Far be it from me to question the facts of the Morning News editorial writers, because those people have a whole lot more time than we do to make sure their ducks are in a row, if you know what I mean. But the lead Sunday editorial, "Park the Hyperbole", was embarrassingly incorrect, in my humble opinion.

Among other things, the editorial talks about the harmonious future of a beautiful tollroad residing next to an ambitious park, even showing a drawing of the two peacefully co-existing. And that’s the first problem: They’re showing a picture of a four-lane divided tollroad, rather than the six-lane tollroad that is going to be built, which is pretty misleading in and of itself. (Here’s the actual wording about the tollroad, lifted straight from the North Texas Tollway Authority’s website front page: "Initially, six and four lanes will be constructed, with the ultimate facility being six lanes.") So the News appears to be flat-out intentionally distorting the ultimate size of the tollroad, and publishing a misleading picture to boot, to make the project more palatable to voters. But there’s more.

Check out this quote from the editorial: "Fast-forward several years. Ms. Hunt’s toll road referendum has failed, clearning the way for both the highway and the park to be completed. Those who venture down to the river now find plenty of options for recreation or relaxation … an amphitheater sits nearby…"

Now, we just tried for several weeks, as part of our October cover story, to obtain clarification from the city about whether money actually exists today to build a bunch of the hyped park amenities, including an amphitheater, and the answer is clear: No. Sure, there are plans for an amphitheater to be built someday, with money generated from somewhere and actual plans to be designed by someone; but as of today, the simple idea of an amphitheater being built in the Trinity Park within "several years" is an out-and-out distortion of the truth. It’s not going to happen, no matter what the News editorial implies. Admittedly, a careful reading of the editorial’s wording probably means that the "several years" referred to is actually several years after the tollroad is completed, which will be many years down the road; but that’s just plain cute writing with an intention to mislead potential voters who the News‘ editorial writers must be hoping aren’t paying enough attention to the facts.

Steve Blow was musing in his Sunday column about the "Belo Death Star" and how everyone at the News isn’t "mandated to undying support of the Trinity toll road." Steve’s telling the truth, I’m sure, but Sunday’s editorial is the exact reason why longtime News readers such as me are starting to wonder what’s going on downtown at the News’ offices. I still believe that the News is one of the country’s great dailies (check out the others before you laugh), but on the Trinity issue, there’s something clearly wrong with the coverage.