Little News

So the mayor of a major Bible Belt city wants a gambling casino downtown. Hmm. That sorta sounds like big news to Buzz, but what do we know?

Apparently a lot less--or more, your pick--than the editors of The Dallas Morning News, which reported last Friday at the tail end of a story on page 4A that Mayor Laura Miller favors putting a "full-blown casino in Reunion Arena."

Now, Buzz doesn't read the Morning News as closely as we should--been busy, busy, busy doing more interesting things, like waxing our car. So, we checked an online archive to see if the paper had made a big splash about Miller's stance that we missed.


To some paranoid, cynical types, the small play Miller's position received in the News may seem fishy. (Not to Buzz, mind you. We're a lamb.) The conspiracy goes like this: Reunion Arena is in Belo Corp. 's corner of downtown. Belo owns the Morning News and nearby property, so having a casino in the area might be good for business. Stirring up any opposition this early in the game, while casino gambling is still at best an iffy proposition, would therefore be bad.

And, of course, since you can't order a sandwich in this burg these days without some mention of the strong-mayor campaign, you can toss that into the conspiracy stew, too. Political consultant Pat Cotton says a casino is a huge issue with Miller's conservative North Dallas base, which she's counting on to put strong mayor over the top. Don't wanna piss them off, and they are anti-sin and anti-gamblin'.

Sure they are. Southern Illinois, where Buzz comes from, is more churchy than the PTL Club, and when the state allowed a riverboat casino on the Ohio River, the good staunch Baptists were purportedly very upset. The boat, strangely enough, still made tons of money. Must have been those sinful Kentuckians sneaking across the river.

Still, it says something about the News' credibility that even when it reports the news--however briefly--some of its readers see wicked money-grubbing conspiracies afoot. Belo Chairman Robert Decherd, in this view, is an evil genius on par with Fu Manchu.

But Buzz isn't buying that the Morning News is run by a genius, evil or otherwise. Have you read it lately? What? You say you've been busy, busy, busy?

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