Jesse H. Rizzo of Warrensburg, Mo., son of Kansas City Star crime reporter Tony Rizzo, was recently cited with disorderly conduct after a run-in with Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin in which he reportedly threw a beer on Kansas City’s top cop.
This is funny for a great many reasons, none of which involve an assault on a law enforcement official.
First of all, obviously Rizzo the Jr. doesn’t take much of an interest in dear old Dad’s profession if he can’t spot Corwin on sight. Then again, Rizzo the younger lives in the college town that hosts Central Missouri State University – A place that I consider to be a last resort learning institution and not a place known to inspire great intellectual curiosity.
And let’s not forget that infamous Rizzo temperament that has often been the subject of gossip among local journalists. There’s a not-so an insignificant number of local reporters, editors and other colleagues who have faced the “wrath of Rizzo” and survived to relay the details. While Rizzo rage normally involves nothing more than a lot of bitter whining, it’s somewhat troubling to see that the sins of the father have been passed down to a son who should have been a lot more careful about where he was throwing his beer.
And finally there’s a question of The Star’s legacy. This isn’t the first time that relatives of folks employed by the daily paper have been in trouble with the law. Earlier this year, Publisher Mark Zieman’s wife was picked up for DUI and received exceptionally loving treatment from the paper-of-record with only a similarly small write-up of her arrest along with some creative description of her resignation and job duties long after after the details of the incident were all over the Internet. Similarly, the story of the beer-throwing-brat of a crime reporter was no secret to a great many people on the streets of Kansas City and eyewitnesses at the scene. I ran it as a blind item but I hear that a great many in The Star newsroom were chuckling at the bad decision connected to a fellow newsie throughout the week. And I guess a crime reporter’s son showing no respect for the most visible member of the KCPD could be considered a cruel irony but I think it just seems like a typical bit of decadence from the print media institution that has strayed so far from its roots.