SE Texas Record

Monday, November 18, 2019

Does the Houston Chronicle care selectively about facts and fairness?

Our View

By The SE Texas Record | Oct 24, 2016

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Suppose you were accused of arson, were innocent and could prove it, but the court wouldn't let you present the perfect piece of exculpatory evidence.

What evidence? The property you were accused of setting ablaze. It was still erect, utterly unharmed, not a scorch on it.

It had never been torched in the first place. There had been no arson, and thus neither you nor anyone else could be convicted of it – unless, of course, the court insisted on stipulating that the arson had occurred and refused to consider any other view.

Surely any decent person would be outraged at such a miscarriage of justice and want to do anything possible to intervene on behalf of the aggrieved defendant.

A righteous attorney general from another state might decide to intercede or even organize a coalition of AGs to intercede, so as to prevent this travesty of justice from setting a precedent and becoming a norm.

A righteous newspaper editor would applaud the efforts of the AGs to see justice done.

A righteous state attorney general did recently intercede in a comparable case, and a less than righteous newspaper editor took him to task for it.

It involved not an imaginary arson, but another postulated combustible imposture: global warming.

When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton interceded on behalf of ExxonMobil in the State of Massachusetts' politically motivated lawsuit against the Texas-based oil company, the Houston Chronicle chastised him in an editorial entitled “Work for Texas,” the gist of their argument being that Paxton should not go sticking his nose into other people's business.

“Paxton's office wouldn't comment on why he's getting involved in this out-of-state investigation,” the Chronicle complained, subsequently refusing to publish Paxton's defense of his actions.

We did published his response, however, because we agree with Paxton that “using governmental power as a means to silence critics or beat political opponents should be called out, especially by our media institutions.”

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