Conservative Students Learn Lesson in Media Bias

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - A Texas newspaper reporter who sent an insulting e-mail to a conservative student group - calling the students "heartless, greedy, anti-intellectual little fascists" - apparently has been fired from the newspaper.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Steve McLinden sent a sneering response to the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) last month, after the YCT sent the newspaper a press release announcing plans to protest Bill Clinton's Feb. 12 appearance at the University of Texas.

Annoyed by the press release, McLinden wrote to the group, "Ah, the heartless, greedy, anti-intellectual little fascists are mobilizing again. (Let me guess. All you frat boys saved up your allowances and monies from your McDonald's jobs for those Beemers you'll be driving to the protest, and those new jackboots you'll be sportin' enroute).

"Hey, don't forget all the nasty little deals that Reagan's henchmen cut with Middle East figures that got us directly into this mess today..."

The Young Conservatives of Texas complained to the editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and he sent an email of his own to the group, apologizing for McLinden's insults.

Jim Witt assured the students that the reporter's message "does not represent in any way the opinion or practices of our newspaper," and he promised to conduct an investigation.

That investigation apparently led to the reporter's termination, and in a statement, the YCT congratulated the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for handling the matter in an "impressive and decisive manner."

"This will hopefully serve as an example to media outlets and journalists across the country as they strive to maintain the time-honored standards of objectivity and professionalism," said YCT State Communications Director Chris Allen.

"We are gratified that, whatever the cause or causes of Mr. McLinden's termination, the message we received from Mr. Witt alone demonstrates that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram clearly recognizes the seriousness of media bias and unprofessionalism," Allen added.