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The Bully Media – D Magazine Edition

Opinion

Monty J. Bennett

Letter to the Editor

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The media is chock full of bullies.  Self-righteous bullies.  Why is that?  Just look at the appellate case that D Magazine lost.  Their “editor” Tim Rogers sees himself as some kind of crusader – and has landed his magazine in a whole mess of hot water.  The lawyer on the other side, Randy Johnston, is known for being tenacious and very good – he’s not going to let go until he gets justice for his client who was allegedly smeared by D Magazine.  We’ll see how well D Magazine’s bully tactics work out for them in this case.
 
Speaking of bullying, this past fall D Magazine gratuitously and without provocation wrote some false, defamatory and nasty things about me.  So to set the record straight, this past October 23 I was quoted in Dallas City Wire regarding D Magazine saying, “D Magazine itself employs a whole pay-to-play model,” it “brazenly seeks out companies and organizations to pay them so they can write flattering articles about them.…” and “Does anyone really believe that their Best Doctors section consists of the best doctors in Dallas, or just the ones that paid them? “   D Magazine got all huffy with me (because they had to eat crow and retract those false and defamatory statements about me and the Dallas Express mentioned above), has denied these statements, and has demanded that I “correct or retract” these statements.  Be careful what you ask for. The truth is worse than what you think I allegedly said or implied.  My “correction” is below.
 
So when I was talking about D Magazine’s “pay to play model” and them “brazenly seeking out companies and organizations to pay them so they can write flattering articles about them,”  I was referring to this section, which is their “Sponsored Content,” and not necessarily to other sections of the magazine.  The section I was referring to is clearly content “sponsored” (i.e. paid) by those organizations about whose products the articles refer.  The content of these articles is more than “sponsored” by the subjects, however. The “sponsored content” consists of paid advertisements presented in an article format to cloak the content with an air of legitimate praise by a third party.  In my opinion the “sponsored content” section does not fully disclose the true nature of these “articles.”
 
What’s worse is D Magazine’s publication of lists of what it tells its readers are the “Best Doctors” and “Best Lawyers” in Dallas.  D Magazine promotes that these lists are some sort of prestigious recognition to inform readers.  The reality is that there are hundreds of doctors and lawyers who end up on the lists through a dubious selection process, and anyone who does not pay thousands of dollars for a “special profile” has his or her name listed in fine print.  The names of over 100 lawyers appear per page for those who do not succumb to D Magazine’s desperate pitch to buy profiles.  The most recent “Best Lawyers” edition listed 788 lawyers as being the “best” in Dallas.  It is hard to imagine 788 people in one city as being the “best” at anything.  Are there even that many lawyers in North Texas?  The motivation for D Magazine to “set criteria” that result in such a large list lies in the opportunity to sell “profiles” to these 788 unsuspecting individuals.  So, yes, Mr. Rogers:  the doctors do not “pay” to be included on your “prestigious” teeny tiny font list.  But some of them who must be new to Dallas are seemingly unaware of the so-called “prestige” of these lists and get talked into paying through the nose for larger ‘profiles’ – and if they pay enough, D Magazine will let them approve exactly what they write!  So much for integrity in journalism.   Even a lawyer outside of the best 788 can clearly see that these “Best” lists are created to generate targets from whom D Magazine can solicit large sums of money to write flattering “profiles.”
 
The money generated by D Magazine from selling these “profiles” is staggering.  In its most recent “Best Lawyers” edition, over 100 lawyers are “profiled.”  A half-page profile costs $7,290.  A two-page spread costs a whopping $19,800.   It is no wonder that D Magazine set up ridiculously loose criteria to generate a list of 788 “best” lawyers.  In my opinion, the “Best” editions of D Magazine are driven by opportunities to rake in the dough rather than by a sincere desire to promote excellence in the legal and medical fields.  It would be interesting for D Magazine to reveal just how many “votes” from peers are required to land a given lawyer or doctor on the “Best” list.
 
So there you have it dear reader.  The real story regarding “D Magazine” and its “Best” editions.   Best of luck to D Magazine to continue to find enough willing souls to pay such exorbitant fees for “profiles” to be promoted (along with hundreds of others) as one of the very “Best.”

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