As the runup to the next election intensifies, the rumormongering around political operatives intensifies among the politicos. These include who is planning on running, who is not running and who has been dissuaded from running for office. Politicians are counseled on when to run and for what office to run for. These conversations are held behind closed doors and among small groups of people. We hear many of those rumors.
We hear these rumors for various reasons. Some rumors are told to us as part of whisper campaigns. Some are told to us to gauge the reactions among our readers. Others are shared with us by individuals with specific agendas in mind and others are told to us by people trying to help us or curry favors. How and why we hear the rumors is important, but we can only guess as to the motives behind the rumors.
But the fact is that the rumors exist. We believe they are something that should be part of the voters’ arsenal of knowledge. That political gossip is used by political operatives suggests that they have some effect on politics. However, they are just rumors with little to no foundation based on facts.
Are they important to the narrative? We have been thinking about this for some time. On one hand, in this time of “fake news” and social media interference by political actors, some local and others international, the question is whether political rumors have a place in the narrative among voters. Does it have a place in journalism?
The El Paso Inc., has had a Whispers column for some time now where rumors are printed. The Texas Tribune routinely publishes political rumors of individuals rumored to be running for office. Traditional newspapers have editorial sections where rumors are routinely published. Like it or not, rumors, especially political ones, play a part in framing the narratives across the community.
But rumors are dangerous. They can be used for whisper campaigns or to create “fake news”. Although clearly dangerous, they exist. Thus, the question for us is whether political rumors should be left in the dark corners of the debate where only a few operatives use them to drive the narratives, or should they be made wider available so that voters can know about them and make their own decisions as to what part they play in the community or how they influence everyone.
After much thought we decided that more information is better than limiting access to information by deciding what is truth and what is rumor. We, however, must acknowledge that rumors are dangerous and the likelihood that we heard a rumor is because someone wanted us to hear it for a specific reason. We almost never know the real reason why the rumor was shared with us.
However, we decided to err on the side of the more information voters are aware of, the more tools they have in their arsenal to understand the politics around them. We have therefore decided to launch the Political Gossip Corner and begin publishing the rumors we hear.
So, without further ado, here are the political gossip we’ve heard recently:
Rumor has it that:
- Vince Perez was paid $125,000 to run the recent Canutillo Independent School District bonds election. Both bonds were defeated by the voters.
- Catherine Lucero is rumored to be thinking about challenging city council representative Claudia Lizette Rodriguez for her seat in District 6.
- Veronica Carbajal was dissuaded from running for the El Paso Democratic Party chairmanship by Jose and Carmen Rodriguez. The Rodriguez’ are rumored to have advised Carbajal against running so as not to “tarnish” her image prior to running for mayor in 2024.
- Lina Ortega will step aside for Steve Ortega to run for her seat. (This rumor was first published by Max Powers on November 3, 2021.)
- Maybe not so much of a rumor anymore, but just in case, Peter Svarzbein, who is termed out at city council is rumored to want to challenge county commissioner Carl Robinson in 2022. He needs to move to do so. (This rumor was first published by El Chuqueño in Election Rumors on August 11, 2021.)
Those are the rumors for now. Next time we have additional rumors we will publish another Political Gossip Corner.
Let us know what you think of this column in the comments section or by messaging us. Should we continue to update the rumors or should we just leave them in the dark corners of the political operatives?
Important Information About The Political Gossip Corner
It is important to note that this column is nothing more than political rumors swirling around political operatives. As rumors they are unsubstantiated and none have been validated. So why are we publishing rumors? We have given this lots of thought and ultimately we decided that the more information that is allowed to become part of the political narrative the better informed the community is. The moment we decide to be gatekeepers of the information we become arbiters of what the community should know and what it should not know. That is the definition of censorship.