By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Further, this whole thing is a Sunday-school picnic compared with what the Democrats have done in using Chinese money to help elect our current president. Is the article a collection of sour grapes from the Democratic losers? Again, is the Observer making any effort to report a story fairly? Or has a writer and/or management taken to attacking Christians?
It was 1969, and the young communist professor was taking questions from the audience. Two little old ladies (I swear they were wearing tennis shoes) asked him how he'd gotten to the hall. When he replied that he'd ridden the bus, they immediately attacked him for hypocrisy. How, they demanded, could he criticize capitalism when he was willing to use capitalism's products and services? Few were convinced by their disruptive outburst, and few, I suspect, will be convinced by Thomas Korosec's outburst "Holy handouts."
Mr. Korosec's article was marred by gratuitous rhetorical flourishes ("Winning Strategies [is] a welfare queen in pinstriped drag, a sucker of Canton's public teat"), unnecessary repetition (how many times do we need to be reminded that the Christian right opposes abortion? Korosec tells us this at least four times!), and occasional apparent but unresolved contradictions (Richard Ray, for example, claims that Winning Strategies has "a totally different agenda, even for Republicans here" while an unnamed consultant insists that in Canton members of the Christian Coalition are everywhere).
It is also disturbing that although Mr. Korosec tells us at the very beginning of his article, "Since 1979, Texas has allowed towns and cities to levy special taxes to fuel their visions of economic progress," we must wait until the end of the article before reading that "Craig Pinkley, director of finance for the Texas Department of Economic Development and an expert in the law program being used in Canton, says there is almost no state oversight of how localities use their sales tax money, and few restrictions. Nowhere are political activities even mentioned in the law empowering these so-called '48' corporations, the Development Corporation Act of 1979." Gosh, then it would follow that no laws were broken, wouldn't it?
Let me give Mr. Korosec some advice: If you are going to be polemical while pretending to be a reporter, try to be less transparent.
As disturbing as Thomas Korosec's unveiling of the "Holy handouts" was to read, it is more disturbing to know that conservatives who read it will snidely say "so what," confirming that their gripes with the so-called "welfare state" are nothing more than the bigoted hatred for another class and race of people--and all in the name of Jesus, too. Excellent reporting.
A gamer friend sent me a link to the ION Storm story ["Stormy weather," January 14] on your site, but I stayed to read two other stories, "Holy handouts" by Thomas Korosec and "Censor.com" [January 21] by Juliana Barbassa. Both of these stories impressed me with the quality of their coverage and their exploration of the issues involved. Please pass my appreciation to Mr. Korosec and Ms. Barbassa. Their articles were refreshingly free of oversimplifications and rampant emotive bias--although I'd hazard a guess that Mr. Korosec isn't on the Christian right's Christmas-blast guest list.
The baseless insinuations and accusations against Governor Bush in your recent "Buzz" column [January 21] showed a complete lack of knowledge of the subject that was being reported. Was insufficient research the problem, or do you regularly lean on stereotypes in your writing?
To begin with, it is irresponsible to state that Texas is "firmly in the grip of the Christian Coalition." If you had paid attention, you would remember that the religious right criticized Bush during his campaign because he would not use anti-abortion or school prayer as planks in his platform. While Bush did espouse personal responsibility and the fact that choices have consequences, there was no embracing between Bush and the Christian Coalition.
The embrace that did happen that obviously bothered you was the one between the governor and former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. You have obviously developed a talent for reading words that aren't even on the page. So what if the two men hugged? Obviously the two developed a close friendship during Bush's first term. I'm willing to bet that Bullock provided more day-to-day help in running the state than did the former president. To imply that something is going on at the expense of the rest of the Bush family is analogous to accusing someone of being a witch.
Mr. [Patrick] Williams, do you pine for Ann Richards? If so, your memory has gone soft. Do you remember what a loving relationship she had with lawyers? But that's another gripe, isn't it?
Ode to a flack
In more than 25 years as a public relations professional, I'm not sure I've ever read a more inaccurate or misleading article than Rose Farley's "The facilitator" [January 21]. Ms. Farley's portrayal of Christy Morrow is not only wrong, but it came across as a personal vendetta. The most alarming inaccuracy of the article was that Ms. Morrow did not follow the ground rules of the mediation and compromised the integrity of Albertson's by engaging with the media. Never was there a request from the mediator to refrain from interacting with the media. She never violated any stated or implied ground rules of the mediation or betrayed any confidential information discussed at the mediations. She has been respectful of the process and honest to all parties involved.
Ms. Morrow is one of the finest business associates I've ever had. She is dedicated to her clients and makes decisions based on integrity and what is ethically right. She also has great respect for journalists and the job they do. Ms. Farley was accurate about one thing--Ms. Morrow earns her paycheck. More people in every profession should be able to say the same.
But this issue is bigger than Ms. Morrow. I have never met Ms. Farley, so I don't know her. But I hope that there will come a point when she matures and realizes that she was used by the people opposing the Albertson's zoning issue. People who do not have the same integrity as Christy Morrow fed Ms. Farley misinformation that she was happy to report. In so doing, the Observer printed unsubstantiated details about the zoning issue without giving the Albertson's team a chance to respond.
Ms. Farley let her personal dislike of Ms. Morrow divert her from the issues and fell right into the hands of those opposing the zoning case. Instead of doing a good job of reporting the message, she attacked the messenger.
Funny how that works.
Gallier and Wittenberg, Inc.
Editor's note: Our story never stated that Ms. Morrow personally violated the ground rules of the voluntary mediation.
You've reported superbly on the fight over the East Dallas Albertson's project. I'd love to read your update on the long-term battle over the other Albertson's controversy, the proposed store in East Plano on East Park next door to Bob Woodruff Park. Apparently there are still legions of area residents opposed to building a store there, but the city is doing land swaps and growing closer to giving the green light. You should see the site--there is no other commercial development within a mile in any direction, just homes, a few condos, and lots of green grass and trees. But you can be sure that whether it's Live Oak in East Dallas or real oaks in East Plano, the turf battle is just as intense.
Power to the Observer, and keep those spin doctors whirling.
Thanks for the piece on the Albertson's rezoning case in East Dallas. I live in the neighborhood and moved there primarily because it's a historic district.
Sure, Albertson's mailed me their slick four-color brochure, but it hasn't convinced me that it isn't a bad plan. The traffic is already congested, and if they think a grocery store is going to eliminate homeless people in our neighborhood, they have delusions of grandeur. I appreciate your giving some balance to the spin Albertson's is putting in the media.
The Bally's article was interesting ["Hard body, hard sell," January 14]. It reminded me a lot of the "Bally Sucks" Web site at www.compupix.com/ballysucks/. On another note, your Web site is so much more legible than the newspaper--much easier on the eyes. Finally, I love your journalism. Keep it up.
I, too, have been through the episode described in the article about joining Bally Total Fitness. It is a total farce. One aspect overlooked by the author of the article is the hidden costs of enrolling. Last time I checked, they were charging about 24 percent interest on the monthly fee! Outrageous!