A false story which suggested that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was receiving a sweetheart deal on his property tax bill is shining even more light on the fake news media and their penchant for throwing facts aside to attack conservatives.

Last week, the Houston Chronicle ran a story highlighting a 14 percent reduction in the property tax bill for Patrick’s home in Montgomery County, suggesting that Patrick was receiving some untoward special treatment and asking if Patrick was “paying his fair share” in property taxes while pushing property tax reform in the legislature.

Liberal media across the state, such as the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the San Antonio Express News, breathlessly shared the story, seemingly too excited about the chance to whack Patrick, a perennial enemy of the media, for apparent hypocrisy on property taxes to do any basic fact-checking.

As it turns out, the reduction in Patrick’s property tax bill had nothing to do with special treatment. As the Houston Chronicle was forced to admit in their retraction, “Patrick’s taxes dropped because he took advantage of the state’s homestead exemption, market values dipped in his neighborhood and county tax officials corrected an overestimate of the size of his home.”

Patrick says the false report was more than just a small mistake.

“In fact, the story should never have been published,” Patrick said on Monday. “My team had told the reporter weeks before the story was published that he had his facts wrong—even on such basic points as how long I had owned my house. Once my office raised questions, a simple call to the Montgomery County Tax Assessor Collector’s Office would have quickly provided the facts, but the reporter never made that call. Instead, he ignored the facts that were provided to him and held onto the story.”

“We have since learned that he has been working on the piece for several months,” he added.

The Houston Chronicle is no stranger to publishing fake news. They were forced to fire their own Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward last year after it was discovered he had falsified sources for his stories. A later investigation found nearly half of Ward’s sources across 744 news stories over four years could not be found.

Patrick went on to suggest that the hit was done in an attempt to stifle progress on Senate Bill 2, a property tax reform bill moving in the Senate which seeks to offer more voter control over tax increases, saying that “it is obvious the reporter was trying to damage my effort to pass property tax reform this legislative session.”

The bill was passed out of committee last Monday. Patrick says he won’t let attacks from the liberal media stop its progress.

“His plan failed. We are moving forward to pass Senate Bill 2, which will limit property tax growth for homeowners and businesses.”

Senate Bill 2 could be considered by the full Senate as soon as this week.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens