This is why newspapers are dying 

Kansas--despite being a conservative state- -is victim to extreme-left editorial boards, editorial writers, and in some cases, statehouse correspondents. Judging by what they value as "news" versus what is conveniently left unreported makes their motivations pathetically transparent. Their ongoing war against anyone who dares to favor a conservative agenda is wearisome, but it is real and it is raging. 

Case in point, a recent "fact meter" compiled by Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Tim Carpenter. Labeling the piece a "fact check" was intended to establish credibility, but the only "facts" presented were the ones that support the agenda he wanted to spread.  This is a gimmick that is gaining popularity in the liberal media but is often not what it seems. Since Tim's employer doesn't hold him to any sort of standard that leaves us no choice but to...

Fact check the "fact check"

Carpenter set his sights on this statement sent out by the Speaker's office a few weeks ago:
"Kansas is enjoying a historically low unemployment rate and many segments of our state's economy are thriving. Although revenue has been volatile because of the national economy and the struggling oil and gas sector, revenue exceeded expectations in April and the state has collected more money than it did at this time last year.  We are putting millions more into KPERS than what was contributed during the 90s and 00s. We've prioritized reducing spending and making government more effective and efficient, but there's still more work ahead. Thankfully, we put in place new tools like priority based budgeting, which will streamline state government by requiring agencies to justify every tax dollar appropriated."
Here's a random meter because apparently you can't have a "fact check" without it. 
Nowhere in Carpenter's 1,115 word diatribe did he find space to include the entire statement he's "fact checking." Instead, he relied on the old slice and dice trick, "fact checking" individual snippets. In fact, the full quote was never printed in any Kansas newspaper. Strange that a statement that has never been consumed by the public deserves a "fact check."

Carpenter "fact meters" six snippets from the quote above. Not once does he identify an error or false information. Maybe because it's all easily verifiable. Instead he criticizes it as "misleading" for not including all the information he judges as relevant. For example regarding the statement that "Kansas is enjoying historically low employment," he harps on the fact that unemployment is also low in other regional states. That's great but here's a fact: WE'RE IN KANSAS. There is nothing "misleading" about highlighting our own state's unemployment rate, which is most assuredly at a historic low and significantly better than just a few years ago. When examining various Kansas metrics--such as the unemployment rate--the most useful way to do that is to compare our state with how it did in the past. 

Perhaps the lesson Carpenter wants to teach Republicans is that they should only send out lengthy statements full of disclaimers in order to meet his approval. Even better, maybe all statements should be pre-approved by Carpenter to ensure reality does not interfere with his facts.

When you see a random meter, you know it's the truth.
Carpenter's poor use of paraphrasing led two of the story's
three sources to point out how he'd conveyed their quotes inaccurately. It's not the first time sources have asked for corrections or clarification because he failed to convey important nuances that were vital to an accurate telling of the facts. These corrections are rarely issued. Could it be that Carpenter is committed to his agenda, not to the truth? Surely not.

The Capital-Journal always huffs that Carpenter is an award-winning journalist, but they don't mention he's also the guy who printed a highly accusatory story about associates of Governor Brownback with no solid proof,   using rumors from questionable sources obviously seeking political retaliation.  After the accusations and speculation proved to be thoroughly untrue, Carpenter couldn't be bothered to write a follow-up story to update his readers. Instead, the rumors and accusations languish in the CJOnline.com archives, begging for a journalist to come and set them straight. But, since Carpenter's method of journalism comes straight from the pages of the National Enquirer, he can't be bothered. We can only hope someday he will find his true calling reporting on Bernie Sanders' love child with Chelsea Clinton or Donald Trump's secret campaign stop in Roswell, New Mexico.

As Republicans, we cherish the U.S. Constitution and give thanks the framers established freedom of the press so unequivocally. We respect journalists who make an effort everyday to convey the truth and the full story with their readers or listeners. Thankfully, there are journalists in the statehouse who strive to do that. Sadly, Carpenter left those ranks years ago.

Here's the list of sources used by the speaker's office to construct the quote:

Actual r evenue collections are higher than they were last year  Regarding this section, Carpenter's poor paraphrasing of a quote sent out by Revenue Secretary Nick Jordon made the story starkly inaccurate. Secretary Jordon was praising record income tax collections, but Carpenter falsely conveys that as all revenue receipts to readers. The quote sent by the speaker's office doesn't make a differentiation, but again, time and space constraints in newspapers require as much brevity as possible in quotes distributed to the press.

Questions about any of this? You're welcome to send them to speakermerrick@gmail.com. By the way, Carpenter never did. He "fact checked" without giving the Speaker's office the courtesy of expanding on the original quote or providing sources. That's why we decided to take the matter directly to you. Thanks for reading. 
Honoring the living and the fallen 

We are in the midst of National Police Week, a time set aside to honor men and women who don the uniform and the courage to keep us safe every day. In 2015, there were 128 officers nationwide who died in the line of duty. Thousands of active duty officers and supporters from across the country traveled to Washington D.C. to remember the fallen and support each other during a time of increasing vitriol toward police from some segments of society. 

In Kansas, Republicans are working to ensure the state police-Kansas Highway Patrol-has the resources and training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. To read more about these initiatives, read a new blog from House Transportation and Public Safety Budget Chair J.R. Claeys. 
The newest graduating class of the Kansas Highway Patrol

Listen to daily House session, find bills, and more at the Kansas legislature's website.