There’s a little group of people in town which styles itself the CRG (Citizens for Representative Government). They’ve risen to the surface again recently, this time to thunder their opposition to the Renner consolidation which goes before the voters on April 2. Their opposition is not in itself surprising. In fact, it’s barely interesting. When talking of the CRG, you don’t have to know what initials stand for to know what the group stands against; practically any new idea which happens to emanate from the direction of downtown is suspect in the minds of the CRG. (The CRG says the Renner consolidation will hurt inner city development. How the new tax dollars to be generated by development in Renner can hurt the inner city – which finds itself in desperate need of new tax dollars – is unexplained.)

No, the surprise isn’t their opposition, but the attention their opposition receives. If you’re interested in learning the fine art of self-promotion, you should join the CRG for free lessons. That is, if you can join. That’s the point that interests me: who are these people? Whom do they represent? How do they decide on issues like Renner, by committee or membership vote? Do they have a membership? Where do they keep it?

It almost seems that anyone with an organizational title and a press release can make it to the front page of the local section. Only slow learners write letters to the editor anymore. The smart crowd pays $10 to a printer, types a press release, and obtains instant importance, bestowed by a harried assistant city editor who needs five quick paragraphs to wrap around a photo of this year’s potato queen. (The unfortunate problem is, even the potato queen is a fake. No kidding. She was invented by Dallasite Lloyd Birdwell, Jr., a few years ago when he decided his girlfriend, Jean Craver, deserved some newspaper space. He created the American Potato Institute, printed a letterhead, and sent a press release on said letterhead to the Dallas News and Times Herald, accompanied by a black and white glossy. A few days later Jean’s picture and Lloyd’s press release appeared, unedited.)

Which goes to show that whatever the CRG is, it is not dumb in its public relations. Few people realize that the demand for a fair and unbiased press has created its own kind of distortions. A reporter is supposed to give equal weight to both sides of a question. But say all the facts are on one side, what’s a newspaper to do? When unable to give equal weight, a newspaper usually compensates by giving equal space. The reader is left with an impression that both sides have an equal case. In the name of fair and objective journalism, the weight of evidence is displaced, and the innocent reader is misled. (D Magazine follows the accepted norm: you’ll find CRG spokesman Don Fielding quoted extensively in our Renner article in this issue. Now that I think of it, Fielding is the only CRG spokesman I’ve ever heard quoted or even mentioned.)

I don’t claim the present system is so bad, only that it could be better. We live in a world where appearances seem to matter more than substance, and success seems to be measured less by the quality of one’s thought than by the thickness of one’s press clippings. When press clippings are so easily manufactured, even in the promulgation of bad ideas, success is simple, even cheap. But what about the facts? What about the substance of things, with its real causes and its very real effects? These are left for the reader to ferret for himself, finding his own sources of light to scatter shadows like the CRG. With the Renner issue that will be easy. It’s all the other issues that bother me.

By the time this issue arrives in your home, the final proofs of another magazine will be on their way from our offices to the printer. It’s a magazine far different in scope or coverage from anything we’ve ever tackled. I’m proud to announce that on or about April 7th the first issue of our new sister publication, Texas Homes, will make its debut on newsstands across the state.

This new project for our relatively young company was headed up by Ann Richardson, who until now has been circulation director of D Magazine. She’s now associate publisher and editor of Texas Homes, which begins quarterly publication with its second edition later this summer. Take a hint from someone on the inside, and pick up a copy of this first issue when you see it on the newsstand. Architectural Digest and House Beautiful, move over.

A word of welcome this month to Pat Crone, who is better introduced by the layout and design of this issue’s features and departments. Pat is the new art director of D Magazine, responsible for placing in coherent form the barely discernible scribbles of a horde of reporters, contributors and editors. Her extensive background includes art director positions with Revlon and Fabergé in New York and Unlimited Concepts in Dallas. Even though she’s been on the job only a few weeks, Pat has already begun to get things in shape around the editorial department, which is a dangerous – and hopeful – sign. If you’re a photographer or illustrator interested in seeing your work appear in D Magazine, drop off your portfolio or call Pat at our offices. Pat’s addition is one more step forward in our efforts to bring our readers the best in Dallas/ Fort Worth.


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