Left-Wing Outlets Spread False Story Claiming GOP Official Turned Down Disaster Aid

Media reported that the Texas secretary of state instead asked for prayers

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos with Texas Governor Greg Abbott / Facebook
Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos with Texas Governor Greg Abbott / Facebook
• September 3, 2017 1:35 pm


A number of left-wing outlets spread a false story claiming Texas Republican Secretary of State Rolando Pablos turned down aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and instead requested prayers.

The story appears to have spread from one sentence in an article from Canada's CBC News. The story referenced an offer from the Canadian province of Quebec to send Texas "equipment and crews to help restore power and to provide blankets, beds, pillows and hygienic products."

"Pablos declined the aid for now, instead asking for ‘prayers from the people of Quebec,'" the article quotes Quebec's International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre to have said. "He was very touched by the fact we called him."

The story was subsequently picked up by atheist bloggers, such as Patheos' "Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta. "Take the help, Texas. If God could help, He would’ve blown the hurricane away before it hit land," Mehta mocked.

Left-wing outlets that reported on the aid denial included The New York Daily News, Raw Story, Salon, and The Root. Journalists on Twitter spread the story as well, including Texas-based Vanity Fair reporter and MSNBC contributor Kurt Eichenwald.

The problem was, CBC New's report was not true. In a statement, Pablo's office said it hadn't turned down the aid, but rather, directed the offer elsewhere.

"Because our office does not have any emergency management authority, we are directing all offers to the Texas Department of Public Safety's Office of Emergency Management, which is the state agency that handles the challenging logistics of emergency response," Pablo's office wrote.

In a statement to the Austin American-Statesman, Quebec officials agreed with their Texas counterparts' version of events.

"Contrary to what has been reported in the media, Secretary Pablos did not decline the minister’s offer, but instead made sure Quebec made contact with the proper Texas state agency," a spokeswoman said. "The Quebec Government’s office in Houston is in constant contact with local authorities and is arranging for emergency supplies to be shipped shortly."

Despite the fact both Quebec and Texas officials denied on Friday the original CBC News report, the story's mocking of Pablos for "turning down aid" remains uncorrected.

Published under: Media, Media Bias, MSNBC