In the cool cool cool of the evening

I was clicking around over at the journalism crack den, hoping to find a conference I could attend on the questionable credibility and ethics of people who write about stuff on their web pages, but all I could find was this.

Dallas County prosecutors are investigating whether criminal charges should be brought in connection with last year’s disclosure of inflated circulation at The Dallas Morning News.

Belo Corp., owner of The News, said Thursday that it received a subpoena this week from the Dallas County district attorney’s office. The subpoena seeks “documents related to the previously announced circulation overstatement” at the newspaper, Belo said in a statement announcing its first-quarter earnings.

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Bill Hill confirmed that a grand jury investigation is under way.

“The Dallas County district attorney’s office has opened an investigation into whether there was any criminal wrongdoing related to the circulation overstatements made by The Dallas Morning News,” spokeswoman Rachel Horton said.

Belo chairman, president and chief executive officer Robert W. Decherd said the company will cooperate with the request for documents.

Last August, Belo announced that an internal review had found that the reported circulation for The News had been inflated by at least 1.5 percent daily and 5 percent Sunday. Circulation figures serve as a basis for advertising rates charged by newspapers.

I hope people go to prison over this and serve there a very, very, very long time.

During a real life-related rant last night Mr. Athenae expressed the opinion to me that journalism ethics actually ought to be rather simple. Don’t make stuff up. Don’t take money or presents from people you cover and don’t sleep with them. All the rest is just self-indulgent navel-gazing designed to pad the pockets of professors and think-tank panel organizers who want to talk about anything other than what’s actually strangling journalism.

To which I and both ferrets nodded enthusiastically.