DMN admits being misled by Leppert over Tollroad

It’s a rare admission of error on the DMN‘s part: “This newspaper — and likely plenty of voters — took leaders at their word when they proclaimed that the highway could be built in the floodway. While that may not be false, it wasn’t necessarily true…Proponents of the toll road, it seems, heard what they wanted to hear.”

It’s all over now, of course, since there appears to be no funding on the horizon for the expensive, controversial and engineering-nightmare of a project. And it’s not like this is the first time that a politician has misled the public; we have to look no further than U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner just this week to be reminded of that.

And as the DMN rightly points out in its editorial, admirably not behind the newspaper’s paywall, the lingering damage from this may well be that the incident will “shake some people’s confidence in city government. And the next time elected officials say, ‘Trust us,’ voters may not.” I suspect that would definitely have been the case with the convention center hotel vote months later.

But the bigger problem with this issue, as a number of BackTalk readers and the online reader comments on the DMN editorial bluntly point out, is that the DMN wasn’t an honest broker in the Trinity discussion. In fact, the newspaper was pimping the Tollway just as much as the supposed city “leaders” were, and that’s the main reason Leppert and others were able to get away with misleading voters — it wasn’t in the DMN‘s interest to find the real facts related to the Tollway because the paper had already come down hard in favor of the project, and against opponent Angela Hunt, so many times and so stridently.

It doesn’t seem fashionable anymore in journalism, and it doesn’t seem to be appreciated or expected, but we’re here for one reason: To give readers and viewers fair and (as much as humanly possible) unbiased information and to encourage the readers and viewers to make up their own minds.

That’s not anywhere close to what happened with the Trinity Tollroad discussion, thanks to the DMN’s love affair with Leppert.


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