Here is a note to candidates running in the March 6th primary election: opinion is not a substitution for fact.
Last week, Walter "Four" Price, a candidate who is seeking re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, seemed to get this distinction blurred. Price released a mailer to Amarillo area voters attacking Empower Texans, a statewide political action committee that is backing Price's opponent, Drew Brassfield. The mailer quoted an article from Jon Mark Beilue, an opinion columnist who works for another Amarillo newspaper, without mentioning the fact that the article in question was an opinion piece and not a legitimate news article.
Representative Price used the article to make claims that Empower Texans was a bad group for Amarillo voters to follow, but he used an opinion piece to make his points. This alone should be enough cause for voters to consider Price's claims stand on shaky ground.
Beilue, admittedly, is not a reporter. At a forum hosted by the Republican First Monday committee in October, in which this writer appeared on the same panel as Beilue, the opinion writer told the audience that he is not a reporter and is instead a "columnist." This means that readers should not take Beilue's column as fact and should instead see it for what it is: an opinion column that is regularly authored by the same person.
Representative Price should have looked harder for actual fact when writing his mailer. Perhaps this was a failure on the Representative's part or his consultant's. Either way, if Price cannot find actual fact-based articles to back up his positions, then maybe his positions do not have enough merit to be considered by Amarillo voters in the first place.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief