Thanks to both the Observer and David Pasztor for the article on William Dean Singleton and his career of destroying major daily newspapers in Texas ["Citizen Dean," May 4].
As a former employee of both the Dallas Times Herald and the Houston Post, I was always amazed to see Singleton repeatedly make the same glaring operational errors at the Post that he made at the Times Herald. The man seemed hell-bent on destruction.
Both cities lost a paper, but casual readers may not realize the personal toll taken on employees of the newspapers. Many employees have very specific lifelong skills at newspaper production that do not transfer to other jobs. And don't expect the Dallas Morning News or the Houston Chronicle to hold a career fair or offer out placement services. Our bottom line is your tough luck.
David Pasztor's "True believers" [May 4] was a classic parallel to the story of the blind fakirs examining an elephant: each came to an equally erroneous conclusion by individually examining the leg, the tail, and the trunk. Pasztor evidently believes he unearthed the most cogent issues at Dallas "patriots'" meeting by bumping around for one evening with a note pad and a handful of leading questions. How sad.
I suppose it was inevitable that even the Observer had to fall into lockstep with the "me too," patriot-bashing bandwagon, miscreated by the media spin doctors in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City tragedy. The gossamer threads barely connecting McVeigh to a single meeting of a single militia group in a single state have been inflated to enormous proportions in barely two weeks. Somewhere in the chaos, the spin doctors convinced some people of an association between senseless violence and a group of words that are suddenly in danger of being relegated to the asylum of the taboo ("militia," "angry white men," "patriot," "protester," and so on). Read this: heavy on rhetoric, light on evidence.
Pasztor called the militias "the hardest of the hard-core Patriots." Oh? How much back-breaking investigation went into the little zinger? Does he realize most militia groups are largely independent? It is certainly cheap and easy to classify all "militia" as radical. Like all fat people eat uncontrollably. Like all gays are promiscuous and perverted. Cheap. Easy. Yellow.
If we are to offset, in even some small way, the mindless violence that has made its way into America's midsection, we need to stop making class judgments, quit buying into sensationalism, and fall out of love with witch hunts.
Observer, if you can't investigate such large issues addressed in "True believers" with (at least) the professionalism and thoroughness usually shown by Laura Miller, then don't take the cheap way out. Let it go. Just don't send anyone.
I'd like to know just what the hell Miriam Rozen was doing in her attack piece on Dick Armey ["The improbable rise of Richard Armey," May 4] when she referred to the University of North Texas as "mediocre." If you want to attack the House majority leader, attack him. But why did you feel it was necessary to insult the more than 25,000 students, faculty, and staff of UNT along with him?
This is especially puzzling in light of the fact that UNT has a world-famous music school and a nationally famous journalism department, not to mention strong programs in the fine arts, English, and accounting, among others.
Your paper currently enjoys strong readership in Denton, largely because of the comprehensive club listings, local music reviews, and local happenings, but there is another Dallas weekly with the same features, and I and as many people as I can get to join me will be reading that paper in the future.
I think we should leave Miriam Rozen's mediocre articles rotting in Dallas Observer bins all over Denton.
Anthony J. Marks
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