Yesterday the Fort Worth Star-Telegram told North Texas to beware because a horde of Mongols is about to descend on their theme park.
The actual headline was, “Heading to the Fort Worth Stockyards this weekend? Might want to read this first.” The Stockyards are dirty, old history sanded and polished into a tourist destination like Tombstone, the Freedom Trail in Boston, Universal Studios in Los Angeles or the Baltimore Waterfront.
The Stockyards district comprises about 100 acres of shops, restaurants and Christmas lights hung in trees. It also features the “world’s only twice daily cattle drive.”
ATF Plants Story
Deanna Boyd, a very experienced police reporter who has worked for eleven major news outlets reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives believes “the Mongols motorcycle gang is likely planning a rally there (the stockyards) that could draw hundreds of members of the notoriously violent gang.”
Boyd goes on to describe the Mongols as the “most violent and dangerous outlaw motorcycle gang in the nation.” She explains that “The gang is known to be involved in the transportation and distribution of drugs, including cocaine and meth, and has frequently committed violent crimes, including assault, intimidation and murder to defend their territory and uphold their reputation.”
Always referring to the Mongols as a “gang,” Boyd goes on to explain that the club is new to the state but “has apparently begun migrating into Texas over the past few months, forming almost a dozen chapters across the state with members that include a handful of former disgruntled members of the Bandidos motorcycle gang.”
And she quotes an unnamed ATF analyst, possibly Jeremy Sheetz because it sounds like Jeremy Sheetz, who asserts, “Although only operating in Texas for a short period of time, violence has already transpired between the two adversaries in Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas.”
Boyd also alerts North Texas that last June, “21 members and associates of a Tennessee chapter of the Mongols were indicted by a federal grand jury with various alleged crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and large-scale drug trafficking.”
The New Newz
Over the last forty years a symbiotic relationship has developed between police reporters and police. Police simplify the reporter’s job by handing him stories rather than compelling him to go out and find what are now called “enterprise stories.”
Most of the stories published by The Aging Rebel are the result of enterprise reporting.
The problem in this case is that a reporter who doesn’t know the difference between the Mongols and the Mayans has conspired with police to dominate what is increasingly referred to as “the information battlespace.” Most faculty at most American journalism schools would agree that reporters should not be agents of the police. Hypothetically, that relationship only exists in totalitarian states like Russia or China.
Near the bottom of her story Boyd quotes Fort Worth police spokesman Brad Perez as saying that “police are not expecting any issues between the” Mongols and the Bandidos Motorcycle Club “at this weekend’s rally.” The statement contradicts most of the rest of the Star-Telegram’s news report.
According To Police
“So” as editors once regularly asked reporters who turned in this sort of stuff, “where’s the news in the story?”
The news is that this story was published and how it was played. The news is that the police said something that might have been intended to be self-congratulatory or alarmist or something else altogether. Not a single Mongol or Bandido is quoted in the story or even named. Everything in it is pure police.
Somebody who follows the ongoing, global war on motorcycle clubs might wonder why. Why this story? Why now? What’s the point? What is coming next?
The Star-Telegram might have lightened a little of this darkness if the paper had bothered to consider the end to which local and federal police were releasing this specific information now.
Maybe in the follow up story, Monday.
You can read the complete Star-Telegram story here.