A local Tyler-area news station, decided that Independence Day weekend would be a great time to take a shot at #Texit. Naturally, the TNM had to respond. What ensues shows exactly why people are beginning to trust the media less than they trust the United States Congress.
CBS 19 in Tyler is one of many stations that have started running segments call “VERIFY” which purport to fact-check an assorted variety of questions and internet myths to “set the record straight.”
On June 29th, they decided to tackle the question of whether or not Texas can leave the union. Their answer:
“Texas cannot secede from the Union. The only right Texas has that other states may not, is that Texas can be divided in up to five more states. No states have the right to secede.”
Their evidence on the legality of the issue came from a single interview with Scott Sosebee, an associate history professor at Stephen F. Austin University. They cited no other sources and did less research than is required for a High School freshman’s book report.
This prompted a fiery response from TNM President Daniel Miller. In an email sent to the station, Miller states:
I was forwarded your story that alleged verification of the fact that Texas cannot leave the union. As someone who was raised in East Texas, I must say that I am surprised that this opinion piece, masquerading as a fact-checking, ever saw the light of day.
Our organization has shattered the arguments against Texas legal right to leave the union for over a decade. Yet, you do as too many media outlets do and tap a single source for your answer. In addition, you asked a professor of history to answer a question that is obviously legal in nature. In doing so, you have perpetrated a falsehood that has been destroyed by many constitutional law scholars for decades. You have attempted to reduce a complex legal and political issue into an easily swallowed soundbite whose apparent endgame was to reinforce a position already held by the reporter.
In summary, you, and your single source, neglected to account for the flaws in the Supreme Court decision of Texas v. White, the subsequent case law related to how treaties are treated within the context of constitutional law, treaties signed by the United States in the past 75 years that uphold the right of self-determination, the acceptance of the Texas Constitution, including Article 1 Section 2, after the Texas v White decision, and many other actions and decisions from the Federal Government that lead to the right of any state to leave the union.
In addition, your alleged expert continues to cite the 5-state myth which, while included in the resolution from Texas during the annexation process, was not accepted in the Joint Resolution of Congress which brought Texas into the union.
You should revisit this issue quickly so as to undo any damage to the reputation of your station or, better yet, issue a retraction and apology. If you want to have a serious discussion about the legal and political aspects of this issue, I would suggest reaching out to our organization.
It’s challenges like this that keep the TNM ever-vigilant and should keep all #Texit supporters on their toes. If we do not combat this misinformation and call out the media when they are wrong, Texans will continue to spout their myth as fact. We’ve even created a section of TNM.ME that can help you in these battles and spread the word. http://tnm.me/activism
If you would like to see the video from the story and leave a comment on their webpage, visit the CBS19 website here: http://www.cbs19.tv/news/local/verify-can-texas-secede-from-the-united-states/453204584