This past weekend the Chron violated Houston's political 12th Commandment - "Thou shalt not f__k with the rodeo." The Chron ran with the story that KTRK-TV (Channel 13) killed. 13's star reporter, Wayne Dolcefino, did most of the leg work; however, his bosses were reluctant to take on the mighty rodeo.
The Chron stepped up, requested what the rodeo provided Wayne, and published a story that details some pricey office furnishings and freebie booze coupons for the media. The Chron is open for business as usual today.
Commentary is reminded of the movie "The Man Who Would Be King," when Danny, played by Sean Connery, suffers a facial cut and bleeds, shocking the masses that had considered him a God/King. Yes, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, does bleed, and is not a monolith that requires our genuflection.
Don't expect rodeo to get even with the Chron. Don't expect Chron to be riding in the Grand Entrance Parade at next year's rodeo either. Rodeo is trying to defend conference room chairs that cost $2,619 each and a $53,000 conference room table. It's a rodeo, not a palace. Rodeo says the fancy furnishings are needed for "high quality Western image we desire to project." Rodeo needs to see reruns of "Bonanza" and "The Big Valley" or maybe go rent "Giant" to get a sense of "high quality Western image."
As for the freebie booze coupons, Chron says they will end the practice - "outside of our sponsorship agreements." Will other media outlets follow suit? Will rodeo rethink this policy?
Looks like Channel 13 erred in not running with Wayne's story. 13 blinked. The Chron was right on in picking it up. The public has a right to know where their funnel cake and fried Snicker bucks are going.
April 12, 2005, 9:00AM