We Give Steve Blow a Tip of the Hat...and Middle Finger

Crazy talk: As much as Buzz would prefer to ignore anything Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow says, it behooves us to respond to his Sunday column in which he basically calls the Dallas Observer's own Jim Schutze a conspiracy-minded, tinfoil-hat-wearing nut job. It behooves us because when we told Schutze that we'd just as soon ignore Blow, Schutze said, "Fine. That's just fine." Buzz, who has been married for a couple of centuries, knows what "fine" means, so here goes: Schutze does not wear a tinfoil hat.

Conspiracy-minded? Oh, hell yeah.

In his column, Blow uses his left hand to praise Schutze for his reporting on County Commissioner John Wiley Price's efforts to delay creation of a huge transportation hub in the southern part of the county. Price has called for a lengthy master plan for the development—basically attempting to toss a wrench in the deal—and more minority participation in the business. Some of Price's cronies graciously offered to help developer Richard Allen thread his way through the maze of local politics in exchange for lots of cash and 15 percent of Allen's business.

Conspiracy-minded folk like Schutze look at a situation like that and see a bit of the ol' pay-to-play. He digs and finds out, yeah, that's pretty much what it is. And Blow is fine with that reporting. But then Schutze also points out that the Perot family's competing transportation hub at Alliance Airport might benefit if Allen's development is hamstrung. And he notes that Mayor Tom Leppert, whom the Perots support politically, also wants a "master plan" for Allen's project. And, Schutze writes, the Morning News' editorial board is right onboard.

Schutze smells a whole nest of rats, but Blow says that's just crazy talk.

Any talk of conspiracy or backroom political shenanigans, except among southern Dallas black folk, is just nuts.

Blow does have a point. The Morning News' opinionators are ready enough to support whatever the city's masters want. There's no need for City Hall to conspire with its own amen choir. (Blow sings tenor. He should know this.)

But the patronizing, smarmy, dismissive attitude in Blow's column is becoming tedious. Apparently, anyone who challenges anything the paper supports is a loon. Angela Hunt on the Trinity project and the convention center hotel? Tinfoil hat. Schutze on the inland port? Tinfoil hat.

What these metal chapeau wearers have in common is their rude habit of delving into the facts, challenging assumptions and asking questions. You know—investigating, which is more than the Morning News seems capable of these days. Us? We'll take a tinfoil hat over a propeller beanie any day.

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