Alex Alvarado, a construction worker on a downtown project, grinned and flashed a thumbs-up sign as he walked past a small group of protesters today in front of the Dallas Morning News building on Young Street. “I was a Bernie supporter until Hillary beat him,” Alvarado said. “Now I’m for Trump.” With that he posed for a photo with the protesters, who were upset that The News had not just dissed the GOP presidential candidate editorially, but took the rare step of endorsing his Democratic opponent.
“I had subscribed to the Morning News for 20 years. They used to be conservative,” said Gina O’Briant, who organized the protest. “But by endorsing Hillary, they’re not representing the state. I feel they should stay out of politics if they can’t represent the people. So I had to cancel my subscription.” “I did too,” chimed in Kimberly Loyd. “I’d had it since the Dallas Times Herald went under. I even canceled my Mavericks tickets, because of Mark Cuban. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, Mark!”
The protesters said they were from groups including the Texas Women for Trump Coalition, Latinos for Trump, and Cubans for Trump. Tencia Ruiz and Tencha Rose Vasquez—Vasquez was holding up a big American flag behind her head—were eager to express their view that Donald Trump is not prejudiced against Mexicans. “He’s talking about everybody who’s here illegally, not just Mexicans,” Ruiz said. Added Vasquez: “We want to protect America.”
Jobs and the economy were much on the protesters’ minds. “It seems like so many highly educated people are losing their jobs,” said Christine Houchin. “Obama says the unemployment rate is lower than it’s ever been. That’s a joke! People have stopped looking for work.” Maylon Johnson nodded her head in agreement. “I voted Democrat all my life, but I’ve gotten educated on what is going on,” she said. “I’ve worked for AT&T for 27 years, but now my job is in jeopardy. Jobs like mine are going away, to contractors, because that’s cheaper for the company.”
O’Briant said representatives of The News had come out to talk with them earlier, including Mike Wilson, the editor, and that the journalists had listened to the group’s complaints and been very respectful. Heck, she added, Wilson even agreed with them that Hillary needs to be more transparent about her health.
The DMN editor confirmed O’Briant’s account and complimented the protesters. “I’m glad they said I was respectful. But I want to point out that they were, too,” Wilson wrote in an email. “They had strong opinions and asked pointed questions, but they weren’t disrespectful at all.
“Yes, I told one of them that Hillary Clinton needs to be more transparent about her health,” he went on. “As a journalist, I want the public to have better information about the health of both candidates. After all, Trump would be the oldest person ever inaugurated and Clinton would be second-oldest, behind Reagan.”
As for exactly how many people have canceled their News subscriptions over the Hillary endorsement—we’d heard the number 5,000 bandied about—Wilson declined to comment. “It’s fair to say that a lot of readers disagree with our recommendation and are letting us know it,” he wrote. Maybe that’s why today’s demonstration at The News building might not be a one-time thing. The protesters promised to be back in the same spot next Wednesday morning at 10:30.