Editor’s note: this post was altered after it was published. For an explanation, go here.
I’m going to relay some information to you, and I’m going to be careful about how I do it. This information is about a new online publication in town called the Dallas Express. Its publisher is a man named Monty Bennett. When the site launched, Bennett wrote in a note to readers that his publication is all about the truth, facts, no bias. The first two paragraphs from Bennett:
Truth has become a casualty in today’s media world. News has become a vessel to promote favored world views, and objectivity has been sacrificed. There are many publications in our wonderful city, but none we can count on daily to present just the facts. Readers can’t pick up a local publication without seeing bias in one direction or the other.
I can’t take it anymore — and I know many of you can’t either. The Dallas Express was created for one purpose; to help make our city a better place. That’s it. It’s a nonprofit operation and there’s no other agenda.
So here are some factual statements stripped of any bias.
The copy editors at the Dallas Express missed on that semicolon. It should read: “The Dallas Express was created for one purpose: to help make our city a better place.”
Monty Bennett is a wealthy hotelier. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Ashford (NYSE: AINC) and the founder and chairman of Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT) and Braemar Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: BHR). D Magazine profiled him in 2016. An excerpt: “He is CEO of the Ashford Group, a set of private and publicly traded companies that invest in, develop, and manage hotel properties. It’s one of the top 20 players in that industry in the country, with more than 130 properties around the world and $6 billion in assets.”
D Magazine wrote on its blog in October 2020 about a New York Times investigation that revealed that Bennett was involved with a dubious journalism effort in which he requested articles to burnish the image of his company after it had taken heat for accepting millions in government assistance after the pandemic hit.
Shortly after that post, Dallas City Wire, a site run by Metric Media, which the New York Times accused of being a pay-to-play operation, wrote a story in which Bennett accused D Magazine of being a pay-to-play operation. The story included the following line: “Bennett, who knew the magazine’s recently deceased publisher Wick Allison, said the magazine has deteriorated since his death.”
D Magazine has never published editorial that was paid for and controlled by an advertiser.
For a wealthy hotelier, Bennett looks comfortable (and good) in a t-shirt.
Bennett recently launched the aforementioned Dallas Express, a title that until the mid-1970s served a newspaper that was an important voice in Dallas’ Black community. In its launch, Bennett wrote a letter from the publisher that was a sanctimonious piece of crap about how his publication is all about the facts and the facts only and how he was going to serve Dallas.
On February 21, Dallas Express published a story about a Minnesota-based biotech company called ExoStat Medical and its MicroTrend System, “a small sensor placed inside the mouth that detects pCO2 (partial pressure carbon dioxide) in the oral mucosal tissue and identifies tissue hypoperfusion when it first occurs.” According to the story, ExoStat’s president is a man named Jim Hays, who lives in Dallas. The only source mentioned in the story about a device that “may save millions of lives” is Hays.
ExoStat, on its own website, spells its president’s name as both Hayes and Hays. But his full bio on the site identifies him as James R. Hays Jr., a gas man who sold a company in 1991 and left business to play professional golf on the senior U.S. and European tours until 1999. That is awesome.
The president and CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust, a senior managing director of Ashford, and a board member of Ashford Trust is a man named J. Robison Hays III. Hays III appears to be the son of Hays Jr. Public records associate their names with the same past address in Arizona and in other parts of the country.
If you were the chairman of a hotel company and, as publisher of an agenda-free news outlet purporting to serve Dallas, you caused to be published a glowing story about a Minnesota biotech firm because that firm’s president was the father of a managing director of your hotel company — that would be gross. And unethical. And stupid. But not illegal.
Here are the communication channels I have explored since Monday for clarity on the above facts, all of them unsuccessful: email to Bennett at an address I’ve used previously to communicate with him; message left with professional human at Ashford; email to Dallas Express; message left with machine at Dallas Express; email sent to ExoStat. The writer of the Dallas Express story, by the way, is a woman named Mary Lou Lang, who, according Twitter, lives in New Jersey and who, according to this bio, has written for the Daily Caller, a publication founded by Tucker Carlson, a disgusting dumbface who has actively worked to undermine our republic.
Let’s see. Did I miss anything? Nope. That’s it.