Dale Hansen: 'This decision was the wrong decision'

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by DALE HANSEN / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on April 13, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 15 at 9:55 PM

That story we had earlier tonight about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, if that's what it is (and our news director thinks it is), is yet another example of the decline of journalism as we once knew it.

Our business now, too many times, is a fat kid in a T-shirt in his mother's basement, eating Cheetos and writing his blogs — and we make it news.

Jerry Jones in a bar, being Jerry Jones, is not news to me. And the fact that some creep slides up to Jones, records the conversation without Jones knowing, then tries to sell that recording — and that becomes news — is an embarrassment to us all.

Cowboys public relations director Rich Dalrymple says it's the world we live in.

I don't want to be a part of that world.

The news director, the assistant news director and I talked about it earlier today. I said I wouldn't do the story; they decided to do it anyway, saying it wasn't an easy choice, but a choice they had to make.

Their position was, Jones is a public figure, and the story's already out there, so we had to do it, too.

That's the standard now. Public figures are fair game, and our game is reduced to following the lead of others.

No one wants to lead anymore; everyone wants to follow. And this "public figure" argument rings hollow, too.

This station, and every station in America, always uses the argument about "public figures" when they run some of these ridiculous, embarrassing stories — unless it's one of their "public figures."

The bad stories, the embarrassing stories, about some of the most powerful people in this town — the stories about the people who come into your home every night at 6 and 10 — those stories somehow never see the light of day, unless one of the other stations decides to (and sometimes, they do).

News anchors who commit suicide "passed away during the night."

News anchors posing for pictures with drug dealers are cropped out of the shot so a Cowboys player can be shown.

It's a slippery slope we're on, and we've been sliding downhill a long time now because no one wants to lead anymore... everyone wants to follow.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."

The news management here had that opportunity. And while better than most on most days, on this day... this decision was the wrong decision.

E-mail dhansen@wfaa.com

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