Love for Sale

Well, isn't this just peachy? For years now, Buzz has made it known that we are amenable to a little journalistic bribery. Cheap bribery, too. Our soul, we've advertised, can be bought for $1.89. Cash or check. Granted, it's a bit frayed, sort of a fixer-upper, but still cheap at twice the price. And what have we been offered so far in the way of graft? Bupkiss. Zilch.

Now comes Dallas Observer Associate Editor Eric Celeste. He writes a story about how The Dallas Morning News is changing under the leadership of Editor Bob Mong and Publisher Jim Moroney ("Snooze Alarm," February 13). What happens? Celeste gets a crisp $100 bill in the mail from Moroney.

"As you might imagine, your story was widely read throughout TDMN and just as hotly debated," Moroney wrote. "Frankly, it's healthy to get this kind of discussion going from employees in all departments and at every level in the organization. Your article did it better than several memos from me could ever do."

Well yeah, Jim, Eric kind of figured that the chief reason you and Mong spoke so much to him was to deliver a message to your staff, not our readers. You use us. We use you. It's the biz. Still, 100 whole dollars? Listen, pal, Buzz has personally witnessed Eric, who is straight, kiss another man full on the lips for way less than that. (Alcohol was involved--a phrase that would make a pretty good epitaph for Eric someday.) Throwing hundreds around like that seems fiscally reckless, seeing how the Morning News faces some pretty big bills ahead as it packs up and moves to Plano. Don't you guys have a hotel to build, too?

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In Moroney's defense, the money is the same amount he offers News staffers who can recite the company's five business goals when randomly quizzed by the publisher. (Eric printed the goals, hence the money.) To Buzz, that seems pretty generous toward Moroney's staff. Heck, you can teach a hound to bark on cue in exchange for a couple of dog biscuits. But then, dogs are pretty smart.

Moroney suggested that if Eric couldn't keep the money, he should give it to charity, which, of course, he did. Our suggested recipients--the Church of Buzzonia or the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development--were rejected. Instead, the fine people at Educational First Steps, a nonprofit that supports early childhood education programs in Dallas, will get the C-note.

All of which is so damn touching that somewhere deep down in the tattered remains of Buzz's soul we're weeping like a new bride. Yep, we're turning over a new leaf. So send us those bribes, folks. We promise to hand them over to charity. Oh? You say you're not familiar with the Church of Buzzonia? Well then, Mr. or Mrs. Cynical, you can just send the money straight to Educational First Steps yourself: 4621 Ross Ave., Suite 330.

(Note to worthwhile nonprofits and/or beggars: This is likely the last time Buzz touts for charity in this space anytime soon. Save the letters.)

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