Wentworth’s ad war
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth has picked a bizarre new fight, paying the Express-News to run pricey (campaign-funded) advertisements that slam the newspaper for printing columns he disagrees with.
What sparked the war of words? A column by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte printed by the E-N last month criticizing Gov. Perry and his brood for pushing an “anti-Hispanic agenda” in the Lege with controversial immigration policies, Wentworth said. Wentworth and eight Republican colleagues fought back, accusing Van de Putte of “race-baiting” in a lengthy ad, “paid for by Friends of Jeff Wentworth.”
What has now incensed Wentworth are a trio of columns by O. Ricardo Pimentel, Victor Landa, and E-N Editor Bob Rivard, each disparaging GOP efforts to pass controversial but now-dead immigration measures, along with a couple jabs at the state’s new GOP-friendly congressional map.
“They edit things and take out comments. I didn’t want them to do that to me,” Wentworth told QueQue Tuesday morning, while continuing to call the recent anti-sanctuary cities measures a “common sense” approach to keep Texas families safe.
Still, the irony of paying the enemy to punish the enemy isn’t lost on Wentworth — he wrote in his second ad, which ran Sunday: “[I]f you’re a Republican and criticize race-baiting, and decry conduct that encourages racial strife (and pay the paper $8,932 for the privilege so that your side of the story can be truthfully told), you are attacked in print by three newspaper columnists.”
The paper defended itself Monday with a short story chronicling the spat and by quoting Rivard and editorial page editor Bruce Davidson. “I’ll stand by my recent column, in which I noted that Sen. Wentworth from time to time places these unusual advertisements in the Express-News. This is one of those times,” Rivard told his own newspaper.
In all, Wentworth said he has spent roughly $18,000 defending himself in the daily, or rather, “Friends of Jeff Wentworth” have. Bad news for the Express: his last ad claims he’s about out of cash. Too bad. We were about to start belittling the man for cash, too.
Lamar targets kinder, gentler ICE
In late June U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton sent out an agency-wide memo outlining ICE’s priorities regarding which immigrants agents should focus on detaining and deporting. But unlike previous directives, Morton laid out over a dozen factors agents should keep in mind that might merit softer treatment, including taking into account if an immigrant has children who are U.S. citizens or was brought to the U.S. by parents as a young child.
Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith was apparently so roused by the new guidelines that he has announced plans to file legislation that would freeze ICE’s power to defer deportations in certain cases. In a letter he circulated around the House, Smith, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said his new law would prevent the Obama administration’s efforts to clandestinely “legalize millions of illegal immigrants.”