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Accidental Houston Chronicle memo admits to tainting the news with political agenda
recieved in an email from a copy of the Chronicle website last Thursday ^ | houston chronicle memo

Posted on 11/25/2002 3:11:57 PM PST by GOPcapitalist

The following memo was accidentally posted on the Houston Chronicle website last Thursday morning for a couple of hours. It is an internal memo between the editorial page writers instructing a massive year long propaganda campaign to push a light rail referendum through next november. The memo was removed upon discovery but not before many people read it. The Houston Chronicle also printed a correction stating it had been accidentally posted, but not what it was about. This document is genuine and was copied from the Chronicle website in the hour or two it was online by somebody and has been circulated by email ever since. Rest assured, it IS genuine. I've verified it independently with three different people who read it on the site while it was up there during the same time. Here is the memo's full text as it appeared on Thursday night:

A Houston odyssey: DeLay, Lanier and light rail
Posted to HoustonChronicle.com Nov. 20,2002

Next November, voters in the city and across the Metropolitan Transit Authority service area will cast a truly important vote: They will decide whether Metro should be permitted to expand our rail rail system beyond the 7-mile South Main line.

There isn't a more critical issue on the horizon. I propose a series of editorials, editorial cartoons and Sounding Board columns leading up to the rail referendum, with this specific objective: Continuing our long standing efforts to make rail a permanent part of the transit mix here.

The timing, language and approach of the paper's editorials would, of course, be the decision of the Editorial Board. But I suggest that they could be built upon and informed by a news-feature package with an equally specific focus: Telling the story of rail here by examining the long term relationship of the two key players in the local transit wars -- Rep. Tom DeLay and former Mayor Bob Lanier. For better or worse, (mostly worse, I would argue) no two have had a more significant impact on transit decisions here. Our readers deserve to know how they've operated to fund and promote an anti-rail agenda for the past two decades. This would be vital information for voters as they come to their decision on rail. It would also be highly entertaining read.

We in Houston have our own version of the "Chinatown" story of the early 20th century Los Angeles, when the currency of power was water: Who controlled it; who received it; where it came from; and where it went at what price. Since World War II, Houston's currency has bee concrete-- millions of cubic yards poured for freeways.

DeLay and Lanier have been the two central characters in our local drama. This urban-suburban, Republican-Democrat odd couple is bound by the belief highways and poured concrete are the path to a profitable future for this area, and its converse--the belief that mass transit must be stopped in its tracks.

The broad elements of the news/features package could include:

? The story of how the Lanier-DeLay relationship began (in the early 1980's when Lanier was chairman of the state Hiway Commission and DeLay was a young congressman)

?Lanier the land man: Through his privately held Landar Corp., Lanier has long shown his prescience in purchasing land where roads would ultimately go. Where are his holdings? Specifically , where are his holdings along the Grand Parkway? How has he benefitted by the building of roads.

?DeLay's steady rise to power in Congress. How it come about and, more importantly, how it was funded (by the highway lobby).

?Lanier's rise to political power. His rift with former Mayor Kathy Whitmire that turned into a determination to run her off (he did and she was never heard from again); his controversial shifting of transit funds into the city budget in the much discussed "Metro transfer."

?Bob Lanier, public kingmaker. For almost a decade, the path to public office in Houston has wound through Lanier's den. Mayoral and City Council hopefuls, congressional candidates, would-be Texas Texas legislators and county commissioners--all come to kiss the great man's ring and bid for his approval. What is protocol? Who makes introductions? What is the quid-pro-quo? And, the $64 question: How has Lanier managed to promote himself as the patron saint of inner city Houston while working with DeLay to promote a relentlessly suburban/freeway/anti-rail funding agenda at all levels of government?

?Ground zero for November: The campaign led by DeLay and Lenier to defeat rail expansion. Who is doing the funding? What is the history of the San Antonio-based think tank doing the the research to discredit rail?

Any number of sidebar topics also come to mind:

?The Fort Bend mayors who are bucking DeLay and Lanier to bring commuter rail to the thousands of Fort Bend residents who work in the Medical Center.

?Laniers involvement in the lawsuit brought by former Houston Councilman Robb Todd to hold up the South Main light rail project.

?Elyse Lanier: From jewelry salesperson to Houston political insider.

?The Greater Houston Partnership and the clean-air saga. When the Environmental Protection Agency put clean-air deadlines on the Houston region in the early 1990's, the Partnership resisted mightily. The thinking was: We have the political connections in Washington--from George Bush and Bill Archer to DeLay and Lloyd Bentson-- to stall and stonewall until this all goes away. What went wrong? What was the Chronicle's role in supporting this approach?

?A primer on highway building, Houston style: Why the Southwest Freeway turned south and west rather than continuing due west (developer Frank Sharp had a hand in this).

?Why Texas highways have frontage roads (a key to economic development) in the first place. Sam Rayburn added them to the language in President Eisenhower's landmark legislation creating the Interstate Highway System in the 1950's. At whose bidding?

This is a story in urgent need of telling, and an editorial position of equal urgency. Voters deserve to know the history of how Houston came to be a city of freeways well before they decide about rail's future next November. They need to know who has wielded the power to pour concrete, who still wields it and to what lengths the concrete pourers will go in order to stop rail.


TOPICS: Front Page News; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: boblanier; downtowncronyism; fleecethepublic; houston; houstoncomical; lightrail; mayorbob; mediabias; propaganda; publicdollars; pullthestrings; puppetmaster; tomdelay
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Here's their retraction on their website:

"An internal Houston Chronicle document was mistakenly posted to the editorial/opinion area of the Web site early Thursday morning. We apologize for any confusion it may have caused." - http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/1672673

1 posted on 11/25/2002 3:11:57 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
It must have been a directive from Lee Brown's office. And yes Texas, Houston's that corrupt.
2 posted on 11/25/2002 3:14:45 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: Peacerose
Ping.
3 posted on 11/25/2002 3:17:33 PM PST by Jean S
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To: Flyer; PetroniDE; anymouse; Humidston; HoustonCurmudgeon
Houston bump!
4 posted on 11/25/2002 3:19:03 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
That the Carbuncle has been a cheerleader for the ludicrous transit projects is no surprise. It's wonderful to see them caught with their pants down, admitting that they slant the news to further one of their leftist causes.

Their lovely "project" is nothing more than a way to transfer money from the taxpayers' pockets to their favored few. It's theft, pure and simple.

Thanks for the post !!

5 posted on 11/25/2002 3:21:02 PM PST by jimt
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To: goldstategop
The Chronicle has always been corrupt. Check the released information from LBJ's late 1990s document dump.
6 posted on 11/25/2002 3:21:06 PM PST by weegee
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To: goldstategop
The funny part about the Houston Chronicle's never-ending support of rail and never-ending battle against highways is that Americans are more convinced now than ever that modern cars are superior to 19th century trains for solving most personal and commercial transportation issues...

In other words, the Leftists at the Chronicle have picked the side that will continue to make them less popular with the public at large.

Good riddance.

7 posted on 11/25/2002 3:22:42 PM PST by Southack
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To: GOPcapitalist
The "confusion" must have been, "Why is the Comical shooting straight and telling the real story behind their bias for once?".
8 posted on 11/25/2002 3:22:42 PM PST by weegee
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To: HoustonCurmudgeon; Flyer; Xenalyte; PetroniDE; antivenom
Ping to Houstonites.
9 posted on 11/25/2002 3:22:49 PM PST by BUSHdude2000
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To: goldstategop
It must have been a directive from Lee Brown's office

Based on all the typos I would tend to agree.

"The world is our oyster. We want to open it." - Mayor Lee P. Brown, 1/2/2002

10 posted on 11/25/2002 3:23:24 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: goldstategop
Any town that would elect David Dinkins' police chief....
11 posted on 11/25/2002 3:25:52 PM PST by NativeNewYorker
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To: GOPcapitalist
Damn...so much for objectivity. While publishers often direct the coverage of their papers, it's pretty rare when this kind of thing gets leaked that contains this sort of specific instructions on coverage. I wonder if this making onto the website was really an accident. Maybe it's some fed up writer blowing the lid off of what he thought was a bogus and biased assignment.
12 posted on 11/25/2002 3:26:27 PM PST by Brian Mosely
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To: GOPcapitalist
Liberals always want other people to ride the train. They want the freedom to drive their own vehicles while the unwashed masses crowd into cattle cars.
13 posted on 11/25/2002 3:26:29 PM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: GOPcapitalist; All
Light Rail- Boon or Boondoggle? The Quest for the Holy Rail....
14 posted on 11/25/2002 3:32:33 PM PST by backhoe
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
A couple of years ago there was a proposal being discussed to prohibit people from driving their car when they choose. Alternate ideas were to prohibit the use of the vehicle based on the lead off letter/number of the plate or to force companies to require that 25% or more of the workforce commute (by rail, bus, or carpool).
15 posted on 11/25/2002 3:36:17 PM PST by weegee
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To: Brian Mosely
Maybe it's some fed up writer blowing the lid off of what he thought was a bogus and biased assignment.

That was my suspicion too. They've already started to implement the memo anyway though. The first installment was in today's paper at http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1675912

We need to spread this memo far and wide so every future step can be anticipated.

16 posted on 11/25/2002 3:37:46 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: weegee
Sounds like a project right up the Gorebatross's alley.
17 posted on 11/25/2002 3:38:16 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: GOPcapitalist
There isn't a more critical issue on the horizon. I propose a series of editorials, editorial cartoons and Sounding Board columns leading up to the rail referendum, with this specific objective: Continuing our long standing efforts to make rail a permanent part of the transit mix here.

I once wrong a letter to the editor that if people want light rail, they can go to Hermann Park and ride the choo choo.

Needless to say, it didn't get printed.

"We're the Chronical, and we're the only game in town."

18 posted on 11/25/2002 3:39:53 PM PST by Liberal Classic
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: GOPcapitalist
Awesome investigative reporting! Congratulations to you Texas Freepers.

What I wouldn't give to read similar instructions like this from CNNCBSNBCABCNYTIMESWASHPOSTMSNBC (Drudge style), ording the massive distortion of news reporting we see.

You just know they exist.

20 posted on 11/25/2002 3:43:00 PM PST by friendly
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To: GOPcapitalist
I want to know who wrote the memo!
21 posted on 11/25/2002 3:43:08 PM PST by MAWG
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To: GOPcapitalist
I heard today that the wife of one of the Chronicle's senior editors is a lawyer handling Metro's attempts to force rail on the public. Sounds almost a bad as Daschle's wife grubbing in the public hog trough while little Tommy is filling it with tax dollars.
22 posted on 11/25/2002 3:43:40 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: Motherbear
Why did the original rail proposal "HAVE" to go to the old Union Station to use that at a switching house and gathering place for Houston and then when that failed the baseball park "HAD" to go in the old Union Station (which it did with considerable effort from Ken Lay, the vote to approve it's construction passed by 1% of the vote)?
23 posted on 11/25/2002 3:55:30 PM PST by weegee
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To: GOPcapitalist
The Comical gave Delay unfavorable press in their paper during the last election because of his opposition to the rail proposal.

This agenda extends into political campaigns. Expect negative press for any mayoral candidates who oppose it.

24 posted on 11/25/2002 3:59:55 PM PST by weegee
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: GOPcapitalist
Great news catch.

Light rail does not serve anyone who has to drop kids off to school before going to or from work. It will not serve anyone who has to run any errands after they get to work. Somebody driving a semi-truck can't use the light rail. I would be willing to bet that that total pretty near comes to at least 3/4's of the people who are on the highway during rush hour.

Most of these jounalists are probably in the 1/4 who might benefit by using a light rail system. We have a light rail in Dallas. Yeah, it's clean and it'll get you downtown all right. But, downtown is not where all the jobs are. Dallas is not Washington DC, where everyone lives in the suburbs and makes a mad dash to get to the Capitol. Our light rail is highly inefficiant because it does not address the traffic congestion going across town to the north of the city.

26 posted on 11/25/2002 4:11:39 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: GOPcapitalist
Wow. Good catch. I'm delighted that in spite of all their current and past efforts, Tom Delay remains extremely popular in his district. He is my favorite Congressman, wish the country had a coupla hundred more just like him.
27 posted on 11/25/2002 4:27:06 PM PST by Darlin'
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To: GOPcapitalist
Here's their retraction on their website:

"An internal Houston Chronicle document was mistakenly posted to the editorial/opinion area of the Web site early Thursday morning. We apologize for any confusion it may have caused." - http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/1672673

Confusion?
What "Confusion"?

28 posted on 11/25/2002 4:31:22 PM PST by Fiddlstix
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Anyone who thinks massive mass transit is a good idea for Houston, has never been to Houston - or works for the Chronicle.
29 posted on 11/25/2002 4:34:40 PM PST by D-fendr
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To: GOPcapitalist
>>Here's their retraction on their website:

"An internal Houston Chronicle document was mistakenly posted to the editorial/opinion area of the Web site early Thursday morning. We apologize for any confusion it may have caused." - <<

This is amazing. There is no denial of its authenticity - and absolutely no commentary on the revelation that they are as biased and partisan as a DNC branch office.

Somebody in the Houston area should write a letter back to them, saying "Al Queda wishes to apologize that it's internal memos, detailing planned terrorist acts the US, were inappropriately released by our IT guy, who has been executed. Please go back to believing that us Jihadists are full of non-partisan peace-loving sentiments for you and yours. Allah Ackbar."
30 posted on 11/25/2002 4:39:18 PM PST by ctonious
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To: GOPcapitalist; Peacerose
Is there any grist for your mill here.....?
31 posted on 11/25/2002 4:58:58 PM PST by bert
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To: GOPcapitalist; TheGrimReaper
Oh man... They got caught with their nasty little hands in the cookie jar this time, didn't they?? This should be posted on telephone poles all over the city!

(Course the Rats wouldn't believe it anyway. All they believe are corrupt Sugar Daddies!)
32 posted on 11/25/2002 5:12:31 PM PST by Humidston
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To: You Know Not The Hour; Dog Gone
I've moved out of town, but last I heard that rail just runs around downtown, basically. And the cost is astronomical. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

All I know is I'm SOOO glad I'm not in the city anymore! I moved where politicians are ACCOUNTABLE to the voters and wouldn't have Leepee Brown anywhere near here, LOL!

Dog Gone, read this if you haven't already been pinged!
33 posted on 11/25/2002 5:22:17 PM PST by Humidston
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To: GOPcapitalist
Am I missing something?
I like concrete.
I like my car too!
Don't like rail.
Call me weird.
34 posted on 11/25/2002 5:23:57 PM PST by BellStar
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To: GOPcapitalist
Unfortunately there is no competing paper to beat the drums on this.
35 posted on 11/25/2002 5:27:34 PM PST by wildbill
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To: GOPcapitalist
"We apologize for any confusion it may have caused."

They really mean: We regret any clarity it may have caused.

36 posted on 11/25/2002 5:30:10 PM PST by Plutarch
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
>>Liberals always want other people to ride the train. They want the freedom to drive their own vehicles while the unwashed masses crowd into cattle cars.

Bingo! I mean, I'm all for light rail - as long as I don't have to pay for it, and I don't have to ride it. I want that *other* guy to ride it, so the roads are more wide-open for me.
38 posted on 11/25/2002 5:43:46 PM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: D-fendr
Houston had a valid proposal (15 years ago) when there was a plan to link Bush Intercontinental Airport to the 3 "downtown" districts: Convention Center - Medical Center - Galleria (a loop between the 3 downtown areas with a line out to the airport).

We will never see anything motivated at keeping tourists/business travellers/patients out of rental cars because our $1.2billion in stadium spending comes heavily from car rental taxes (and hotel room taxes). Keeping those travellers out of cars denies the city needed revenue.

I live in Houston to live in Houston. I don't live in Houston to make it an attractive place for visitors. Any city government motivated at depriving me of my car at the same time they are trying to place out of towners in cars is not looking out for my interests.

Can the lot of them.

39 posted on 11/25/2002 6:00:39 PM PST by weegee
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To: Humidston
You may be out of the city but you're still paying for it. The Comical has gotten all huffy that Tom DeLay is blocking efforts to get federal funds for this project.
40 posted on 11/25/2002 6:02:59 PM PST by weegee
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To: GOPcapitalist
We need to make the Comical answer to this. Force them to acknowledge it and discuss it openly. Make them show their hand; who is driving the issue of rail in town?

Start a billboard campaign to tell Houstonians that the Chronicle does not shoot straight on the issues. If not billboards, bumper stickers with a link to a website with the text of the memo.

41 posted on 11/25/2002 6:13:25 PM PST by weegee
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To: MAWG
I want to know who wrote the memo!

Exactly. It was obviously sent to the editorial and political writers as its target but the author is a mystery. My guess is an editor of some sort, probably one on the editorial board.

42 posted on 11/25/2002 6:14:42 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: Rush Limbaugh; Sean Hannity; Matt Drudge; holdonnow
Don't miss this gem. Too funny (and sad at the same time!)
43 posted on 11/25/2002 6:18:28 PM PST by Republic
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To: weegee
No way, Jose! Ain't payin' fer nothing in Houston no mo!

Used to live in FM 1960 area, Harris Co. But moved well out of the county now. Up in the woods, where the air is clear, the citizens are conservative, crime is low and the kids behave themselves (for the most part ;-)!

I'll let the ghetto blasters turn the city into a dump and I'll continue to urge all conservatives to join me!
44 posted on 11/25/2002 6:19:33 PM PST by Humidston
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To: GOPcapitalist
I'm thinking it was someone on the editorial board as well. I think it was Frank " Pancho " Michel.
45 posted on 11/25/2002 6:22:09 PM PST by MAWG
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To: friendly
The mainsream media's overt leftist bias is almost too blatant for anyone to question. I'm sure that this kind of "political strategy planning" occurs in almost all of the newsrooms all across the liberal media. This one just happened to get leaked to the unwashed masses.

I'm reminded of a quote I heard years ago: "Conservatives go to bed at night fearing that the people won't understand them. Liberals go to bed at night fearing that the people will understand them."

The Chronicle let its mask slip.

46 posted on 11/25/2002 6:33:25 PM PST by quebecois
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To: Humidston
We all pay into the federal pool (even those who aren't in Texas) which they want added to this boondoggle.
47 posted on 11/25/2002 6:34:39 PM PST by weegee
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To: GOPcapitalist
Knee-jerk reactionaries will go along with the absurd assumption that
a city may only have one or the other, light-rail or highways.
Houston is a major metropolitan area.
It needs a variety of transportation modes
available for the traveling public to select from.
Light-rail should be a part of that mix.
48 posted on 11/25/2002 6:37:59 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: weegee
Maybe we could take out a full page ad in the Comical that discloses their memo!
49 posted on 11/25/2002 6:42:22 PM PST by hobson
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To: Willie Green
Light-rail should be a part of that mix.

Indeed it should, but I have yet to hear what a rail line connecting three destinations (Downtown, the Medical Center, and the Astrodomain) will do to reduce traffic, since it is unlikely anyone would want to go from one such area to the other. They say they intend it to be a "starter set" from which they will build a truly comprehensive rail system.

Because Houston is so decentralized, "truly comprehensive" in my mind would have to be as dense as the Paris Metro -and all of Paris could fit comfortably insde Loop 610.

50 posted on 11/25/2002 6:59:41 PM PST by NovemberCharlie
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