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OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South July 25, 1975 500 A salute to The Dallas Morning News Austin In the past, when the Observer has chosen to award one of its Joe Pulitzer Salutes to a worthy Texas newspaper, the salutation has been touched off by a particular, outstandingly awful issue of the paper in question. This Joe Pulitzer Salute is offered in a different spirit. It is the result of five years of reading The Dallas Morning News. Every single day, folks. Five years of close association with any institution, unless it is something like Hitler’s SS, will give one a proprietary feeling about it. It’s rather like making an ill-advised marriage with an antipathetic spouse: you can always get a divorce, but you’ve still got five years of your life invested in the relationship. Willy-nilly, you come to develop an affection for the thing not because you like it, but simply because you know it so well. We have come to take an almost maternal pride in the News’ slivers of excellence. We positively beam upon Earl Golz, a fine investigative reporter. We rejoice when Dave McNeely comes up with a hard-ass, putting-it-all-together piece on a situation we’ve all been aware of for some time, but have only seen covered in bits and pieces. We think Carolyn Barta has Dallas politics taped. Sam Kinch, Jr., and Stewart Davis not infrequently come out as the toughest mother-lovers covering the state capitol. And, as the News’ own house ads would remind us, the paper does carry “Funky Winkerbeam” on its comics page. But, folks, that’s the DMN a journalism review would describe to you, noting here a good reporter, there a fine series, an inch of progress, a pinch of change, and drumming up a lot of unfounded hope that creature will come to resemble The New York Times in about six months. OUR DMN is the old DMN. A DMN uninfected by transitory gleams of journalistic excellence. She’s a cantankerous, unapologetic, un-reformed, gen-yew-wine retrograde, reactionary, shove-it-up-your-hmm-hmm newspaper, she is, indeed. If she has a tragic aspect, it’s that her own best reporters don’t appreciate her properly. They tend to think of her as bound by mere boosterism, crippled by small-mindedness, and such like run-of-the-mill, tiddly-wink, diddly-squat, middle-class considerations. Pouf, we say. A pox upon such shallow analyses. The Dallas Morning News STANDS for something. That what she stands for hasn’t a tittle nor a jottle’s worth of redeeming social value is beside the point. There she stands. Like Hyman Rickover, Strom Thurmond, Richard J. Daley bad, in every sense of the word. Not just wrong wrong, a mere piffle but stubbornly, proudly, defiantly wrong. Wrong with class. She combines this splendid wrongness with if you can imagine such a thing splendid mediocrity. Some of the most mediocre mediocrity you could ever envision. The most meat-headed, shallow,