Clueless in Cowtown
A tip of Static’s dented cowboy hat to The Dallas Morning News for its recent series of articles revealing DynCorp’s corrupt and downright creepy way of doing business.
Too bad North Texas’ other major daily has pulled its hat over its eyes for years, even when a major branch of DynCorp was situated right here in Cowtown. DynCorp is an outsourcing company that sends security personnel, mechanics, technical workers, and many others to dodgy locales such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Colombia. Some of those workers take their careers and lives in their hands by whistle-blowing on the company’s many misdeeds. Five years ago, Fort Worth Weekly readers were told all about DynCorp turning a blind eye to sexual slavery among some of its workers (“To Bosnia With Lust,” Dec. 6, 2001). It seemed strange that Fort Worth Star-Telegram ignored the company’s wrongdoings. Perhaps its bosses have been distracted, what with trying to maximize profits, shorten stories, and make format changes to win the hearts of younger readers, whom the paper apparently regards as attention-deficit-disordered narcissistic MTV stoners who don’t care about the world around them unless it is delivered in sound-bite form and preferably involves an anorexic celebrity, the Dallas Cowboys, or a sensationalized accident or crime.
A poet once said that craftsmen borrow, but artists steal. The level of artistry in the broadcast news offices of KXAS-TV/Channel 5 is through the roof, then: On Jan. 5, their 6 p.m. news show featured a story called “Soul Food Surge,” in which reporter Brett Johnson referred to the “soul food mecca” of black-owned restaurants developing on Horne Street in Fort Worth’s Como neighborhood. Perhaps holiday partying has fogged the memory, but seems like a local weekly ran a cover story Dec. 20 headlined “Como’s Cookin’” on exactly the same topic. Johnson might as well have stood before the camera with a Fort Worth Weekly in hand, reciting excerpts. Truth be told, journalists appropriate ideas from each other all the time, and Static is thrilled that the independent business owners of Como are getting more exposure. And we’re assuming the wire service check is in the mail from Channel 5.
So, you’re staring at a contract that just arrived in your mailbox from one of the local gas drilling companies. They seem to be offering free money – and shoot, the well site’s a mile away. What could it hurt? You pick up the pen … .
Stay, stay thy hand, says the other half of your mind (which always sounds somewhat Shakespearian). What about all the noise and traffic and ecological risks that seem to come with these wells? What am I signing away? What’s the real deal here?
To your rescue rides the League of Women Voters of Tarrant County. On Thursday – perhaps the very day you have picked up this paper – the League and several local groups are co-sponsoring a public forum on the topic. A driller, a city official, and an academic will make up the panel . … Hmmm, let’s hope plenty of Jane Citizens are there with uncomfortable, pointy questions. It’s at 7 p.m. at the Intermodal Transportation Center, at 9th and Jones streets.