A few days ago, Jim Schutze embarrassed himself by cooking up a conspiracy theory to explain a Dallas Morning News editorial that came out in support of the Nasher Sculpture Center in its efforts to mitigate the glare and heat reflecting off Museum Tower. He got more than one important detail very wrong, most notably that Lucy Billingsley and the Crow family have an interest in Museum Tower. Today, Schutze offers his latest theory. Over on Unfair Park, he implies that I’ve taken the side of the Nasher because my wife’s PR firm did work for the museum more than a year ago. He says I should have disclosed that fact when I wrote the first story about reflectivity problem in May:
What Rogers has neglected to share directly with his readers — something he still denied to me this morning even after his wife admitted it — is that his wife, Christine Rogers, is part-owner of a public relations firm called SparkFarm that has represented the Nasher in the past and still lists the Nasher as a “current client” on its web page.
As I said in the comments to his post, Schutze’s email to me asked, “When did you plan on telling readers that the p.r. firm of which your wife is part-owner represents the Nasher?”
I wrote back to Schutze: “As you’ve by now no doubt discovered, Jim, SparkFarm doesn’t represent the Nasher. Neither am I related to Lucy Billingsley or the Crow family. But Jim Moroney is Catholic and I am Catholic, and if you ever happen to see the two of us meet at, say, a cocktail party, if you look closely, you’ll notice that we engage in an odd handshake.”
As Schutze knows, there’s a material difference between having done work for somebody and representing somebody. As I have learned from reading Schutze’s post, SparkFarm worked for the Nasher between March and May of 2011. The problem with Museum Tower did not manifest itself until September 2011. I didn’t learn about it until January 2012, when I happened to be in the garden and noticed the glare.
Should I have disclosed in the story I wrote in April 2012 that my wife’s firm did work for the Nasher a year prior? Schutze thinks I should have. As a matter of practice, though, when I begin a writing project, I don’t do a conflict-of-interest check with my wife, asking her if, in the past year, she has worked for anyone involved with the story I’m reporting.