Dallas Police Chief vs. Dallas Morning News
Last Saturday, Dallas Morning News City Hall reporter Scott Goldstein praised two of his colleagues for a police training story and noted that “as is often the case,” the city’s police chief “did not respond to request for comment.”
Chief David O. Brown tweeted in response that he works “really well” with most reporters who cover the department, and added that “I don’t care for being called an asshole and cocksucker though by the Belo folks.” (The News is owned by A.H. Belo.) He then apologized for posting the vulgarities and said that “a better choice would have been to just continue to ignore these reporters …I shouldn’t have referenced the curse words Senior Dallas Morning News reporter Tanya Eiserer called me.”
On Tuesday afternoon, I asked the chief’s office and the News about this apparent feud. The police department didn’t respond, but the News forwarded an email that editor Bob Mong sent to Brown last night:
From: Mong, Bob
Sent: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 7:54 PM
To: Brown, David
Subject: Re: Fw: 2013 Crime Summary as of 1/7/14
Dear Chief Brown,
Thanks for sending the power point with your year end crime report. It’s in the hands of our reporters.
I also wanted also to discuss the Twitter exchange you made over the weekend about our staff. I was deeply disappointed by what you said, the timing of the remarks and want to clarify the facts./CONTINUES
In your original tweet, you said: “I don’t care for being called an (expletive) and (expletive) though by the Belo folks.’ In a subsequent email to Vocative.com, you said, “I used curse words in the above tweet in reference to senior Dallas Morning News reporter Tanya Eiserer calling me those words while in my office at police headquarters in front of other officers and reporters. As a result I will not interview with her because of her unprofessional conduct.”
Chief, you know the original incident occurred more than two years ago. It did not occur in your office, or within your hearing, but rather outside your office, in a common area where you were scheduled to hold a press conference, but had not yet appeared. Tanya spoke the words under her breath, but audibly, after she learned that your public affairs staff had turned a story that she believed was hers exclusively into the subject of an announcement to which all local media were invited.
You know that she promptly apologized for her unprofessional remarks, and several of our editors – me included – met with you to discuss the situation. We also expressed regret for her comments. You indicated at the time that you could accept her apology, and that would be able to work with her professionally in the future.
In my December meeting with you, Chief, I urged that you sit down with our reporters on a regular basis. More strongly than ever, I would encourage you to do this. To keep stoking a two-year-old remark doesn’t serve anyone’s interests.
Bob Mong, editor