Joe Tone Is a Cotton-Headed Ninnymuggins

When Zac Crain wrote a story for our July issue about the new Observer editor, Joe Tone, I did something that I now regret. Zac’s first draft of the story pilloried the guy. The lead, running 500 words, did nothing but describe, in detail, the exact nature of Tone’s doughiness. Later in the story, Zac went on at length exploring possible reasons why Tone’s toenails were so unkempt (he wore sandals to the interview).

When I got that draft, I said, “No, Zac. I don’t think any of this personal stuff belongs in here. From what I’ve heard, Tone is an up-and-comer in the Village Voice Media chain. Let’s play this thing a little more straightforward and focus not on the man’s billy goat hooves but on the state of the Observer and how Tone’s appointment might affect the paper.” That’s the part I regret.

On Unfair Park today, Tone takes issue with some optimistic figures circulating about the economic impact of UNT’s new football stadium. Fair enough. These sorts of things are always up for debate. Tone makes some good points. But then he conflates the (to his mind) lazy reporting about the UNT football stadium with a one-page ditty we ran in our August issue about relocating Rangers Ballpark to downtown Dallas. One day we were sitting around the office, and someone said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the Rangers played downtown? We could walk to the game.” And then someone else said, “Let’s do some math and see if we could make it work.” Read the thing for yourself. This wasn’t reporting. It was a guesstigation.

After the kind treatment we gave Tone in July, this is the thanks we get? Well, the gloves are off now. I’ve entered Tone in our upcoming “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas” contest. Details coming soon.

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