On Monday, The Dallas Morning News reported how school board candidate Adam Medrano evaded arrest after the Dallas police conducted a sting of homosexual activity in a Dillard's men's room...six years ago. Medrano's estimable political consultant Anna Casey was fuming. She felt that DMN reporter Kent Fischer misled her about his article and had insulted both her and her candidate, who's the grandson of local civil-rights leader Francisco "Pancho" Medrano Sr. That's why she Googled him.
It's generally not a good idea for a reporter to post opinions on a Web site that could later come back to haunt him. When Casey went searching for Kent Fischer, she came across a post he made on the Romensko media site. Justin McLaughlin, a young White House intern, had complained on the well-read site about how reporters treated him. An unmoved Fischer said, in so many words: Don't cry for me, Argentina.
"Let me spell out for you, Justin, what reporters do. Let's hope you'll apply them to your current reporting job. (Please note the similarities to the transgressions listed above.) 1. We insult people. Sometimes it's on purpose, to achieve a desired result. Sometimes it's a by-product of our work. 2. Sometimes we threaten people to get the information we need. 3. Often we bug people for quotes, records and interviews. 4. We move obstructions. 5. We seek time with public officials (even when we know it's a long shot)."
To Casey, Fischer's unvarnished glimpse into how he goes about his job perfectly captured how he treated her.
"If you go down the list of what he said, he did all those things to me," Casey says. "He kept on insulting me, he was so rude."
The kind of political consultant who would lie down on Harry Hines for her client, Casey says that Fischer ridiculed her for not having a resume prepared for her candidate. He also misled her into believing that his story was going to be about all the candidates for school board, she says.
When contacted by Unfair Park, Fischer quickly responded. (Otherwise, we might have threatened him or threw an insult his way.)
"In no way did I mislead Ms. Casey or Mr. Medrano about the extent of my research, or what my article would say," he says. "I was completely aboveboard in my dealings with Mr. Medrano and went to great lengths to include his point of view in the story."
About his post on Romensko, he claims it was a "somewhat satirical take on another posting on the Web site."
For what it's worth, I thought Fischer reported a tough but fair story on Medrano. I shared this with Casey, and her response is priceless: I agree with you about the right to report," she says. "My problem is with Kent's 'Big Media' tactics. Mr. 'Big' is a jerk." --Matt Pulle