Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I Am Not A Journalist—Nor Am I A Red-Tailed Hawk

An Austin-based blogger who goes by the name Mean Rachel, recently asked if Texas progressive bloggers should have taken a free steak dinner from Texas U.S. Senate candidate John Sharp. (I was not at this dinner.)

(My friend Perry at Brains & Eggs also wrote about this matterAs did the great blogger Jobsanger in Amarillo)

Here are my views on the question—

If a blogger wishes to be seen as a journalist, he or she should not take such a dinner. You should pay your own way. I don’t think the bloggers who took the meal are bought off. But if you see yourself as a journalist, you should adhere to the standards of journalism.

If a blogger does not aim to be viewed as a journalist, then you can take such a dinner.

I am not a journalist. I have an obligation to tell the truth where facts are involved—unless I’m making an effort at satire— and that’s it. Maybe I’m a member of the media by some definition. But I’m an ideologue–more so than a partisan of a party— and I’m not obligated to offer the other side of questions I may address in this blog.

The blog reading public can take or leave my efforts.

If John Sharp were dumb enough to offer me a free dinner, I would take it. If I blogged about it I would mention that he picked up the tab.  I would feel no obligation to say anything nice about him. He’s a politician and he uses people to get what he wants. 

In addition to not being a journalist, I am also not a red-tailed hawk. (photo below.)

The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk in North America. Here is some good information about this creature. You see in the picture that this bird does not wait for someone to come along and buy it dinner. It catches most of its food by perching from a high point and waiting to swoop down. I get most of my food by perching myself in my car at the drive-up window.

There you have it. I’m neither a journalist or a hawk.

January 18, 2009 - Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , , ,


  1. Buying me a steak dinner doesn’t buy me or my blog, evidently I can be had for donuts. I think as long as there is disclosure there is no problem.

    While working as an election clerk in Huffman a northeast Harris County politician brought donuts and drinks to the workers. I thought she was a nice smart lady and I have supported her every since. The city secretary at Morgan’s Point gave subway sandwiches and drinks to La Porte School and Morgan’s Point election workers. A former candidate in Pasadena not on the ballot did the same for election workers at the San Jacinto College library this past November, as did a Deer Park former council candidate for the presidential primary in Deer Park.

    I am likely to support all of these good people in the future.

    Comment by Easter Lemming | January 18, 2009

  2. Harris County District Clerk Loren Jackson gave me a free campaign t-shirt. Because I’m cheap, he now directs all the content in this blog.

    I agree that discolsure cures many ills. But if the standard is journalism–and for many of us it is not–than even disclosure is not enough. You just can’t take it to start. Especially when you are still trying to establish yourself as meriting the designation.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 18, 2009

  3. Frankly, the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot.

    It reminds me of the early conference calls some of us participated in with Chris Bell when he was running for governor.

    Some bloggers– who’ll remain nameless (partially because I can’t remember who they were)– were so starstruck to be taken seriously by a candidate that they were saying things like “what is our plan for x” and dispensing unsolicited advice to Mr. Bell.

    It was a bit pathetic, and so is this brouhaha.

    We’re not journalists with their archaic style manuals and ink stains, we’re something else, and to start now five-plus years into this netroots thing to judge ourselves by a form and a standard that at this point finally really does look like it’s dying is beyond absurd. Worse, it’s self-defeating. What, are we the tiny rodents scurrying around the piled-up dinosaur corpses and thinking, “Hm, maybe we should find ourselves an asteroid…”

    Now, nobody cares what Panhandle Truth Squad thinks, but we’d take a drink from whoever’s buying. If they don’t know us well enough to know that we’ll probably forget who bought us the drink and write whatever we want anyway, they deserve to waste their money.

    And if you want the truth, that really goes for all bloggers. None of us are influential enough for the buying– if that’s what this was– to matter.

    Comment by R. Spacedark | January 18, 2009

  4. a free steak dinner can be fun with no strings attached!

    Comment by bill brady | January 19, 2009

  5. Spacedark– I care what Panhandle Truth Squad thinks. And it’s true. None of matter in terms of Texas statewide elections. I think you can make a difference with readers who enjoy your blog. And that’s a good and worthwhile thing. Past that though, it is much more difficult. Thanks for the comment.

    I was kind of hoping though you’d notice the face of the mouse creature the bird has in its mouth.

    Bill–I’ll take one any time and in any city you offer.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 19, 2009

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