Clarification and Apology Re: TDMN South Dallas Series

Today I got into it with Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News on the opinion blog with what I meant to be a drive-by joke at his expense. Here’s the link and the relevant line:

And for the record, I drove down Lamar about six days ago, and I go regularly into these South Dallas neighborhoods that I’m told pink-skinned suburbanites never would. And I don’t do it as part of a one-time, company sponsored tour complete with escorts (hi Tod).

One of the editorial page editors I work with and whose opinion I greatly value took it as an attack on the editorial page’s ongoing, depth series on bridging the North-South Dallas gap, rather than a joke directly solely at Tod.

This was not my intent, and I apologize without qualification for this. This series TDMN is doing is an excellent piece of depth journalism, and involves TDMN reporters and editors doing old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting that makes the city a better place. I encourage everyone to read it. They’re out there in the neighborhoods doing great work.

Now, Tod is one of those people whose writing I respect, even if I don’t agree with him. But we rub each other the wrong way. He seems to think I’m a low-brow; I think he’s too haughty and humorless. Probably some truth in both assessments. We’ll probably get past it some day.

Anyway, by way of context and not by way of qualifying my apology, the source of this particular spat and my attempt at a side-swipe goes back to October 2008, when we got into it regarding another South Dallas issue. Here’s a link to the thread in question, and here’s the pertinent exchange, wherein he makes almost the exact same charge at me that I suggested in my post today.

Posted by tod Robberson @ 4:54 PM Wed, Oct 01, 2008

Trey, the editorial is talking about junkyards and cocktail lounges and unauthorized stores and houses that are turned into multi-occupant apartment buildings. These are not “cheap strawmen.” These are actual, real-live businesses that people are running in residential neighborhoods. I know you haven’t bothered to visit any of those neighborhoods so that you’ll actually know what you’re talking about.

Basically, we made the same attack on one another. But given that the DMN opinion page is one where they want a higher level of discourse, both of us are guilty of stepping over the line. This was wrong. I’m going to abide by their wishes and watch my level of snarkiness going forward.

Lest anyone think I’m doing this under duress, or that I’m worried that I’ll lose my access to the DMN editorial page where I’m a special contributor, this is not the case. The editor who I rankled made no such suggestion. This is just me coming clean and making amends for something for which I take sole responsibility. And I think Tod and I can bury the hatchet. If he’s willing.

PS — The council should vote yes on the special use permit for the business on South Lamar. A sports bar, which is what is proposed, isn’t exactly a dirty little package store where you find a.m. drunks hanging out on the stoop.


  1. Nathan says:

    The quickest way to get rid of liquor stores on South Lamar and Industrial is to allow businesses to sell alcohol on the other side of the Trinity. Ever wonder why they cluster so close to the wet/dry boundry? When I lived in Oak Cliff, the fact that I couldn’t buy booze down the street didn’t keep me from buying liquor on Industrial.

    Of course this is from the same City that want’s to ban the sale of individually wrapped cigars. What a bunch of idiots!

  2. Peterk says:

    “I think he’s too haughty and humorless. ”

    I’ve found Tod to be a bit both in his postings on the DMNblog, as well as overly sensitive in some areas

  3. m1k3 says:

    Kudos to both of you for apologizing.

    Aside from Tod’s disposition, I wonder if there is some defensiveness at the DMN because of D’s stream of attacks pointed comments and writers and bloggers who come off as <assh*les snarky rather than thoughtful.

  4. m1k3 says:

    Ooops, bad HTML. My apologies.