Why ex-TV Standouts Brett Shipp and Mike Snyder Are Crossing Over to The Dark Side

There is an understandable fascination when those of us who cover the news jump in and become a part of it.This isn't a new phenomenon, mind you, journalists trading their celebrity and curiosity into new careers as flacks or college professors.But it takes a little courage and a bigger ego to thrust oneself into the arena of politics -- especially in this bitter age of partisan polemics and "fake news" allegations leveled from on high.So, yes, it is rather intriguing to see two local media types -- former WFAA-TV investigative reporter Brett Shipp and former NBC5 TV anchor Mike Snyder -- crossing over to what we journalists caustically often call The Dark Side.Shipp is making the biggest leap. He's running against a competitive field in the Democratic primary to be a congressman. If he survives the cut, he gets to face GOP incumbent Pete Sessions in the 32nd Congressional District.Snyder, who left TV more than seven years ago, is trying to fill the empty seat vacated by Tarrant County tax assessor-collector Ron Wright, a Republican seeking the congressional seat that Joe Barton's departing.Both Shipp and Snyder said they are running for two basic reasons: The timing is right. And they think they have what it takes to make a difference."I started seeing the political decay in D.C., and it just gets worse," said Shipp. "Somebody has to do something."Calling himself a "lifelong Democrat," Shipp said he wasn't worried about how partisans, namely conservatives, would reexamine his work as a journalist in light of his political declaration."That never ever crossed my mind," he said. "Here's the absolute truth: When people called me for help...I never asked if they were Democrats or Republicans, or black, white or Latino, because none of that has ever mattered to me."Snyder, who once was suspended for two weeks without pay for emceeing a Republican women's fund-raiser picnic back in 1994, hasn't exactly masked his political leanings over the years.Now that he's out of the business, he can get deeper into the fray in the community he's lived for four decades."I've always been involved in this community," Snyder said. "Now that I'm out of TV, it's time for me to jump into public service."Snyder said that he has the skills needed to run the county's tax office."I see this as a people management job," he said. "The citizens own that office. That's their money being collected. You need someone with integrity. And if you make a mistake, you own up to it right away."Not to pick on Snyder, but he's already acknowledged a mistake he made in his post-TV career as a paid consultant who created fake Facebook accounts and used fictional characters to sway public opinion for a client.  Continue reading...

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