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Political Expert Weighs In On Undercover Video Of Battleground Texas

Ryan Poppe/David Martin Davies
TPR News
The political back-and-forth between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis has reached new heights this week with revelations about her life story and the release of a controversial undercover video.

A political expert in Texas says an undercover video of Battleground Texas organizers making fun of Greg Abbott’s disability will likely rally the base, but doesn't see it hurting anyone’s campaign.

Professor Jim Henson with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project said the impact will depend how closely the media follows the video, which he described as a highly-edited unidentified group of people making fun of Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott’s disability.  

Henson said the video is more about mobilization and less about persuasion.

"This is about rallying the troops, if you will, and feeding a conservative narrative," Henson said. "I mean, there’s nothing in a video like this that is going to persuade anyone."

James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, the group that recorded and released the video, said his organization has over 200 hours of similar video footage from the group's members who are still undercover within groups like Battleground Texas. 

Henson said the alleged Battleground Texas video is disjointed images of Wendy Davis speeches with de-contextualized footage.

"It’s a free country and people are free to manufacture things like that but it’s aimed at being a provocation more than any kind of reliable document of what’s going on politically," Henson said.

Henson said the video shows more of where we are at politically than actually addressing policy issues or an informed debate. He said once the Project Veritas video is contextualized and picked apart by the media it will more than likely be like other videos the group has released, which have painted the organization in a negative light.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.