PolitiFact Texas turns 3
By W. Gardner Selby
Published on Monday, January 14th, 2013 at 6:00 a.m.
No candles in sight, but we tumbled across a neat birthday reminder the other day when a state senator tweeted that Texas ranks "dead last" in mental health spending. That’s Mostly True--and it happens that a similar claim fed our first Truth-O-Meter article, which soft-shoed online at mid-afternoon Jan. 12, 2010.
We'll let you decide what to make of the coincidence.
You remember the winter of 2010. Gov. Rick Perry was supposedly in for the fight of his political life with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Nationally, ruling Democrats were overhauling health care with the act forever to be known, at first only disparagingly, as Obamacare.
In our first days, we upset some candidates and candidate hand-holders, some of whom questioned our judgments.
A National Public Radio report captured a few early huzzahs and raspberries.
After we rated as False a Perry claim that Texas had accounted for 70 percent of the jobs created in the nation over a full year, his campaign sent a statement calling the Truth-O-Meter broken.
That was more than 800 fact checks ago, counting our Perry-O-Meter reviews of the governor’s campaign promises. (He’s kept, or compromised on, about half of those promises.)
There's plenty more, of course, including fact-checking ventures beyond our borders.
After we got going, the Pulitzer Prize-winning national PolitiFact spun off nine other state sites, ranging across the land from Florida and Georgia to Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island to Ohio, Wisconsin and Oregon.
We especially savor the many Austin American-Statesman readers who pointed out claims by political figures that needed checking, including the Seguin reader whose emailed claim about congressional districts in Austin set us to stewing.
We are grateful to note, too, that Austin’s KUT, 90.5 FM, has regularly quizzed us about our research.
Finally: If you have your own website and you’d like your web fans to know the instant we post an item, we give our web widget to most anyone who asks for it. We’re happy to have takers.
No telling what's next.
Our readers, first and foremost.
Names in this article: Rick Perry
We want to hear your suggestions and comments. Email the Texas Truth-O-Meter with feedback and with claims you'd like to see checked. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.