Publisher’s Editorial: Fake News Comes to Irving

Readers:

Fake news is not just a national or international problem. Recently Irving residents received their own fake news in their email inbox.

The fake news was distributed as an email written by a blogger. By using a news article poorly crafted by the Dallas Morning News as evidence and then making comments, the “report” appears to be providing sensational information about the City of Irving being sued without providing any additional facts.

The news article written by the DMN implies a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Billy Bob Barnett by the Irving Taxpayers Matter, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. The officers of the organization filing the lawsuit have appointed themselves as watchdogs of how Irving spends its money. The DMN article does a good job of providing a history of the development of the Toyota Music Factory. Unfortunately, the DMN article chooses to describe the attorney filing the lawsuit as “the attorney for Texas honky-tonk icon Billy Bob Barnett” rather than simply stating the attorney’s name. In substance, the information is correct, but this statement implies false information. Billy Bob Barnett is not associated with this lawsuit.

In true fashion of a sensationalist trying to stir up trouble, the blogger used the DMN article as the bases for his argument, added his own comments and then challenged the readers to agree with his interpretation of the facts. Checking with the spokesperson for Irving Taxpayers Matter, reporters for the Rambler learned the blogger did not contact Irving Taxpayers Matter to verify facts or get their side of the story. The officers of Irving Taxpayers Matter are actually listed in the DMN article, so no real research is needed. The author just implies that the Irving Taxpayers Matter is only concerned with issues for the “elite” taxpayers. If the writer of the email had made a simple phone call, he would have found the organization is working on issues in both north and south Irving. The issues being examined are not limited to a single TIF district (The actual title being correctly listed in the DMN article as a Tax Increment Finance district. Not Fund) And the concerns with the Toyota Music Factory are based on complaints from a variety of people both resident and nonresident who have either visited or work at the entertainment venue.

Irving Taxpayers Matter is evaluating all aspects of the contract between the ARK Group and the City of Irving. They want to make sure that the City does its due diligence before releasing $44 million. To paraphrase their spokesperson, “once the $44 million is released it is gone. If the problems in the complaints are not corrected before the money is released, it will be difficult to get the issues corrected after the money is gone.”

Newspapers are held to a standard of expectation, which blogs and activists are not. This is the reason why people trying to cause conflict or make the public agree with them by imitating real newspapers. Do newspapers get it wrong? YES. But newspapers are held accountable by their readers. Bloggers and activists are not. Rambler Newspapers has thousands of people who read their articles every week. If there is a misspell a name or a fact stated that is not in evidence, the Rambler get phone calls, emails and even edited copies of the newspaper sent in the mail. If you want to read about the reasons Irving Taxpayers Matter filed a lawsuit, we have made our article available before the paywall so there will be not cost.

Are you more likely to believe a business owner, an accountant and a builder, or a person who once proposed Irving voters elect his dog as mayor?

 

John Starkey

Publisher – Rambler Newspapers