Some time after yesterday’s post about “the sleaziest little newspaper in Texas,” someone deleted Robertson County News publisher and editor Dennis Phillips’s “Booger County Mafia debunked” screed from the newspaper’s Facebook page. I’m wondering if that had anything to do with an email that I sent to Jim Moser, president of the company that owns the News.
Late night’s email to Mr. Moser was copied to other journalists and community leaders and included the following message:
Below is a blog post concerning Dennis Phillips and the Robertson County News. Prior to law school, I worked as a reporter for the Longview News-Journal and The Washington Times, and I also worked as a stringer for the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle.
In all my years in journalism, law enforcement, and law practice, I have never met a journalist as unethical and incompetent as Dennis Phillips. I hope your organization has been unaware of his shenanigans, because I cannot image any media organization tolerating his misconduct and ineptitude.
In his September 21, 2015 post on the newspaper’s Facebook page, Dennis mentioned the newspaper’s relationship with KAGS. By copy of this letter to KAGS personnel, I encourage the station to terminate its relationship with the Robertson County News, at least until Dennis Phillips is replaced with a competent and ethical journalist.
Thank you for your consideration.
A year or so ago, I had a similar experience when Dennis posted some outrageous comments beneath one of my blog posts, then deleted those comments after I notified Mr. Moser. This time I saved a copy of Dennis’s rant in case I decided to sue him for defamation, and you can read a copy by clicking here.
I’ve always believed that the most solemn duty of a journalist is to serve as a check on the people in power. As explained in yesterday’s post and my September 18, 2015 post, Dennis chose instead to get in bed with the people in power. He has betrayed his readers too many times, and he needs to be fired.
There’s another lesson here: when someone is misusing power, others need to speak up. And that principle applies to corrupt journalists as well as corrupt politicians. Near the bottom of the September 18, 2015 post, I’ve included contact information for Mr. Moser and several elected officials. If you’re tired of the corruption in Hearne and Robertson County, then speak up. Pardon the cliche, but if you’re reading this post, you can make a difference.