Fred Barnes, a leading conservative columnist, this week posted an article that appeared to be a thoughtful analysis of the November 2016 election results in Harris County. Unfortunately for Mr. Barnes, his two named sources appeared to have fed him outdated and fact-free material whose source was not disclosed.
For instance, here’s a quote purporting to be from Jared Woodfill published in the Weekly Standard on February 21, 2017:
These same exact words were published by Gary Polland’s Texas Conservative Review on November 11, 2016, in a post written by Marc Cowart expressing hisfeeling over the Harris County messaging.
Weekly Standard columnist Fred Barnes was apparently tricked again, because the article seems to interview former Harris County GOP Chair Gary Polland – the same Gary Polland who now publishes a for-profit candidate “slate” and once wrote a glowing editorial endorsement that helped elect former liberal Mayor Annise Parker. The same liberal mayor who attempted to force her radical bathroom policy into law without voter approval.
Mr. Barnes’ fake news post leads the reader to believe that Polland, after a thoughtful in-depth study of the 2016 elections, came to the following conclusion in the article below. Unfortunately, Mr. Barnes was duped again. The quote used by Barnes was from a previous Polland tirade published just three days following the November election, long before real data was available to know what actually happened:
Weekly Standard Published February 21, 2017
Texas Conservative Review Published November 11, 2016.
Harris County Republican County Chair Paul Simpson issued the following statement regarding a fake news blog posted by the Weekly Standard.
“I was angry when I received a link to a fact-free story about our Party and the 2016 Harris County elections, allegedly written by Weekly Standard columnist Fred Barnes. Mr. Barnes never contacted me or anyone who works with or for the Party before publishing this hit piece. It cited only two alleged direct sources: two former disgruntled county chairs who have seen their days as king-making profiteers coming to a close. In an extremely difficult 2016 election environment that had anomalous results across the country, including Harris County – where millions of outside left-wing dollars poured into local races to elect Democrats --, Mr. Barnes’ sources never once volunteered to raise money for the Party, call a voter, or knock on a door. Instead, a week before the election they laughed it up on a local cable access show hoping a wipe out would sweep their corrupt practices back to power.”
“If Fred Barnes had ever contacted me or the Harris County Republican Party to ask about the elections, he would have learned the Party did indeed support Donald Trump, along with every other Republican candidate on the ballot. He would have learned the truth about what the Harris County GOP actually did in the 2016 campaign-- not the inaccurate spin set out in his article. More importantly, he would have learned what the Party is doing to win the battleground that is Harris County, including an in-depth strategic review announced last November. If Mr. Barnes would have called, our grassroots army could have shown him how we are fighting back and organizing for the 2018 elections, growing the Party, equipping our army, and working closely with the Governor, Lt. Governor, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, and others to ensure an effective operation. We know the liberals from New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are not going to back down. We will fight them for every vote in Harris County.”