Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Does the Star Ignore the County? - Day 52 of the Jackson County Ethics Crisis

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a savvy former politician who told me that when he was being interviewed by TV people, and he said something he didn't want broadcast, he would drop an F-bomb into the sentence. Video editing capabilities of the day and pressing deadlines kept him out of the news when he didn't want to be there.

I have discovered a similar trick that works to keep the KC Star from putting something in the paper. Just mention "Jackson County". The Star will lose interest and flee from the story.

I attended an introductory meeting for an unofficial committee focused on city business last week, and I was not at all surprised to see two, count 'em two, Star writers there. I asked one of them afterward why they double-teamed a city issue, but nobody was writing about the fact that the Jackson County Ethics Commission was NOT meeting, because nobody had been timely named to it.

Similarly, there is nobody writing about the fact that this is Day 52 of the Jackson County Ethics Crisis, with the Legislators continuing in their refusal to be governed by a local ethics commission.

It's even reached the point that the Star downplays Jackson County issues on the Prime Buzz. Recently, I did two posts in one morning - one was about a minor argument I had with another local blogger, and the other was an analysis of whether anyone would agree to serve on the Jackson County Ethics Commission, and raising the question of whether it was even ethical to serve on it while it was barred from taking on the tasks assigned to it in the Jackson County Charter. The Prime Buzz's Blog Watch column ignored the post about an important issue for Jackson County governance and wrote about the other.

Who, at the Star, covers the City? Lynn Horsley, Deanne Smith (who I understand has a vested interest in keeping County coverage positive), Yael Abouhalkah, and anyone else with a spare moment and a scrap of paper. Who, at the Star, covers the County? Well, let's see - Mike Mansur does a decent job when he has the chance, but it's only one of his many assignments.

The result is that you have the Star double-teaming a committee meeting, but ignoring the Jackson County Ethics Crisis. The result is that the Star didn't even mention that the Jackson County Ethics Commission had resigned until weeks after it had happened. The result is that the Star STILL has not reported that the time has lapsed for the ethics committee selection board to appoint replacements, with the result that Mike Sanders now has that duty.

For some reason, the Star has decided that it should not flip over the rocks in Jackson County government. It's kind of sad, because the more I look, the more I find. I'd love to see what a real journalist could do with these stories.

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3 Comments:

Blogger craig said...

Dan,
Thes Star has been in the tank for the County in general, and Sanders in particular, since his election. There are a number of things that they have spiked to keep Sanders in a positive light.

1/28/2009 8:14 AM  
Blogger Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding said...

The Prime Buzz dude is too busy trying to get into Conservatism With Heart's pants.


-Groucho

1/28/2009 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Words to remember said...

No ethics code, no COMBAT renewal.

1/28/2009 9:37 PM  

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