Last night at the March meeting of the Park Cities Republican Women at the Biblical Arts Museum, across the street from NorthPark Center, two media executives discussed what they are doing to bring unbiased news to their readers. About 100 people turned out to listen to Konni Burton, former state senator and founder and CEO of the Austin-based Texan, and Monty Bennett, chairman and CEO of the hotel company Ashford Inc. and founder and CEO of the Dallas Express. The title of the evening’s program: “The Media: How Do We Know What to Believe?”
It was a lively discussion all around. Early on, Bennett explained why he’d resurrected the Dallas Express, a newspaper title with a long history in Dallas, now an online outlet that Bennett said has 50,000 subscribers.
“I thought that our community really needs the news,” he said. “I want to be able to pull up and read the news. And the rest of the news is so far left. They won’t even acknowledge it. They’re probably here. They’ll take whatever I say and go print something that’s nasty about me and twist something. You guys have all seen it. It’s happened to me a hundred times. They’ll take something out of context or just the worst thing and put in the worst way. And you know what? We’re all just sick of it. We’re just sick of it. We just want the news, and that’s what we print. You want the news? That’s what we got.”
Bennett’s remarks drew applause. He got an even more enthusiastic response from the audience when he told a personal story. Toward the end of the hour-long presentation, the two executives were asked by the moderator, “How do you trust the media?” Burton went first, beginning her answer with a hearty “I don’t!” followed by a big laugh. When it was his turn, Bennett answered the question and then told a story about what he’d witnessed in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021:
“You don’t trust the media. I wouldn’t. Find those media sources that you feel like you can trust and that deliver the news to you. There are a number of sources on the left and right that I just won’t read anymore because I caught them in just flat-out lies.
“One of the easiest filters for me was January 6. I was there. I know what happened. You can’t tell me what happened on January 6. I was from here to that wall [points at a wall] from the Capitol steps for two hours, along with my wife and some other friends. So many news publications came out with the most outlandish, outrageous stories.
“I’ll tell you what’s fascinating, though, is that after I heard Trump’s speech—and we left it early because it was so blah. Telling people, you know, to go storm anything. That’s ridiculous. You can read his speech online. It says nothing of the sort.
“So we left early and walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, and I specifically was looking for reporters. This was one of the largest gatherings in the history of D.C. There were hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. You notice the news has never said how many people were there. Not one, ever, anywhere. They know. The government knows. But they’ve never said because they don’t want to acknowledge that Trump had so much support. And a lot of my friends that are conservative don’t support Trump, and that’s fine, too. But the point is that we were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. I looked and I looked and I looked. And I could not find one reporter, one news truck, anything from any outlet. Someone told me later that they saw a Fox News person somewhere. And then at the very, very end, I saw some folks with Newsmax over here doing a little videoing. But I looked for ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, on down to the New York Times—nowhere.
“Now why would they not send reporters to one of the largest events in our nation’s capital history? It’s very simple. They already had the story. Why would they need to send people?
“When Sarah and I walked back and we turned on the TV and we see all of this drama and everything, we were stunned, and we couldn’t believe how different they were portraying what actually happened there on the Capitol. Yes, there’s a few people that goofed around and did some things, but what they didn’t tell you is that the cops teargassed us. We’re just standing there, singing the National Anthem or something, and the cops started teargassing us. They moved the barricades. I saw with my own eyes. They had no security up there. They had five cops trying to guard these stairs for 500,000 people. That’s not their standard security. The whole thing was bogus. It was just a big setup.”
At that point, a woman in the audience interrupted to ask, “Have you written that story?”
Bennett replied, “No, I haven’t written that story.”
“It’s a great story,” the woman said.
“Thank you. Thank you. And it’s so ridiculous,” he continued. “But what it did is it flushed out all the phonies. All the news networks that published all that trash? It’s easy for me to say, ‘No more, no more, no more, no more.’ Because it just wasn’t the truth. And I think another reason is that—why would the editors send their reporters? Because there are reporters on the left side of the aisle that try to tell the story right. There definitely are, and these editors, who were getting their marching orders from their corporate masters or whatever, they didn’t need a reporter saying, ‘Hey, hey, don’t put that. That’s not what happened.’ Right? They didn’t need that grief. They had their stories. Why have any reporters that are going to say something different?
“But I would love if anybody ever knows or could document any reporters that actually were there. And you also notice that you never see any videos of the whole crowds. They’ll never show that because they don’t want to show how popular Trump was. OK, he got millions and millions of votes. No matter what you feel about the election and the integrity, he still got tens of millions of votes. He’s obviously quite popular. But anyway, it’s just this nutty narrative.
“So anyway, that’s a way that I used to just eliminate a whole bunch of news sources and some rightwing sites I’ve caught in some lies and won’t listen to them. And now I just read the Dallas Express and the Texan.”
At that, the audience laughed and clapped.
Here is the audio of Bennett’s anecdote: