When Paul Unger read the headline “Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, RIP,” he said he was shocked. He and his fellow musicians in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra had been on strike only for four days, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was already eulogizing the 104-year-old arts organization.
“No one at the Star-Telegram editorial board ever asked to speak to us to get our side of things,” he said. “It seems like they were rushing to judgment.”
The September 12 editorial, he added, was riddled with factual errors, including the number of full-time musicians the symphony employs, the musicians’ base salary, and others. Unger went on to say that the writers merely parroted FWSO management’s talking points without giving context and without fact checking any of management’s figures. Aside from the story’s mistakes and what he called the “clear bias” of the article, Unger believes the most egregious part was that the writer neglected to mention that the paper’s publisher, Gary Wortel, sits on the orchestra’s board. (The paper later added a clarification that admitted Wortel is on the board but stressed that he is not a part of the symphony’s 20-person executive committee that makes key decisions.)