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Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
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Monday, March 07, 2005
Austin American-Statesman on blogs
The Austin-American Statesman takes a look at the Governor's Cup brouhaha caused by this post by Eileen Smith at In the Pink Texas. Smith wrote:
The Texas Marketing Team (an arm of the Texas Economic Development Council and a partner in the Enterprise Fund ventures) is a gold-level sponsor of the Industrial Asset Management Council. Why does this matter? Well, guess who publishes Site Selection? The Industrial Asset Management Council.
Gardner Selby in the Statesman:
Did an arm of state government really give money to a publisher whose magazine last week gave Gov. Rick Perry a big gold cup, as reported in a local online blog?

Not exactly, though the explanation is knotty and gives some insight into the lively blogs tracking ups and downs around the Capitol.

"Blogs are certainly appropriate expressions of people's opinions," gubernatorial spokesman Robert Black said Monday. "The general public has to realize on blogs . . . there are no controls on accuracy or honesty. And there's no accountability.

"People need to be very careful with what they read in the blogs. Most blogs seem to be run with a pretty severe liberal bent."


The Texas Marketing Team, an arm of the nonprofit council, has committed $12,000 to $18,000 to sponsor an evening reception at a South Carolina conference to be hosted later this month by the Industrial Asset Management Council, which lists Site Selection as its official magazine..

But Ron Starner, the management council's interim executive director, said that the magazine is published by Conway Data and that the nonprofit association has no sway over editorial content, including the annual Governor's Cup designation, which started in 1978.

Starner, also director of publishing for Conway Data, said the fact that different economic development groups help pay for the council's twice-a-year meetings has "absolutely nothing" to do with the magazine.
The article also gives a short profile of BOR, Off the Kuff, Grits for Breakfast, and Greg Whythe.

A few things to note:
1. Could Mr. Selby really not locate a rightward-leaning blogger in Texas? He chooses to only highlight left-leaning blogs.

2. I'm skeptical that Site Selection magazine whores itself out for a mere $18,000. They've had this competition since 1978. Large states obviously have a big advantage in winning. A look at the winner's list shows that the winners are almost always Texas, Florida, Michigan or Ohio (21 out of 28 times, by my count). Moreover, the criteria for the winner is:
The Governor's Cup and other awards bestowed by the magazine are determined by the number of qualified projects logged into Conway Data's New Plant database. Qualifying projects involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create 50 or more jobs or involve new floor space of at least 20,000 square feet (1,860 sq. m.).
Unless they changed the criteria specifically for this year -- and the fact that total projects are listed for each year's winner suggests that the criteria has always been the same -- then it appears that Texas legitimately won this year's Governor's Cup.

3. Despite that, given the advantage that big states have, it doesn't seem to me like winning the award is a big deal. It's worth a mention in the re-elect commercials -- jobs coming to Texas is good, after all -- but given the context it's not a huge deal.

4. I think it's pretty apparent that Rick Perry doesn't like blogs.

I guess that means he's not willing to do an interview with this blog. Heh.

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