Everybody's Narcing on The News

People are not happy with The Dallas Morning News this morning; don't look at me, mine's just a little soggy. Let's start close to home, with Sharon Boyd's Dallas Arena, where it's The Dallas Managed News getting Boyd worked up this a.m. Turns out she's discovered that Ronda Gibbons, the paper's assistant news editor, made a contribution to the campaign of Tracy Holmes, a former Dallas County public defender who's running against incumbent Judge Faith Johnson for the 363rd Criminal District Court.

Holmes is a Democrat from University Park; The News endorsed her on September 25, citing myriad concerns, including a Dallas Bar Association that "raises concerns about her demeanor and knowledge of the law." Johnson is a Republican who was the first African-American woman to be appointed to the positions of State Criminal District Judge in Texas and chief felony prosecutor over the child abuse unit in the Dallas County District Attorney's office, according to the Dallas Bar Association's profile.

Gibbons' campaign contribution was pocket change--90 bucks, or less than a pair of these. But Boyd's furious, since Gibbons' actions violate the paper's news department guidelines that say, "Avoid any public political activity, including contributions that would be on public records and could be used in endorsements without your knowledge." Thing is, Holmes' campaign report, which can be found here, actually lists Gibbons' contribition and her job title and place of employment. Whoops.

Also miffed at The News this morning is The Narcosphere, which only sounds made-up. Fact is, since at least March, when we first uttered the name, the site devoted to covering the drug war south of the border has accused Dallas' Only Daily of taking credit for work it didn't do or for its "feeble" coverage involving informant Guillermo Ramirez Peyro. In case you missed it yesterday, the News ran a couple of stories about the man known as Lalo, described in the paper as "a drug cartel operative and as a U.S. government informant...whose participation in drug-related murders in Mexico caused turmoil in the U.S. agency that paid him," meaning the Drug Enforcement Administration. The The Narcosphere alleges that the paper's reporting isn't fair or accurate. There's too much history to get into it here; just read this piece, "What is the Dallas Morning News smoking," for the back story and the full story, far as The Narcosphere sees it. Key phrase: "a deconstruction of that pabulum." I believe that's also the title of my favorite R.E.M. album, which sounds even better whilst high. --Robert Wilonsky

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