Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has faced criticism over sharing fake news on his Facebook page, and he defended himself Wednesday, arguing he shouldn’t be held to the same standards as journalists.
“I’m not a news organization,” Miller told KUT radio in Austin on Wednesday. “Y’all are holding me to the same standards as a news organization, and that’s just Facebook. A lot of things I post on Facebook are satire and comedy. I’m not a news source.”
Miller, of Stephenville, told the NPR-affiliated station that he tries to take a post down if someone points out that it’s false. But he said he doesn’t fact-check every story he shares.
“I’m very, very active on it,” he said of the page, which has nearly 340,000 followers. “150 posts a week. No, I’m not going to research every one of them.”
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A Texas Tribune story last week identified 10 posts “of demonstrably false, misleading or supported information” on Miller’s page.
One of them showed a false photo of President Obama smiling while holding a shirt that displayed communist revolutionary Che Guevara.
“I think probably a few times, you might be right — we got duped,” Miller told the Texas Tribune.
KUT on Wednesday brought up a recent post Miller shared that showed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wearing a pro-U.S. flag shirt. The photo of Johnson was a fake.
“I don’t have the ability to define if that’s photoshopped or not,” Miller told KUT. “I’m not that technical, and just to be honest with you, I don’t spend my time worrying about it that much. I’ve got a lot of other stuff I’m focused on delivering for the state of Texas.”
Miller compared his Facebook page to Fox News.
“It’s like Fox News,” he said. “I report, you decide if it’s true or not.”
It’s been a polarizing few weeks for Miller, who has been rumored to be in the mix for a Cabinet position under President-elect Donald Trump.
Before the election, a post on Miller’s Twitter account called Hillary Clinton the C-word. Miller later blamed the tweet on a staffer.
Last week, Miller had an issue with a restaurant in Amarillo. After finishing his meal at the OHMS Cafe & Bar, Miller left a note on a business card: “Terrible steak — more like prime rib which I HATE.”