Friendly Local Fascists

A youth group that calls itself the Young Conservatives of Texas is taking some credit for the recent firing of a Fort Worth Star-Telegram business writer who called them "anti-intellectual little fascists" in an e-mail.

The missive upset the group, though Buzz isn't sure why. Maybe they didn't like being called "little."

Steve McLinden, a business writer at the Star-Telegram since at least 1996, stopped working at the paper earlier this month. Jim Witt, the newspaper's executive editor, wrote an e-mail to the group that was subsequently posted on the young conservatives' Web site. In it, Witt wrote that the Star-Telegram was investigating McLinden's correspondence and that the paper's reporters are required to adhere to a strict ethics code.

We couldn't reach McLinden, but his February 10 e-mail was in response to a protest that the young conservatives were to stage against a lecture by Bill Clinton. In part, McLinden says, "Ah, the heartless, greedy, anti-intellectual little fascists are mobilizing again. (Let me guess. All you frat boys saved up your allowances and monies from your McDonald's jobs for those Beemers you'll be driving to the protest and those new jackboots you'll be sportin' en route.)...By the way, is it not enough to have the White House and Congress? Would you like to stamp out all signs that we are a two-party, Democratic country?"

The young conservatives responded in a "news advisory" a couple of weeks later that they were "startled" to get the message from McLinden, "a person whom we had perhaps naively regarded as an objective journalist devoid of blatant bias, asinine acerbity and childish cantankerousness."

Right. Asinine acerbity and childishness have no place in the news pages of a serious paper. They belong here--or on the mean-spirited, jingoistic talk radio so loved by conservatives young and old. Or on Fox.

"Mr. Witt's message and the timing of the firing suggest that there is a high probability that Mr. McLinden's unprofessional comments to YCT were at the very least one factor in his dismissal," David Rushing, the conservatives' state chairman, said.

The group said that none of their officers works at McDonald's and that the "vast majority" are not members of a "Greek organization."

In other words, McLinden was wrong to call them frat boys. Greedy, anti-intellectual fascists...well, consider the group's latest legislative agenda: They oppose a bill that would give financially needy Mexican students at border colleges the in-state tuition rate; they oppose racial, ethnic or gender considerations in hiring; they oppose recognition of same-sex marriages from out of state; they favor prayer in schools; and they favor the carrying of guns without permits and to many places such as libraries, on buses and in university residences.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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