Saturday, December 23, 2017

Star-Telegram Embarrassing Fort Worth Dallas Rivalry Editorial

A few days ago in a blog post mention was made of a study commissioned by Fort Worth to try and find out why the town is so backwards.

That is my paraphrasing use of the backwards word. The articles about this study which appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, rather than use the word "backwards", used words like 'identity crisis" and "fallen behind".

The blogging about this serious subject was titled Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis.

The Dallas Morning News got wind of the fact that Fort Worth is trying to figure out why it is so backwards, falling behind, with an identity crisis, which led to an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News titled One reason Fort Worth's lagging Dallas: Billions invested with public transit. This opinion piece was written by former Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Mitch Schnurman.

This then led to the Star-Telegram having its own opinion piece, in the form of an editorial, which, in typical Star-Telegram fashion, is clueless, embarrassing and sort of funny, in its, well, cluelessness.

The Star-Telegram's one semi-good reporter, Bud Kennedy, then posted about the Mitch Schnurman column on Facebook, which then generated a lot of interesting comments, many of which indicated quite clearly that not all Fort Worth natives are clueless about their town's problems and Dallas.

For example, two comments in the Bud Kennedy Facebook thread about this subject...

Sunni Roppolo The “Dallas rivalry” is so stupid and the only people that perpetuate it are Ft Worth residents! I’ve never understood why it’s an issue. Our friends that live in Dallas never badmouth FW yet all I hear is how terrible Dallas is all the time. Live where it makes sense and be nice! (Ft Worth native here)

Christopher D. Kratovil Interesting column by a good writer. To me, this is the money paragraph: “Fort Worth is home to two Fortune 1000 companies. But Dallas has 17 Fortune 1000 headquarters, Irving has nine, Plano has six and Richardson has two, according to the report.”

The Dallas bashing, as reflected in the Star-Telegram, perplexed me soon upon my arrival in Texas. I soon was to learn this bizarre civic pathology had a long history, dating way back to the 1800s when a Dallas reporter visited Fort Worth and then returned to Dallas to opine that Fort Worth was so sleepy he saw a Panther sleeping on the city hall steps. Or some such thing. This triggered the Fort Worth neurotic over compensating  civic inferiority complex which continues to this day, with Fort Worth thinking it is really showing Dallas what's what by naming this and that ridiculous thing with the "Panther" label. For example, in this century America's Biggest Boondoggle eventually came to be named the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, where you will find an imaginary island named after that sleepy Panther, along with a brewery, an ice rink and an imaginary pavilion on that imaginary island, all named Panther.

Okay, now that aforementioned insipid Star-Telegram editorial about this subject. The editorial is titled Forget it Dallas. We aren’t sitting at the kiddies table.

Let's all take a look at some choice bits from this editorial...

If ever Fort Worth has wondered whether Dallas is paying attention to us, we need wonder no more.

Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News devoted an editorial and a column to our city image versus that of Dallas. That’s a lot of journalistic real estate, and we want to thank Big D’s paper of record for considering us worthy of so much attention.

Oh yes, I imagine there are thousands of Fort Worth people wondering if Dallas is paying any attention to Fort Worth, what with there being so much to pay attention to, you know, things like worrying about a town encouraging its people to get wet in an e.coli contaminated river. But, now, those wondering if Dallas is paying attention need wonder no more, because the Dallas Morning News devoted a column to comparing the Fort Worth image to the Dallas image. Oh, and Fort Worth's sad excuse for a newspaper of record wants to thank Big D's actual newspaper of record for deigning to supposedly give Fort Worth attention with this one little column.

How pathetic can a newspaper get?

Let's take a detour here and focus on one aspect of Fort Worth's image problem, or more accurately, lack of an image problem. Last night I was watching YouTube news videos and it struck me how often the talking heads have some town's iconic image behind them, identifying where the talking head is talking from, without needing to identifying the town.

Ever seen such a news clip with a Fort Worth identifying image in the background? Nope. You have not, Hence one aspect of both Fort Worth's image problem on the national/international stage, and one reason for Fort Worth's obvious inferiority complex as related to Dallas, because a news clip with a talking head can appear with a recognizable Dallas background, because, like the Dallas Morning News column mentioned, Dallas has international recognition, for multiple reasons, including being the subject of what once was the world's most popular TV show, which showed the Dallas skyline to the world every time the show aired.

Can you imagine a prime time TV show called Fort Worth, with the opening credits zooming in on the downtown Fort Worth skyline? Zooming over the Heritage Park eyesore, trying to catch a glimpse of teeny Sundance Square Plaza sponsored by Nissan? Hence one of many reasons for Fort Worth's image problem complex.

And now this from the Star-Telegram editorial...

Fort Worth is nobody’s little brother. The people who live here are the city’s biggest fans.

We love Cowtown’s western history, its first-class arts district and a lively downtown filled with people day and night.

The people who live in Fort Worth are the town's biggest fans? How is this determination made? Fort Worth has fans outside of Fort Worth who are lesser fans? But those who live in the town are its biggest fans? And these fans love Fort Worth's western history, its first class arts district and a lively downtown filled with people day and night?

Fort Worth loves its western history so much that much of the Fort Worth Stockyards is a poorly maintained mess. Such as the New Isis Theater eyesore. Ever been to the Stockyards at night? Fort Worth's only actual tourist attraction is in dire need of a lighting upgrade. The Star-Telegram needs to get over attaching the "first-class" and "world-class" label to this that or the other thing in Fort Worth. As for the downtown being lively. Downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year, due to the downtown's lack of the stores people shop in in other town's downtown's. Anyone who thinks downtown Fort Worth is lively day and night must have never been to any other big city downtown to think such a thing. Or the Star-Telegram assumes its few readers have never been to a thriving big city's downtown and thus do not know any better.

And then the Star-Telegram editorial spews some more embarrassing nonsense, further documenting the town's, well, the town's sad excuse for a newspaper's, Dallas neuroses...

The DMN editorial fairly mentioned as have we that consultants noted, “Fort Worth struggles with establishing visibility and name recognition, especially in comparison to Dallas,” and “Fort Worth appears to be on its way to becoming a suburb of Dallas County.”

Those pronouncements generated an outpouring of vitriol from Star-Telegram readers angered by the suggestion of secondary status:

“We live in Fort Worth because it’s not Dallas-like,” said one.

“Fort Worth has the most wonderful small town feel for such a large city. I love it and am thrilled it is so different from Dallas,” said another.

Finally: “Don’t Dallas my Fort Worth.”

The above is the type thing which is perplexing to newcomers to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, that being the Fort Worth attitude, expressed by what one can hope is a small minority, that there is something dire different about Dallas, that Fort Worth thankfully is not.

Fort Worth has a small town feel? For such a large city? Yes, it is true, most small towns do not have large department stores in their downtown's, just like Fort Worth. Many do, unlike Fort Worth, have grocery stores in their downtown's though. Most small towns downtown's are not ghost towns on the busiest shopping day of the year, so, really, how does Fort Worth have a small town feel? Such a sentiment may sound good, I guess, but it makes no sense.

Yes, it is true, Fort Worth is not Dallas-like in many ways. Dallas has a modern public transit system, including the nation's most miles of light rail. Dallas had a Trinity River Vision before Fort Worth copied the concept, except in Dallas the voters were allowed to vote on the project, while Fort Worth voters were not allowed to do so. The Dallas Trinity River Vision saw three actual signature bridges, two of which have been actually built, over actual water. While Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision lost its signature bridges and replaced them with three simple little bridges which are proving difficult to build over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Yes, it is true, Dallas is not Fort Worth. I suspect the people of Dallas, if they ever actually think about it, are content their town is not like Fort Worth. I suspect most big cities in America are content they are not like Fort Worth....

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