Still Sacred

Morning News avoids the holy trinity

Buzz is nothing if not a great Monday-morning quarterback. Example: Last week, KERA radio convened a "state of the local media" powwow. One of the participants was James Moroney III, publisher of The Dallas Morning News. Moroney took exception to the other panelists and callers when they suggested the paper protects its sacred cows: people it won't report on aggressively because they're rich and powerful. "Name them!" he challenged. Okeedokee:

Ross Perot Jr. In Fortune magazine, former Dallas Observer writer Miriam Rozen points out that the Dallas law firm Hughes & Luce told longtime client Perot that he must disclose in SEC filings a federal investigation centering on his purchase and refurbishing of an Air Force jet. (Federal law says only the military or a museum can own such things.) Perot disagreed. So Hughes & Luce told their client of more than two decades: "OK, then, buh-bye." Neither this nor the information about the investigation has appeared in the DMN.

Tom Hicks. The Rangers owner was sued last year by a contractor who says he wasn't paid nearly a half-million bucks for work on Hicks' $50 million to $70 million estate. This information was found last year on page six of the Metro section. The settlement (the contractor finally got 60 percent of his money) was found nowhere.

Robert Decherd. Do you read Jim Schutze? Hello...

That's for starters. We asked Moroney to respond. If he does, we'll let you know.. And if you want to know why we didn't write about these cows, well, we just did.


Busybody: This is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. No, this is only an interesting little window on the way things really are. We think little windows usually are more fun than the grand scheme anyway. So here's the peek:

Dallas school Superintendent Mike Moses is always too busy to talk to reporters who call with nettlesome questions, too weighted down, we suppose, with the burdens of office to be able to fritter away his time swatting at news flies. The picture painted by his flacks, especially chief public relations person Donnie Claxton, is of a chief of state attending to grand issues.

The window on reality here is a memo pried out of Moses' staff recently as part of a broader open records request by a reporter for another news medium. Dated June 17, 2002, from Moses to board member Ron Price, the memo says: "Just wanted to let you know if your board assistant has not that Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer has made a request for all of your expense claims for the past year. He has requested a copy of all of your travel records and cell phone records. I have instructed Jack Elrod and Leticia McGowan to look over his request and make sure he is only provided what he has requested and what is required."

Schutze got a chuckle from the memo and remembered that Price had called him to ask, "What do you want with my expense records?" Schutze remembers saying something to the effect of "I'm looking for graft." Price offered to show him anything he asked for. Schutze found nothing amiss. He and Price have had a good relationship ever since.

 
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