The news media made Texas state Senator Wendy Davis an overnight hero by reporting on her 11-hour filibuster, and the surprise defeat of a restrictive abortion bill. Davis' 11-hour marathon filibuster, with NO bathroom breaks, no sitting down, no leaning against her table for support, no water, and no food, ended when she was ruled "off topic" on a technicality.
While Davis supporters remind that the bill would have essentially closed nearly every abortion clinic in the state, what happened 15 minutes before midnight is the REAL story. Why was there a Twitter frenzy? Why was the Tribune live feed cut at 12:20 am? Ultimately, as citizen journalist Karsten School says, it wasn't the filibuster alone that won the day (or night): "Based on fraudulent alterations, the GOP conceded defeat."
So let's take a look at those 15 minutes before midnight to see what really happened. At 11:45 pm on June 25th, the lieutenant governor ordered the senate to proceed to the vote and actually had the Democrats' microphones cut off.
However: "The midnight deadline passed without a vote being taken," reports School. Instead, the chair held a vote AFTER midnight. During all of this, there was no coverage on MSNBC, CNN or any other major news network.
At 12:15, the Associated Press ran a story saying the bill had passed, which CBS picked up.
Outside in the halls of the senate building, says School, thousands of people were packed wall to wall, chanting "shame, shame," while thousands more were outside. State police had formed a barricade around the entrance hall, and were making sporadic arrests (50 or so by night's end) and confiscating cameras.
The senate was recalled 90 minutes after its midnight end point, says School, to determine whether or not the vote was valid: behind closed doors with no microphones, and only the Senate's own muted camera.
A victory for Democracy?
For a short time, the senate website carried the official record of the caucus. It listed the vote as happening past midnight, on June 26th. Until suddenly it didn't. The date was quietly, apparently manually changed, says School, to 6/25, the minutes altered to say the vote happened at 11:59.
Suddenly Twitter and other social media sites blew up with before-and-after screen shots. Without social media, almost no one would have known, and never in time.
Ultimately, based on the seemingly fraudulent alterations, says School, the GOP conceded defeat, admitting the vote had taken place at 12:03, and declaring the bill to be dead.
In the end, social media came to the aid of democracy and won the day.
Alexia Parks, Co-Founder of 56percent.org is the award-winning author of Hardwired 10 TRAITS of Women leading change, and an expert on the New Science of a woman's brain.