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The Brief: March 30, 2010

Children are taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This rule is not followed in the media world — just ask the politicians.

The crowded press corps watching the Democratic gubernatorial debate.

THE BIG CONVERSATION

Children are taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  This rule is not followed in the media world — just ask the politicians.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports report, Gov. Rick Perry gets tougher media treatment than his Democratic counterpart, gubernatorial nominee Bill White. Applying their “Media Meter” to the Texas press, Rasmussen found the following:

For the week ending Sunday, March 28, 2010, 79.5% of the media mentions for White were positive, and only 20.5% were negative.

For Perry, during the same time frame, the coverage was far more mixed: 45.6% of the media mentions were positive, and 54.4% were negative.

In the same week these statistics were gathered, Rasmussen found that Perry stories outnumbered White stories eight to one. Despite the difference in coverage, the most recent Rasmussen poll of the race put Perry ahead of White by six points, 49 to 43. 

For all you data enthusiasts, there will be even more numbers to pick apart soon.  The Houston Chronicle’s R.G. Ratcliffe notes:

The details are not yet available, but Rasmussen plans next month to start breaking it down by reporting done by traditional media and by social networking. Since the left still dominates the social networks in Texas, this will be interesting to see if it makes a difference by breaking the numbers down.

CULLED

• When the U.S. Census Bureau updated its data on Monday, there was a noticable jump in the number of Texans returning their census forms— from 27 percent as of Friday to 39 percent. Of course, Texans weren’t the only ones putting their mailboxes to use. Texas still lags behind 48 other states, with only Mississippi and Alaska returning a lower percentage of its forms. And it’s still seven percentage points behind the national average.

• Only two states crossed the finish line in the first round of the “Race to the Top,” the competitive federal grant program. While Tennessee and Delaware will be getting their money, $3 billion in education funds remain up for grabs. Texas opted out of Round 1, but will it throw in for a cut of Round 2? As Kate Alexander of the Austin American-Statesman writes, “It seems unlikely.”

• Billionaire Dan Duncan, cofounder of Enterprise Products Partners L.P., died Sunday.  He was 77 years old and, with a fortune worth an estimated $9 billion, ranked No. 74 on Forbes' list. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, tweeted, “He and his wife Jan gave millions [sic] to local charities, hospitals, and hosted many events at their home. They were just down to earth folks.”

• The Democratic primary runoff between incumbent state Rep. Norma Chavez and Naomi Gonzalez is heating up in El Paso. Both sent out slick mailers accusing the other one of being tied to — gasp! — Republicans!

"Anybody who spends $500 on license plates right now is nuts," new Irving resident Russell Scott on why he decided to pass on the new $95-a-year vanity T plates.

MUST READ

US halts deporting criminals to Juárez El Paso Times

For census officials, count-us-out attitude hard to overcome in rural TexasDallas Morning News

Texas Weighs Efficiency, Solar Mandates — Green Inc.

AG Abbott cracks down on colonia developer — Salsa Verde

• "The Dumping Point" — The Texas Tribune

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