By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
All the news that fits and then some
Because The Dallas Morning News would bristle if Buzz characterized its coverage of the Rowlett child murders as sensationalism, we'll pick a less crass journalistic term. How about "reportorial carpet bombing," or "vomitous volumes," or that old favorite, "pointlessly excessive."
Hell yes, it's a big-ass story. A mom arrested for the murders of two of her children. But seven stories in Thursday's paper alone? We're talkin' "Doting mom recalled by friends, kin" to the obligatory News crime chronology.
In print's answer to talk radio, Thursday's sidebar, "Horror, not surprise, grips city after arrest," the News takes us to local greasy spoons to learn that some Rowlettites suspected "something funny" was going on from the beginning and that Darlie Routier (who, by the way, had yet to be arraigned, let alone convicted) "just didn't act like a grieving mother" because she didn't "throw herself on the coffins" at the funeral. Who needs the FBI crime lab with shamuses of this caliber?
The subsidebar, "Child-care workers say kids haven't reacted to boys' deaths," explains that, as far as anyone has noticed, the Metroplex's children haven't been emotionally traumatized by the crime. "None of the children have said one word," reported a child-care worker. "I'm not even sure the children know about it." (In journalism circles, this is known as the "No banks robbed today!" approach to reporting.)
Finally, Ed Bark was pressed into service to write a column on national television coverage of the tragedy. Er, there wasn't much--hence the show-stopping headline: "Slayings in Rowlett slow to grab national attention." (Geez, what does it take to get New York and L.A. to notice us?)
And it's not over yet. Still to come, no doubt, will be the map, the house editorial, an incomprehensible Jim DeOre cartoon on infanticide, and, finally, the News' equivalent of the Fat Lady--the architecture critic weighing in on the emotionally corrosive influence of tract housing.
How much to flush Victor's radiator?
Memo to Victor Morales: Junk the pickup-truck shtick.
In a precious plea for campaign contributions, the Morales-for-Senate folks are offering contributors a chance to get on board, as it were, by joining the "Victor Morales Road Crew." You can be a "tanker" by giving $5 a month for five months--about the cost of a tank of gas. Or an "Oiler" by giving the $10 equivalent of an oil change for five months. There's more, but you get the idea.
Sounds like fun, but if Texas' closet megalomaniac wants to whup Gramm (hey, it could happen), he better get some "Rolls Royce passengers." Now we're doing it.
The Denny's Restaurants chain, which has taken its share of knocks lately over discriminatory service, got a public-relations boost in an unexpected place last week: federal court. Last week in Judge Sidney Fitzwater's U.S. District Court, convicted armed robber Keith Walton was describing the minutes leading up to an Eckerd Drug store heist last year in East Dallas for which defendant Mark Linnear Hays was standing trial. Walton, who is already doing time for his part as the getaway driver, testified he was killing time about 5 a.m. at a Denny's at I-30 and Jim Miller Road, waiting for the agreed time to drive back to Eckerd and pick up a decidedly richer Hays. "I just decided to chill out for a little while at Denny's," he said. "I was having me some toast and coffee. But after a while I got a little nervous because it was looking too clean. So I left there and went to a Waffle House up the street."
It didn't even rhyme
It's been a while since we've heard from former Dallas Morning News plagiarist and ultrasuccessful depressive Elizabeth Wurtzel. The author of Prozac Nation, who goes after publicity like a heat-seeking missile, turned up on the cover of Curio magazine recently. In the buff, of course. The occasion was billed as "a private moment" with the author. That moment dragged by in the form of an epic poem that has love, rejection, abortion, and Charles Jourdan shoes as themes.
All of which should be a hint to the pharmaceutical geniuses who came up with Prozac: It's time to get back to the lab.
The Mouse has teeth
When the Southern Baptists called for their boycott of Disney for barbarisms like granting health coverage to same-sex partners of employees and allowing gay and lesbian nights at its parks, Buzz had to wonder what it meant for our own Disney-owned theme park: the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The irony, of course, is that the Startlegram asks, "How high?" every time the Christian right says, "Hop," even going as far as transferring a gay editor to a writing job after receiving a single letter from a member of the fearsome American Family Association. Yet Disney, faced with a high-profile, potentially expensive boycott, finds the backbone to stand up to it. "We question any group that demands that we deprive people of health benefits and we know of no tourist destination in the world that denies admission to people as the Baptists are insisting we do," was the official response.
Undoubtedly the power elite at the S-T, whoever it is this week, is shaking in his or her or its boots. Will local Baptists construe the boycott on Disney products to mean canceling their Star-Telegram subscriptions?
Speaking of stupid
When your newspaper's been pushed and manipulated by right-wing religios like so much Play-Doh, bought and sold by media giants like a sack of mulch, and doesn't even know who the hell's in charge from day to day, what would you do to improve morale?
At the Star-Telegram, you subject your managers to humiliation. As a gag at a recent managers meeting, the top 10 leaders were chosen--all male--and asked to don flamboyant shorts. They became part of a "Mr. Star Legs" contest.
Now, Buzz appreciates a pair of hairy legs as much as the next mammal, but with the Star-Telegram's track record for sexual-harassment complaints, we gotta wonder. Does anybody over there get it?