Morning News Denies Its Own Sorry History in Price-Inland Port Story

Categories: Schutze

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I vant to do a little planning, my dear, like planning to bite you in the neck.

Oh, I swore I wasn't going to respond to the stuff yesterday by Tod Robberson on The Dallas Morning News opinion blog yesterday, but now "Wylie H Dallas," the scarily well-informed omnipresent pseudonymous blog commenter, has got me all stirred up. This morning he posted an old Steve Blow column from the News in 2009 accusing me of being a tin-foil hat, and that got my juices flowing again.

Damn! I was trying to go for dignity, but once again I fail. Thanks a lot, Wyle H!

This is all about the recent indictment of Dallas County Commissioner John Wylie Price on bribery and tax charges. In the indictment filed last week and made public, Price's role in sabotaging a big rail and warehousing project in his own district, called the Inland Port, is discussed in some detail. The Wylie H Facebook post this morning reminds us that the Dallas Observer was reporting that plot five years ago, two years before the FBI raided Price's home and office for records.

Blow's column, published March 8, 2009 (reproduced below), was part of a drumroll of articles and editorial in The Dallas Morning News insisting that Commissioner Price's call for a de novo planning effort for the Inland Port was perfectly reasonable. They said over and over again that people like Richard Allen, the main developer who claimed Price was sandbagging the development, and me, who reported what Allen said, were a bunch of nutcases.

The recent indictment of Price and three others was the work product of a three-year FBI probe. It argues that Allen's claims were on target.

I can't link you to Blow's column or the key Morning News editorial on the question, because, for some reason, I can't get Google to go there. I'm sure it's my own failing. I had to give up and pay the News three bucks this morning to get a copy of the editorial from their archives. I have reproduced the editorial below as a Scribd document. I refuse to pay three bucks for a Blow column, so I cut and pasted it from Wyle H's Facebook page and have reproduced it below as a Scribd document.

See also: Dallas Leaders Walked Arm-in-Arm with John Wiley Price in the Betrayal of Southern Dallas

There's a key to solving this puzzle. The FBI has figured out the key. I'm sure you can, too. Price did a lot of small things to slow down the development, but the big poison pill was planning. Richard Allen at the time was trying desperately to explain that to anybody who would listen.

The wealthy and powerful Perot family of Dallas said publicly that they saw the Inland Port in Dallas as a direct competitive threat to a similar project in Fort Worth that they owned. Price had some apparently lucrative links to the Perots through his political consultant, Kathy Nealy, also now under indictment. As I say, the real silver bullet for Price was planning.

Allen had spent five years planning the port -- not meaning that he was in his office at a drawing board cooking up a version of his own fantasies about it. No, no, no. He was out in the field and on the hustings for five years, hammering out deals with all of the affected communities and municipalities touched by the project including Dallas, and he had all of those agreements already in hand. Now in late 2008 and early 2009, it was time for him to start selling large properties to multinational shippers.

Those big companies, he explained to anybody who would listen, would not even consider coming to town unless all of the planning and zoning and infrastructure agreements were already in place, done deals, nailed down -- exactly what he had spent five years doing. When Price got up and said we needed to start over on the planning from scratch, it was the perfect poison pill to shut Allen down and allow the Perots to steal a march on him.

In this effort, Price was joined by the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. And all of them put it exactly the same way, saying with this incredible dead-pan sneer, "Well, what can be wrong with a little planning?" I swear, it's almost scary. Nothing is wrong with a little planning, unless you're planning on biting me in the neck and sucking my blood.

I noticed with some interest in Robberson's deal yesterday that he said Allen had invited him to his office, spread his own documents all over a table and I assume explained to him exactly what was wrong with more planning, that it was a poison pill to kill the Inland Port. But the consistent line from the Morning News over the years, repeated almost verbatim from the editorial page to the news columns even to Steve Blow's folksy personal column in the Metro section, was that anybody who objected to more planning had to be paranoid and a tinfoil hat.

In one of the editorials Robberson does link to in his piece on the blog yesterday, the News said, " "Mr. Allen might see enemies behind every tree, but it's time he realized that the city of Dallas, among others, already has invested significant public funds in the inland port. It would make no sense now to injure a major private investor and blow that investment."

Oh, don't get all wiggy about it. We're only trying to help you, my dear. What could be wrong with more planning? Don't you believe in planning?

At some point in the weave, somebody knew exactly what this was all about. I don't know if the Morning News knew it and lied about it or if they were just stupid and let somebody play them. But I do know that Allen was spelling it out very explicitly for anybody who would listen. He apparently did it for Robberson, who did not listen. Now we know who did listen: the FBI.

Along the way, the News has hit repeatedly on the theme that there was no need to look at those little people behind that curtain over at the weekly paper. In 2011 managing editor George Rodrigue wrote:

"Their staff, which is talented but tiny, can't break many stories. So they sit back, wait for us to do months of painstaking research, and then explode in rhetorical indignation over a sentence that they would have written differently. By constantly claiming to have spotted signs of bias in our work, they may even convince their readers that a sexually oriented weekly tabloid truly is vital to understanding Dallas. One has to admire the effort."

I have said it before and I will say it again today: I would much rather have a couple hookers for advertisers than be one myself.

In the Blow piece reproduced on Wyle H's Facebook page this morning (and below), Blow sets up a kind of equivalency between me and Price -- me, the tinfoil hat at the paper with the sex ads, and Price, the unsavory character. [A resourceful reader has now provided a working link to the Blow column.]

"Schutze's list of co-conspirators seems to include everyone who has ever spoken kindly of an inland-port master plan -- including, of course, the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News."

He concludes, "Maybe it's best for Schutze and Price to pummel each other awhile. They'll be less likely to hurt someone else."

So, yeah, to hell with dignity. I can't avoid pointing out that all of this puts the Morning News squarely in the wrong as having aided and abetted the effort to slow down the Inland Port, and, yup, it does put us in the right.

You know, it's a funny thing about newspaper people. The give-away is when they rise to defend their own team every single time. In any other business, that would be a good thing, I guess. But in this business, the ones who rush to defend their own paper every time, who are loyal to the nth degree and take great umbrage whenever anybody questions their own newspaper's integrity or dignity, tend to be the worst journalists, because they're suck-up company men, and no good reporter was ever a suck-up company man.

Dallas Morning News Inland Port Editorial by Schutze

Only Loser in This Brawl Could Be You by Schutze



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55 comments
bbartonwx
bbartonwx

Great work, Jim.  You deserve to savor every apology and your ultimate vindication.  Everyone's known about this scandal and many others over the decades, but whoever could do something about it was stopped either by fear or greed.  I hope it leads to real reform in Dallas County. 

kduble
kduble

"He apparently did it for Robberson, who did not listen."

In fact, Robberson claims he did listen, and that he concluded Allen was right. What he doesn't explain is how he then acted on that knowledge.

kduble
kduble

"I don't know if the Morning News knew it and lied about it or if they were just stupid and let somebody play them"

I prefer to think the DMN was stupid and let somebody play them. I don't know that I'd want to live in a city in which the newspaper colluded with an out-of-town competitor to kill the best chance Dallas has had in half a century for economic development in the southern sector.

kfries1
kfries1

Having lived in cities with more than one paper before moving to Dallas, I was shocked by the quality of reporting and the clumsy editorials of the DMN. I cancelled my subscription about 6 months after it started and never looked back. You say there's fair reporting these days? The paywall is gone too? Golly. Pass the Kook-Ade(tm), I need a drink.

They screwed the pooch as far as I'm concerned. 

MikeyLikesIt
MikeyLikesIt

Don't you know how to search the DMN archives through the Dallas Public Library database online? Free.

Catbird
Catbird

How come I always think of HBO's "Deadwood" series when I read about the DMN's relationship with Ross Perot and JWP...though Commissioner Price never operated a saloon/brothel and the Perot's we never interested in The Color.

fred.garvin.mp.713
fred.garvin.mp.713

If the DO is a "sexually oriented weekly tabloid," then the DMN is a eunuch.

Besides, what's wrong with being sexy?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Almost forgive Blow, as a life commentator. But the Robberson, Bush cabal are craven whores to powers that be. Very sad.

discount everything they say.

BenS.
BenS.

Glad to see someone has not forgotten the Perot connection to Wai-Wize, Willis Johnson, something called SALT and the Inland Port Deal with Allen. That all happened like ten years ago almost but is another connection that the Dallas Morning News either forgot about or neglected to follow up on.


I have not read the whole 100 plus page JWP indictment to see if Wai-Wize plays into it.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

DalMornNews doubleplusungood blackwhite InlandPort.  DalMornNews crimethink Shutze ungood.  DalMornNews duckspeak Perot.  Price unperson.
DalMornnews antebellyfeel Price

greenvillite
greenvillite

This is great.  Robberson's reporting is lazy at best.  IMO, he owes Councilman Kingston an apology.  And perhaps he should remove that bee from his bonnet. 

@JimSX great line:  "I have said it before and I will say it again today: I would much rather have a couple hookers for advertisers than be one myself" 

OxbowIncident
OxbowIncident

Wasn't all that going on when the DMN was cutting all their staff. It was probably a good time to not make any waves as a writer.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Robberson's blog brought to mind Orwell:

"You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane".

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Jim gets accused of wearing a tin foil hat a lot.  It's really just his hat cam.  And Ill be damned if he isnt right way more than he is wrong when it comes to these city hall messes. You can bag on him for a lot of things, but city hall reporting isn't one them folks.  Oh and eff the morning news, you look worse and worse each time this shit blows up in your face.

highdraw_
highdraw_

"I have said it before and I will say it again today: I would much rather have a couple hookers for advertisers than be one myself."


Right on Schutze! Rock'on baby!!! 


Right between the eyes!!! DOA! 


Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

Anyone else wondering if JWP has something on Steve Blow?  Does Kathy Neely pay for good press?

JustSaying
JustSaying

When I was a kid I used to look forward to the Dallas Morning News sports section. There was no internet so that was my only way to find out who won last night's west coast baseball games. It was also my only way to know which porn star was feature dancing at Caligula XXI.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Blow's Sunday column was downright complimentary to Price.

(To make myself feel better about it, I tell myself that I'm coughing up the $3.50 for the comics, and the rest of the combustible material is just excess wrapping with a lot of words on it that I use to ignite my charcoal.) 

highdraw_
highdraw_

Its shocking that DMN operates with selective memory and is nothing more than a puppet for City Hall and the other aristocrats of Dallas. 


I wonder if it has something to do with one of the aristocratic families of Dallas owning the only daily newspaper of Dallas? Hmmmm. We will have to get back to that one. 


Absolutely shocking, I say!!!  

James080
James080

@ozonelarryb 

I believe the DMN uses Blow to translate complex misrepresentations of local political issues into language Dallas' low information voters can understand.

WaitWhat
WaitWhat

@ozonelarryb If you're saying Blow is completely irrelevant, I agree.  Who reads that drek?

mcdallas
mcdallas

@BenS. Totally forgot about SALT until you mentioned it!  So many layers to the story.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@BenS. I haven't been able to pin Wai-Wize down as one of the lettered 'companies, known to the Grand Jury' in the indictment.  I'm certain they are included, just haven't gotten there yet.

I so hope they are included.

WylieH
WylieH

@ScottsMerkin There is actually a lot of really good stuff coming out of the DMN these days... great reporters penning great stuff on topics they never would have touched in years past.


I can't begin to understand what happened with respect to Robberson's posting that is the subject of present discussion.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@TheCredibleHulk I use the print edition of the DO for my charcoal.  Not only is it cheaper, I get a better quality of flame.  But then I don't get the comics, either.  It's a tradeoff.

WylieH
WylieH

@highdraw_ IMHO, the quality of DMN's local coverage has improved 1,000% over the last few years--- lot's of really, really good stuff.  They are publishing pieces today that would have never been allowed to see the light of day a few years ago.  However:


1) The DMN is a collection of individuals, and some have different opinions/agendas than others.


2) When it comes to certain hot-button issues, the DMN's publisher has a history of getting out the long stick and doing everything he can to get everyone to march in a certain direction.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@WylieH: Yeah, guys like Wilonsky.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@WylieH I kind of gave up on reading the DMN when they went paywall nuts but I hear that is gone.  Im not one to just get my news from one place, but they used to make it hard to read.  Ill have to head back over there.  Hell it seems they even ruined my favorite blog over there which was the aviation blog.  There used to be good dialogue in the comments but its all shot to hell with FB commenting

wcvemail
wcvemail

@MaxNoDifference @TheCredibleHulk

The colored inks in the comics and ads make pretty flames. (court order against carrying a lighter is almost up!)

highdraw_
highdraw_

@WylieH @highdraw_


You've made my point for me: Saying DMN is less biased now than the old days makes me feel no better. 


Shouldnt there be no bias in reporting? Shouldnt it be all about reporting the truth with no bias or agendas? 


Their bias then and now will be there undoing eventually. 


Tick tock tick tock...........

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@WylieH @highdraw_

I agree, and you can spot those long-stick stories a mile away. The Morning News is certainly one of the best dailies in the country, given the state of the industry at this point. They do a  lot of great stuff, and it earns them a good deal of credibility. Then a story involving real estate and/or the paper's ownership families comes along, and they squander every penny of it. Is it because people are told to, or is it because everybody in the newsroom is a wind-sniffer, living in fear of the one bad story that ends his/her career? Dunno. I no longer know anybody in that operation to even ask. We reporters and columnists are worker bees, products of the papers we work for and the expectations they have of us. Back during the dark days of backpage.com, before the split, if I had started writing columns defending backpage, the CEO would have called my editor after a while and said, "What's the matter with Schutze, why is he sucking up all of a sudden? Did you catch him embezzling or something?" At the News it seems to work the other way. You write a suck-up piece and then say what-a-good-boy-am-I. Cultural differences. Only thing worse is family.

JackJett
JackJett

@ScottsMerkin  I recently discovered DMN on a US News app on my phone as I had stop checking it out when they wanted my beer money. 

I can't recall if I have been kicked off there before but they do seem less holy rollers now and of course big bob hangs there.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Scott: the website sucks completely.

phe
phe

@ScottsMerkin  The paywall is gone, for the most part. However, they appear to still be running 1997-vintage Web server technology. Dang thing freezes my browser up more than any site this side of Channel 8 (co-inky-dink, no?). And pop-ups, boy do they have em!


I had hopes the addition of that Wilonsky guy was going to improve things. I guess he has some, but it's still a mess.

WylieH
WylieH

EVERY media outlet exhibits bias reflecting the belief systems of individual writers, editors and publishers--- hard to eliminate, even if one tries.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@highdraw_ There is no getting the shit back into that goose.  With very few exceptions, all reporting is going to contain bias.  Either the bias of the journalist or that of the editor/publisher.

That is where the readership has to hold up their end of the relationship.  We need to pull our news from various sources, with varying bias, in order to determine the facts of an item.  Then we'll use our own bias to determine the significance of that item in our own view.

Journalists in today's immediate news cycle face very different challenges from the days when the 8:30am water cooler chats revolved around last night's 10pm newscast.  Today's journo's have to be constantly breaking, posting, tweeting and instagramming compelling stories.  Stories that just put the facts out don't get your name in lights, they line the bottoms of bird cages (or in my case, get shredded up for worm fodder... better than a composting bin!)

pak152
pak152

@phe use ad-blocker plus and pale moon as a browser, never see an ad or popup again.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@phe @ScottsMerkin improve your browser, dump IE and at least try chrome.  Chrome killed all my freezing and loading issues on site like the NEws and WFAA

highdraw_
highdraw_

@WylieH


How about a bias to report and interpret the facts honestly and let the conclusion be what it is. Not, already having the conclusion formulated then reporting the facts to support your agenda. 


That is what DMN has been doing for years, especially when it involves City Hall. 

JustSaying
JustSaying

@ScottsMerkin Changing browsers is like back in the day when you finally relented and switched from cassettes to cds. Only, its the catalog of porn bookmarks that you are leaving behind and having to rebuild.

pak152
pak152

@highdraw_ one could say the same thing about the DO's blog. lots of conclusions pre-decided before the story is written, lots of inaccuracies.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@highdraw_ Name one news source that reports and interprets the facts honestly.  Here's a hint: You can't, because of the way you phrased the criteria.  Interpretation immediately implies bias, as an interpretation of facts would rely on one's own experiences, beliefs, values and morals.  Presentation of facts could, theoretically, be done without bias, interpretation could not.

pak152
pak152

@JustSaying use xmarks to share your bookmarks. if you're using FF or palemoon you can export your bookmarks in html

highdraw_
highdraw_

@RTGolden1 @highdraw_


Everyone has to interpret as information reaches their senses/brain. Interpreting the facts correctly and honestly is what the best do. The other is what DMN does. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@highdraw_ @RTGolden1 and where, pray tell, can I find this unbiased, 100% factual and unerringly correct reporting of the news?  The only thing I can think of would be the Daily Show or the skit from SNL.

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