because one of its biggest issues is affirmative action. My understanding is that he opposes affirmative action as well, but thinks (and I agree) that it’s a silly issue to make a big deal of.”

    Considering that there was a big controvesy about Affirmative Action in Michigan not too long ago I’d say that it’s a relavent campaign topic.

  • Andy

    “‘Also, earlier this week, the campus Libertarians were threatened with arrest while attending a Republican sponsored voter registration concert. I tell you”¦Republicans are just plain mean and corrupt. FORCE is all they understand. Even their youth are corrupted.’

    http://citizenclark.com/?q=node/57

    The Auburn Libertarians have gotten a great deal of press in the last couple of weeks. First the Auburn College Republicans got SMACKED DOWN for their decision to exclude College Libertarians from the campus debates. Then, the Auburn College Democrats did the ethical thing and pulled out of the debates because the Libertarians were not included.”

    http://citizenclark.com/?q=node/55

    http://s167940532.onlinehome.us/front/college_democrats_pull_out_of_republican_debate

    Young Republicans acting like Hitler Youth.

  • http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood Robert

    All the more reason to do your politicking via those political organizations that DO get att’n & respect. Who’s to say libertarians, had they started years ago, would not by now have themselves a candidate who was the Republican or Democrat nominee, and who would’ve been a more electable and generally better politician than Smither? You fish in the bigger pond, you get more fish, and bigger.

  • undercover_anarchist

    I ran for Congress in 2004 as a Green. I was the youngest candidate for Congress anywhere in the US, and I rasied $10k, the second most of any candidate in my race. I got tons of media pub, most of it very positive. None of that translated into many votes, just 1.33% in a 5-way race.

    This may come as a big surprise to you guys, but I tend to burn bridges. I soon discovered that the Green Party of MI is a Stalinist cabal of old farts who quake at the notion of the party growing beyond its 35 regular members, because in doing so, they would lose totalitarian control over it. Also, the party has been infiltrated by admitted violent Marxist revolutionaries.

    I realized even before my campaign was over that the Green platform was not non-violent. You can only force someone to pay for universal health care with guns. Their platform is violent, authoritarian, and misguided.

    I went to the LP convention and didn’t make any friends. Can you imagine that? I told them I thought they were a…

  • undercover_anarchist

    …bunch of angry white race-batiers. They are ultra-conservative, just look at their candidates. They also run a piss-poor operation.

    So… Not interested in runnign for office again until I make my first million. Thanks for the encouragement, though, Pauile.

  • http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com Eric Dondero

    Since we are on the subject of Michigan, any of you all Michiganders notice the massive amount of government-funded ads sponsored by Democrat Granholm for the “Michigan Eco Development Corporation,” which praises her?

    You can’t escape them; radio, billboards, TV. They’re everywhere.

    This is what we get with Democrat Administrations. Government funding and backing of their campaigns. Your tax dollars at work.

  • http://www.DownsizeDC.org/ Alex Peak

    To whom it may concern:

    There are two people on the ballot for Texas House 22nd District:
    – Nick Lampson, Democrat
    – Bob Smither, Libertarian

    Yet for some reason, this page only lists the Democratic candidate. Please fix this error by listing both candidates who appear on the ballot, the Democrats AND the Libertarian.

    Thanks in advance.

    Respectfully yours,
    Alexander S. Peak

  • http://c4ss.org/ paulie cannoli

    I once thought about running for Congress, against Earl Hilliard, but ended up going on the road instead.