AP Starts the 2016 Character Assassination of Rick Perry, Part 1: 'Five Things to Know' We Mostly Don't Care About

A series of reports at the Associated Press following Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he would not seek another term can only be explained if their purpose is to poison his possible 2016 presidential aspirations. In doing so, the AP is from all appearances firing the opening shots in a campaign to duplicate the establishment press's tragically successful efforts to marginalize Perry and other conservative GOP candidates in 2011 and 2012, as Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham have shown in their new book, Collusion. (Related NewsBusters posts are here and here.)

One such AP report by "wise guy" Will Weissert simply lists "5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY." Should we know about the Lone Star State's explosive job growth and impressive economic growth on his watch, or how he helped to consolidate Republican power in a state which had a Democratic governor as recently as 1994 and for over a century after Reconstruction? Of course not (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history and a failed former Republican presidential candidate, said Monday he won't seek re-election. Here are five things to know about him.

1. SIGNATURE SIGNOFF

Concluding a 2005 television interview with Houston ABC affiliate KTRK-TV, Perry flashed the camera a wry smile and quipped: "Adios, mofo." He later apologized, claimed he didn't realize he was still on the air, and said it was a private joke meant for his then-deputy press secretary. Democrats used it on bumper stickers and T-shirts, hoping to defeat Perry. But after he was re-elected in 2006, it became a state GOP catchphrase - and Perry supporters even splashed it on campaign memorabilia over President Barack Obama's picture during the governor's short-lived presidential campaign.

2. HUMBLE HOME

The son of tenant cotton and wheat farmers, Perry was born in a cabin with no running water in Paint Creek, a rural West Texas town devoid of stoplights and grocery stores. He was part of a 13-student graduating class at Haskell High School in 1968, but the campus was big enough for Perry to court his future wife, Anita Thigpen. The pair first met at an elementary school piano recital and had their first date when Perry was 16 and invited 14-year-old Anita to watch a school football game that Perry was sitting out because of a broken arm.

3. CONCEALED WEAPON

While jogging in a rural corner of Austin in February 2010, Perry somehow produced a laser-sighted .380 Ruger from his running shorts and killed with a single shot a coyote he said was menacing his daughter's Labrador retriever. Perry later explained that he often carried a gun while running because he was afraid of snakes and had seen coyotes along his underdeveloped route. ...

4. BACK ACHE

In July 2011, amid rampant speculation Perry would enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the governor dropped out of public sight for a few days - only to emerge on Twitter saying his "little procedure" had gone "as advertised." Perry had traveled to Houston for an experimental procedure that took stem cells from fat in his body, grew them in a lab and then injected into his back. The operation is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but was meant to correct a recurring injury and frequent pain. ...

5. OOPS MOMENT

Perry started out as a front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but a series of public gaffes quickly doomed that effort. The mother of all flubs came during a GOP candidate debate in Michigan in November 2011 when Perry said he would ax three federal agencies as president but could name only two. "Commerce, Education and the uh, what's the one there ... let's see," he said, touching his forehead and smirking. Perry tried twice more to produce a third name, then changed the subject. When pressed by a moderator, he made another stab. Still nothing. "The third one, I can't," he muttered. "Oops."

Three of the five items listed (1, 3, and 4) rate a "Who flippin' cares?" The "oops moment" is marginally at best marginally relevant -- unless, as noted earlier, Weissert was really interested in tarnishing a possible 2016 presidential run. That leaves only the story of how Perry's humble beginnings and how he met his wife, which as human interest items probably should have taken up two instead of one of the five slots.

Meanwhile, 5-1/2 years of "a series of public gaffes" by President Obama have gone virtually unreported.

As to Perry's status as a "failed presidential candidate," I've noted in several posts over many years (examples here, here, and here) that the press virtually always applies the "failed" tag to unsuccessful Republican candidates while almost never doing the same to some of the most pathetic Democrats (e.g., Dennis Kucinich, Carole Moseley Braun).

More examples of AP's character assassination of Rick Perry will follow later. Update: Part 2 is here.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.