Monday, May 17, 2010

Politifact ratings seem to contradict their own reporting...

Let's face it... most people these days only read headlines and maybe the first few paragraphs of articles... it is our new media consumption pattern... we want our news quick and dirty...

That is why PolitifactTexas makes me scratch my head just about every time they check into a statement. All too often their own reporting says one thing, but they conclude something else entirely...

For example... this claim seems to be just "true" or at worst "mostly true" but it was given a "half true" rating (link). Excerpts follow...

"Bill White used D.C. connections from his job in the Clinton administration to form a company that did business in the Middle East and defaulted on a $60 million loan."


Summing up: Perry is right that White worked in the Clinton administration and that he later formed a company that defaulted on a $60 million loan. He's off the mark, however, when he says that the company did business in the Middle East.

Woah woah woah... Azerbaijan is definitely part of the Middle East. Check out wikipedia's Middle East entry (link). Azerbaijan is definitely listed. Azerbaijan is listed on various University websites as being in the Middle East (link). The Central Intelligence Agency classifies Azerbaijan as being in the Middle East (link). UK's Telegraph classifies Azerbaijan as the Middle East (link). The academic journal the Middle East Review of International Affairs covers Azerbaijan (link). Azerbaijan is oil rich and borders Iran!

It seems like the peeps at the Austin American Statesman need a geography lesson, and they need to stop giving out geography lessons themselves. Let's put it this way, do you trust the CIA's classification, plus university geography departments, plus wikipedia, plus a British media outlet, plus academic journals, plus the fact that it is oil rich and borders Iran... or do you trust a biased reporter at a dying medium sized Texas newspaper, on whether a country is in the Middle East?

As for whether White used "D.C. connections to form" Frontera, as Perry says, that's true in only the baldest sense.

So it is true. So... true. Even their own reporting though has this which certainly makes it seem like there were Washington connections at play...

Perry's statement reflects back to the mid-1990s, when White served for about two years as deputy U.S. energy secretary in President Bill Clinton's administration.

In his book "The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea," journalist Steve LeVine calls White one of the Clinton administration's "pioneers of Caspian policy-making" and says he helped "put Caspian oil on Washington's agenda."

According to a February 2003 story in the Houston Press, an alternative newspaper: "During his tenure as deputy energy secretary in the mid-'90s, White repeatedly visited the Caspian Sea area, where he met with Azerbaijan President Haidar Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Otar Patsatsia to discuss energy deals with Western companies."

Katy Bacon, a spokeswoman for White, said that while he was deputy energy secretary, White traveled to the Caspian Sea region about six times, including at least three visits to Azerbaijan and two to Georgia.
Did White use Washington connections from his federal experience to form Frontera, as Perry says?

Several published accounts, including a 2003 Houston Chronicle story sent to us by Perry's campaign, characterize the formation of the company that way.
So... again... true. Not in its baldest sense. Just... true.

LeVine, the "Oil and Glory" author, told us that it wasn't White's political connections in Washington that were key to the Frontera enterprise, but contacts farther afield. "It's the political connections that he made on the Caspian Sea as a D.C. official that gave him the entree there," said Levine. "He didn't need contacts in Washington. ... He was the contact."

LeVine said: "There is no doubt that Bill relied on senior-level contacts as deputy energy secretary to have the entree to obtain the energy acreage that Frontera got in Georgia and in Azerbaijan. You cannot say flatly that none of that would have happened absent him, but having met the presidents of both countries numerous times, you know, that's how business is done."

So... he used his D.C. contacts to form the company... yeah... true.

If you read this entire fact check, it is damning to Bill White... just purely damning... Bill White comes off even shadier than Rick's peeps portrayed.

I don't see anything in this fact check to give Rick's claim anything less than 100% true. Seriously... what part is not true? There is nothing. What a joke.


  1. Gardener Shelby is a fucking Democrat activist.

  2. This is awesome. You ripped polifact a new one!!


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.