Too Much Information

Well, the blogster microscope has really drilled down into the cellular structure of the story involving Mayor Laura Miller, her AMR Corp. stock and alleged conflict of interest, and Dallas Morning News reporter Dave Levinthal. Now we've got detailed accounts, via e-mail, from everyone involved--including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport VP of PR Ken Capps, the mayor and Levinthal--regarding which e-mails did or did not arrive where and when, along with hotly debated claims of whether or not certain phone mail messages were actually left and when and where and why. It's the new nano-journalism. And I'm reading every word! Wouldn't you? Check this out:

-----Forwarded Message----- >From: "Capps, Ken" >Sent: May 11, 2006 4:55 PM >To: Moroney, James III; Decherd, Robert W.; Jacobson, Sherry; Ramshaw, Emily; Heinbaugh, Chris; Jim Schutze; Ken Kalthoff; Sarah Dodd; Frank Librio; Sharon Boyd; Shawn Rabb; S Wolens; Cox, Kevin; Bray, Dwayne; Timms, Ed; Gunnels, Kerry; Mong, Bob >Subject: RE: Update on Levinthal's reporting > >-----Original Message----- >From: "Capps, Ken" >Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 16:31:29 >To: Laura Miller, Dave Levinthal >Cc:"Cox, Kevin" >Subject: RE: Update on Levinthal's reporting > >Dave, to be clear: I called and left a message on your office mail after our team emailed you the board minutes, just to make sure you knew the document was there. If you did not get that message somehow, I apologize, but that's the fact. Our team worked extremely hard to get you the information despite the late hour. As a reporter myself for 15 years, I understand the business, and our team takes pride in being as responsive as possible to all media requests. KC > >-----Original Message----- >From: Levinthal, Dave >Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 3:53 PM >To: Laura Miller; Mong, Bob >Cc: Moroney, James III; Decherd, Robert W.; Levinthal, Dave; Jacobson, Sherry; Ramshaw, Emily; Heinbaugh, Chris; Jim Schutze; Ken Kalthoff; >Sarah Dodd; Frank Librio; Sharon Boyd; Shawn Rabb; S Wolens; Cox, Kevin; Capps, Ken; Bray, Dwayne; Timms, Ed; Gunnels, Kerry >Subject: RE: Update on Levinthal's reporting > > >Dear Mayor Miller, > >Thank you for your message. > >I spoke with Ken Capps by phone and communicated via e-mail Friday >afternoon. Ken was very helpful and promised to make all efforts to provide >me with the information I had requested about your voting record. I did >receive a reply, by e-mail, from you and D/FW Airport officials that >evening, but as my previous messages to you have stated, and as I've >reported, those e-mails were delayed well beyond my deadline. > >I did not receive a phone call or voice message Friday night or over the >weekend on either my office line or cell phone about the D/FW information. > >Had I not wanted to include your D/FW board voting record and participation >in the story, I never would have requested it in the first place. That I >wrote a front-page Metro section follow-up story Tuesday indicating you did >not cast D/FW Airport Board votes while owning AMR stock should indicate >good faith in updating the record upon receiving what the information I >requested. > >Please contact me if you have additional questions. > >Best, > > > >Dave Levinthal >Dallas City Hall Reporter > >The Dallas Morning News > >-----Original Message----- >From: lauramiller >Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 3:25 PM >To: Bob Mong >Cc: James Moroney; Robert Decherd; Dave Levinthal; Sherry Jacobson; Emily Ramshaw; Chris Heinbaugh; Jim Schutze; Ken Kalthoff; Sarah Dodd; Frank Librio; Sharon Boyd; Shawn Rabb; S Wolens; Kevin Cox; Ken Capps >Subject: Update on Levinthal's reporting > > >Kevin Cox, VP of DFW Airport, called me this morning to tell me that >contrary to Dave Levinthal's Tuesday story (and Sherry Jacobson's column >today) Levinthal's errors in last Saturday's paper were not solely the >result of a DMN computer crash. DFW Airport officials had also responded to >him BY PHONE Friday in an attempt to respond to the information request he >had submitted just three hours before. > >Here is the chronology of events: > >Levinthal sent an email request (an unreliable form of communication that >should always be followed up by a confirming phone call, according to Sherry >Jacobson's column today) to DFW Airport at 3:31 pm Friday afternoon. He >requested Sept 2005 board and committee meeting minutes. > >At this point, he had been working on this story for at least 27 hours - he >had emailed me with questions at 12:44 pm Thursday (though he never asked me >the date of the September 2005 board meeting, nor if I had voted on anything >that month re: AMR airlines.) > >DFW officials responded to his email by calling him and telling him they >would work quickly to get him the information. They emailed the minutes to >him at 6:21 pm. They then followed up the email with a PHONE CALL and left a >voicemail on Levinthal's phone in an attempt to confirm receipt of the >email. Ken Capps, Director of Airport Communications, made the call. > >I am attaching an email from DFW Airport officials that I received this >afternoon describing the exact chronology of events. > >What is clear from this email is that Levinthal made no attempt to do his >job to collect the information he had asked for in order to avoid making a >significant mistake in his story. He obviously did not want any information >that might have compromised his story's point. He asked for the information >at the last minute, late on a Friday afternoon, via EMAIL, with no followup >phone call to confirm that airport officials had received it, and then made >himself unavailable for the airport's response, either by phone or email. > >Since Jacobson's column today focuses on the fact that Levinthal cannot be >blamed for errors in his story because the newspaper's computer crashed, why >didn't she ask Levinthal or airport officials whether any phone calls were >made or received? Levinthal also failed to report the airport's two phone >calls to him in his "corrections" story on Tuesday, when he blamed his >previous errors solely on the newspaper's computer crash. > >Did voicemail crash too? > >It is notable that the newspaper would not only condone Levinthal's lack of >industry (I'm being elegant here in my wording), but defend it zealously in >repeated coverage in the newspaper, including Jacobson's torrid defense of >sloppy reporting. > >What's journalism all about if there's no integrity? > >I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply. > >lauramiller > >-----Original Message----- >From: "Coleman-Myrick, Donna" >Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:17:19 >To: >Cc:"Cox, Kevin", "Capps, Ken" >Subject: FW: Info for the Mayor > >Below is the original email from Levinthal at 3:31pm on Friday. Ken >Capps called Mr. Levinthal shortly after this email to let him know that >he would try very hard to find this information, but it was located in a >different department and we'd need to track it down. Mr. Levinthal was >fine with that. > >Public Affairs Dept. staff was able to obtain a copy of the September >board minutes, and David Magana emailed the document at 6:21 pm. Ken >Capps then followed up with a phone call to Mr. Levinthal - got his >voice mail - to let him know we had sent the information and to call >back if he needed anything else. Ken did not receive a return phone >call. > >Please let us know if you need additional information. > >Donna Coleman-Myrick >Executive Assistant > > >-----Original Message----- >From: Levinthal, Dave >Sent: Friday, May 05, 2006 3:31 PM >To: Capps, Ken >Subject: In search of airport board minutes > >Ken, > >Hope all's well. I'm working on a story for tomorrow, and I'm hoping to >get a copy of any D/FW Airport Board meeting minutes taken between >September 2 and September 12. I'm interested in full meeting minutes, as >well as any committee meeting minutes. > >Think it'd be possible for me to get these this afternoon, possibly by >e-mail or fax? > >Best, > >Dave Levinthal >Dallas City Hall Reporter > >The Dallas Morning News

But don't we have just so much room in our heads for this information? If we know this much about Laura Miller and Dave Levinthal and the PR operation at the airport, don't we have to make room for it by forgetting how to get home at night? Just thinking out loud here. I guess I should blog this right away before somebody else does. --Jim Schutze

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky