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The Dallas Morning News sends a crack team to make sure a big story doesn't get covered

In the latter case, what an exuberant welcome they will receive from people delighted to see them down on their hands and knees and out in the mud with the rednecks. That was the other side of the response I received: an outpouring of warlike joy from every white racist bigot who could make it out from under his rock that week to thank me for criticizing John Wiley Price.

Let's not kid ourselves about that aspect of the community. The minute you start thinking there's no racism in the Dallas Police Department and that the chief has nothing to worry about, go online and take a good long gander at, the unofficial chat room for a certain contingent of Dallas' white police officers. In this very ugly venue, African-American police officers are regularly referred to as "roids," short for negroid. In post after post, white people hiding behind the coward's coat of Internet anonymity accuse black officers of stupidity, dishonesty and sexual depravity because they are black.

The white cops will try to tell me, I'm sure, that they have nothing to do with this page, but there's way too much insider police department gossip on the page for me to believe that. The foul dialogue on this page matches the words paraded in front of Miller's house last month syllable for syllable in ignorance and immorality. That just makes it all the more tragic to see people who claim lineage from the Civil Rights Movement involved in precisely the same kind of foul play.

Why would the Morning News try to suppress its own staff’s coverage of the Laura Miller protest? Can you spell BOEING?
Mark Graham
Why would the Morning News try to suppress its own staff’s coverage of the Laura Miller protest? Can you spell BOEING?

The words are everything. Without the words, it's all just noise. So here is what you need to know about the city's only daily newspaper, flagship of one of the nation's major media companies, and how it covered the first day of protest in front of Miller's house:

On the Friday before the Miller protest, the same picketers carrying the same signs appeared in front of the Morning News. Someone connected with the pickets informed the News that the picketers planned to appear the next morning in front of Miller's house.

That night at about 9 p.m., a Morning News editor called Miller on her city mobile phone and left her a message warning her that the News had information that protesters would appear at her house the next morning.

I have no idea why the editor called her that late on the mobile phone and not at her home number, which is listed. It occurs to me that having left such a message would cover the editor in case violence took place during the protests and the editor were accused of having failed to pass on the knowledge in his possession. I'm not naming the editor, because he didn't return my call; the News' managing editor, Stuart Wilk, who is supposed to handle inquiries from the Observer by company policy, didn't respond to a detailed faxed letter I sent him, and I was able to confirm only a portion of the editor's role in what ensued.

But this much I did confirm, from sources both inside and outside the Morning News staff: The Morning News had both a reporter and a photographer at Miller's house on the morning of the first protest. Photographs of one of the picket signs, which said "Miller Whore," were later blown up and displayed on staffers' desks in the Morning News newsroom.

Let me bring this into focus: The Morning News was privy to the planning of the Laura Miller protest. It gave Miller a technical warning of the protest, which she never heard until long after the protest was over.

The Morning News had a reporter and a photographer at her house that morning. Photographs of the placards depicting the words "Miller Whore" were on display in the newsroom.

But when Dembling tried to make the crucial point about the words in her letter to the Morning News, that these are not mere vulgar words but expressions of bigotry, the Morning News told her it could not publish the words because the words had never been published.

By it.

To this date, the Morning News still has never reported the words.

And what is the prize, again? Boeing? Even if they come, they're not coming to the city. And they're bringing no manufacturing, just corporate headquarters out on some low-rise suburban campus. It's all ego for the deal-makers and contempt for the city.

That's what you get for 50 cents these days.

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