Texas Media Watch

KENS-TV producer Dave Davies was reprimanded Friday after Texas Media Watch provided his superiors with an e-mail he had directed to State Rep. Elizabeth Ames Jones, stating his opposition to her position on the Democratic walkout. KENS-TV is the CBS affiliate in San Antonio.

Shortly after the Democrats left the Capitol Monday, Rep. Jones issued a short statement to the press saying she was disappointed with her colleagues. She charged they were wasting taxpayer dollars and behaving childishly.

Davies, replied to the e-mailed press release by writing, “Sorry, but you are wrong. The walk out is the right thing to do.”

KENS-TV Executive News Director Tom Doerr told Texas Media Watch that he was surprised by the e-mail.

“The station gets dozens of press releases every day, but we don’t reply to them with editorial comment,” Doerr said.

Doerr called Davies e-mail “improper” and “unfortunate” and said Davies had been reprimanded. He stressed that Davies personal views, as expressed in the e-mail, did not reflect the position of KENS-TV.

“We don’t editorialize,” Doerr said.

Bryan Erickson, president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters said the act was “unprofessional” and gives a bad image to the station, but he declined to see it as evidence of bias at KENS-TV.

Doerr said he was grateful that the e-mail had been brought to his attention.


Several Texas journalists from around the state also found time to e-mail their support for the Democratic retreat to Oklahoma this week.

Responding to a press release condemning the walkout, e-mailed by Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, Kristin Hall, News Editor at the Leader Press is Copperas Cove said, “Quorum busters, I salute you.”

In a lengthy e-mail exchange with Peggy Venable, head of Texans for a Sound Economy, Hall wrote that the “elected officials can’t represent those who voted them into office if the power hungry majority shift the district lines…”

Hall said she was concerned that she had voted for U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, but if the new map was put in place, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith would be her representative in Congress.

“It might interest you to know that I am a Republican, but I feel that pushing this plan through without first hearing what the people of Texas have to say about it is amoral [sic],” Hall wrote.

When Venable challenged her objectivity on the issue, Hall assured her that her news report would be different from her e-mailed comments.

“I feel its fine to have an opinion as long as it doesn’t color what I report – which never happens. You obviously don’t’ read our newspaper,” Hall wrote.

Meanwhile, at the Big Springs Herald, Editor John Moseley also snapped back at the Citizens for a Sound Economy press release.

“You folks need to get a life,” Moseley wrote.

Moseley told Texas Media Watch that he resents “the poison letter writing campaigns the conservative hierarchy has created.”

Moseley said he had written no columns or editorials about the redistricting issue and stressed that his views had not affected the paper’s straight news reporting on the issue.

For Robert Halpern, publisher of the Big Bend Sentinel, the opposition was personal and political.

In a response to the Texans for a Sound Economy Press release, Halpern wrote in part:

“Funny thing in politics. It’s not all black and white. In fact, it’s mostly gray. There are reasons these legislators have done what they’ve done.

As far as I am concerned, they are doing the people’s work.

Pete (Gallego, D-Alpine) is not only my state representative but a fellow Alpine native and a dear friend. Please take the Big Bend Sentinel and the International Presidio paper off all your lists.”

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