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A Post About a Media Pissing Match That Only Seven People Want To Read

Seriously. This is ridiculous. You don’t care about it. For the other seven people, though, after the jump you can read about how Tod Robberson apparently got his feelings hurt and went running to his bosses to defend him against my mean-spirited, totally unfair, nasty, horrible attack.

A couple days ago, I lost my mind over something that DMN editorial writer Tod Robberson said about the proposed southern Dallas golf course. I launched a totally ad hominem attack on the guy. I admitted it was an ad hominem attack. I’ll let Keven Ann Willey take it from here. She runs the editorial board at the DMN. Here’s what she posted today on their blog:

So I ran into D Magazine’s Tim Rogers at Carol Reed’s annual holiday party last night. Tim noted to me that he figured I was unhappy about his blog post the other day about a colleague of mine.

He was right. I told Tim, in earshot of others, that I thought he owed Tod Robberson an apology, that what he’d posted about Tod was inaccurate, petty and just plain mean. … I told Tim that I thought such comments were beneath him.

Tim acknowledged that his comments were indeed “mean” but he didn’t acknowledge, at least not that I heard, their inaccuracy. He told me he wouldn’t apologize to Tod. That’s too bad. Tod deserves one; I thought better of Tim.

She also included in her post a defense of Robberson written by News editor Bob Mong, who wrote, “Rogers simply lies about Tod’s role on the Pulitzer project.” I will say here that the reason I was mean to Robberson was because he wrote something so patently stupid that it offended me. Here’s why he thinks the proposed golf course would generate economic development:

Stadiums and sports arenas attract the masses for a single visit. Fans rush to get a good parking spot. They spend their money on concessions inside the venue. When the event is over, they hurry to escape the crowds and get home.

The scene couldn’t be any more different from the atmosphere at a golf course. Everything in golf moves slowly. It is designed to be a peaceful, relaxing, leisurely experience amid beautiful, serene surroundings. These are times when the mind is most open to opportunities and possibilities.

Just cutting and pasting those words into this space again makes me want to come up with new and inventive insults for Tod Robberson. Anyway, here’s the response I offered on the DMN blog:

It was my understanding that everything at Carol’s parties was off the record unless explicitly stated otherwise. I thought I was having a private conversation with Keven. Or at least not a conversation intended for publication. (And, yes, I revealed on our blog that I met Steve Blow last night. But that’s different.) To get even with Keven for violating my trust, I am tempted to repeat here the joke she told me last night, the one about Robert Decherd and the rabbi. But that is beneath me.

Before I offer my rebuttal, let us revisit what I wrote about Tod Robberson. Here’s the part Keven thinks I should apologize for:

I was going to come in here this morning and savage Robberson; remind you that the guy thinks cars need to be defended against bicycles; let you know that I’ve talked to people who’ve worked with him and absolutely detest the fellow; make the observation that he shares his Pulitzer with two people, so the committee that decides the thing had no idea which writing samples were his, meaning the other two people probably won the award for him; and then, just for fun, point out that there’s probably not another Pulitzer winner who has fewer followers on Twitter (he has 123). I was going to go ad hominem and strong mayor all over Tod Robberson.

Then I read [Dallas Observer editor] Joe Tone’s post about Robberson. So measured. So succinct. So elegant in the way it lays out Robberson’s lazy, flawed thinking. And that’s when I decided that instead of letting my anger get the best of me, I should instead just point you to Tone’s post [link].

That’s mean, yes. It’s also tongue-in-cheek. Your clue here is that I did what I said I had decided NOT to do (let my anger get the best of me). Too, anytime a writer acknowledges his own ad hominem attack and further characterizes said attack as going “strong mayor,” a literal reading is ill-advised.

In any case, where is the inaccuracy? Robberson HAS defended cars against bicycles. That IS how the Pulitzer judging process works for group submissions. I HAVE talked to people who’ve worked with him, and that IS the impression they gave me. And that IS how many Twitter followers he has (still). Maybe you can call it inaccurate when I suppose that he rode his colleagues’ coattails to the Pulitzer, but it seems strange to call an insult inaccurate. It CERTAINLY wasn’t a lie. To lie, I have to know that I’m not telling the truth. I have no idea whether I’m telling the truth or not.

I’ll leave you with a final observation: if I were Tod Robberson, I would be deeply embarrassed by this post from Keven and the words from Bob Mong. Because it demonstrates that Robberson isn’t capable of defending himself. I would expect more of a man with a Pulitzer.