Hearne: Star Capitalizes on Chiefs Murder-Suicide with Soap Style Coverage

It’s so predictable, so formulaic…

“A City United in Sorrow,” reads the headline atop today’s Kansas City Star. “Community Mourns – Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher remembered.”


Two people 99 percent of Kansas City never heard of before check out and because one of them was a Chiefs player  – who just happened to murder his girlfriend and himself in a sensationalistic manner – the entire city is supposedly awash in sorrow? I don’t buy it.

I’ll tell you what we’re awash in and that’s media bullshit.

Kansas City is crawling with black on black crime, senseless, heinous murders that get little to no news coverage outside of formulaic TV shorts. Now suddenly, because of the high profile nature of the crime, we’re wading through front page headlines like, “Victim’s friends ‘don’t want her to be overshadowed.'”

Now we’re treated to endlessly long, trivial details about how murder victim Perkins was such a nice person, how she and Belcher argued but no biggie, that Belcher liked to shoot guns but no one thought he’d ever use one on her, how another Chiefs player’s wife fixed the pair up, they had a movie date and on and on and on.

Voila, instant soap opera!

Did we really want or need to learn that the victim liked to go out with girlfriends, eat Mexican and shoot the shit over Margaritas? What’s with that research? I mean, really. Check out this quote from the Star story:

“Perkins and Belcher often showed their loving side, kissing and hugging and joking around.”

Imagine that. After dating for three years and having a kid together they actually kissed, hugged and joked.

Great investigative reporting.

Basically the Star is milking a sensationalistic story about a dude who lost it – a guy the Chiefs would have cut in a heartbeat for a slightly better player and not done didley for or cared one whit – because he committed a series of high profile murders.

And like KC Confidential‘s Matt Donnelly just said, what’s with all the Chiefs player tributes to Belcher? The dude lost it, offed his girlfriend, then himself himself.

That’s hardly tribute worthy.

Yet not a single paragraph in today’s “news” stories about what a shithead Belcher was for murdering the mother of his child.

I know, I know. It makes for a better read that the victim liked to hang out, eat Mexican and drink margaritas.

Go figure.


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50 Responses to Hearne: Star Capitalizes on Chiefs Murder-Suicide with Soap Style Coverage

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    After your previous forays into covering local suicides, this is a good post. Maybe being first to the party isn’t the best thing?

    Sly James probably had a police escort with sirens blaring to make sure he got face time on national tv.

    The NFL has a major problem with domestic violence. This incident will remind people of it. And how little emphasis they have on it when it comes to sanctioning players.

    Ray Lewis is practically a god in the NFL. Despite being involved in the execution and attempted coverup of a murder and spending time in prison for his actions.

    I have no idea at this time what the real truth is in this situation. Whether he was a habitual abuser of women and drugs. Or if he was an over achieving young man from a good, suburban town who made the most of opportunities, only to succumb to some monster in his head.

    After all, we celebrate Columbus despite the fact he was a murderer, thief and didn’t have a clue where he had gone after he got there.

    The media and news is pop culture. When the myth becomes legend, print the legend.

    • HARLEY says:

      as many of you know I have been pretty dead spot on with my
      predictions and my analysis of various events lately. So heres something
      that I see happening. Just my opinion.
      The national media has picked up a lot from Brady Quinn over the last
      couple of days. The qb stepped up and made some really nice comments
      on saturday and then again he made some comments that were
      picked up nationally and run across the nation about social networks etc.
      Many of the national wires picked up his words about the need to go
      go beyond the twitter/facebook crap that replaces the everyday face
      to face contact many of us are used to.
      If brady continues to improve…and anyone who saw him sunday knows
      that he had an outstanding day! I thin he went with just 4 or 6 missed
      passes and ran a really good smart game. Truth is that maybe this is
      the guy that is starting to take a leadership role on this team.
      Just a starter for what 2 games…i’m starting to see some real
      leadership of a leaderless team by brady right now. He looked very
      comfrotable on the field onsunday and maybe this is the guy.
      The jury is still out..lets see what happens but I’ve been impressed
      with his demeanor…his off the field leadership….who knows…crazier
      things have happened.
      and he threw really well on sunday…tight passes that were mostly
      very well thrown.

  2. mike says:

    That is all the Star has anymore. By the time you read the paper, the actual hard news is 12 hours or more old. They have to go into details that are not in the other media coverage to make anybody buy a paper. If they don’t have anything that is actually relavant to the real story that has not already been reported elsewhere, they take the National Enquirer route.

  3. Chet Gristler says:

    Gristler: KCC Capitalizes on Chiefs Murder-Suicide with Disdain and Sarcasm for Soap Style Coverage

    Nuff said.

    If you actually care, how about posting the obits for the other Kansas Citians murdered this year, or better yet, a link such as this – http://www.kcmo.org/police/Crime/ViolentCrimes/Homicide/2012UnsolvedHomicides/index.htm – to the 2012 Unsolved Murders in KC.

    • admin says:

      Maybe so…

      But I think the writers here brought forth impassioned points that had little to do with trying to turn this into a soap opera or pretend this was anything much more than a heinous act

      • Chet Gristler says:

        Blah, blah, blah. As a spurned, disenfranchised former employee, Hearne just has an axe to grind with the Star. Even so, I’m cool with him calling out the Star so long as he gets off the holier-than-thou soapbox. Considering this was coming from the guy that posted about Paul Splittorf’s untimely demise, I hope he was holding his nose as he typed.

        The bottom line is that the Star is doing just what 810 and 610 and nearly every other morning DJ was doing this morning — talking about this and the sordid details. It’s a free market – if the people don’t like what the Star is doing, they can choose to not buy the paper. I’ve no problem holding the Star accountable and calling a spade a spade — in fact, I’m in favor of it. But to suggest that the THREE blog posts about this tragedy since Saturday aren’t also used to drive traffic to KCC is disingenuous.

        • admin says:

          Spurned, disenfranchised former employee, eh?

          Sounds awful!

          However, I was hardly spurned. They laid me off alongside hundreds of others and immediately tried to hire me back to freelance the column for about 40 cents on the dollar.

          You may think you’re a mind reader, but Craig and Matt’s posts were passion driven plain and simple. I would think if you read them, you’d be able to tell.

          My critique was really pretty much along the line of, give me a break! I can’t believe they’re researching and reporting trivia this lame.

          I understand that I can choose not to buy the paper, but for a mind reader, you’re missing the entire point.

          Which is that readers (and writers) have every right to critique the Star or any other media. Just as it has every right to do stupid stuff and/or mount its own critiques.

          That’s what people in this biz do, wild man.

          You don’t get that?

          If you were following your own advice, you’d merely keep your critique in your pants and just stop reading KCC.

          But we don’t want that, your criticism is welcome!

  4. Sprug says:

    The reaction from Tony Botello was like watching someone defecate on someone else’s face.


  5. HARLEY says:

    i knew hearne…i predicted youd be on this story big time…long before you
    posted this story.
    yeah..in kc we don’t have much juicy stuff…so when this type of deal happens
    its big news….
    polini was courageous…romeo was cool and calm and the team won the game.
    All in all abig day for kc media.
    Hearne…the star is so devoid of stories and relevant material its almost
    non existent.
    the tv stations have about 5 minutes each half hour to put this stuff on and would
    rather be concerned with the weather forecast than some football player
    the stars response is as disgusting as guys like chuckles and smarmyman coming
    on about the black crime statistics and how black men are tearing up the nation.
    Reminds me of a story from one of the former chiefs who was black. He said when he’s in
    the cheifs uniform and people know he’s a player people idolize him…worship him..
    offer him items…he’s a god.
    But when he walks in street clothes thru wal mart women grab their kids..walk the
    other way…look at him suspiciously…they go out of their way to stayawayfrom
    him….its quite odd.
    so hearne…here’s your endless topic for teh week. have at it bud…the stars given
    you a good 5-7 nice articles just about belchar and their coverage.
    Just think…you might even win a pulitzer~

    • mike says:

      This is scary. I’m actually agreeing with you on much of this. Although the stats are valid about black on black crime, they really have nothing to do with this case. This crime was done by one man, not a race of people. Race was never brought up as a contributing factor with Jim Tyrer, Chris Benoit, etc. We can’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about why this happened. We may never know what drove this man to do this.

      • admin says:

        Thanks Mike.

        I have a feeling that with all the attention being focused on this – and not just the Star’s trivial pursuits today – we’ll be finding out a lot more in the coming days. if from nowhere else, from the deceased woman’s friends and family.

      • HARLEY says:

        omg…mike and i agree…
        lets compare apples to apples…
        someone provide the information that i asked for…thanks.

        • mike says:

          Me agreeing with you and Super Dave agreeing with Glaze in the other article? Maybe the world is about to end! LOL!

    • MyDogsPuke says:

      Ever heard of Google??? Use it!

      First, google “how to spell”….

      …then google “how to write proper sentences”….

      …then google “how to type”…..

      Your posts are like reading a seven year old’s version of Naked Lunch.

    • admin says:

      Didn’t take a genius to know that just about anyone and everyone in the media would have something to say about a story of this magnitude.

      But props for seeing thru me so easily, once again!

  6. mrwhite says:

    I thought you had gotten help for you drinking problem…and here you are writing drunken giberish


    How dare you say a word about gun violence when you glorify it with your tag line “HITS YOU IN THE FACE WITH BULLET FORCE” ?

    For all we know he got the idea for this MURDER from YOUR tag line.

    He read you tagline and thought….
    “Yeah.. yeah… I kill dat bitch with BULLET FORCE!!!”

    • the dude says:

      Murderer and coward WITH BULLET FORCE.

    • Chet Gristler says:


      Bob Costas needs to be telling people about the need for Congress to ban violent tag lines on blog sites. “With bullet force” — you’re just feeding the gun culture, Hearne. Is that bacon I smell?? Nope, it’s just hypocrites.

  8. chuck says:

    Dead on the money Hearne.

    From Harley/JoJo-

    “the stars response is as disgusting as guys like chuckles and smarmyman coming
    on about the black crime statistics and how black men are tearing up the nation.”

    They are.

    They flat out are doing just that.

    • Harley says:

      to chuckles the clown and smarmyman:

      Your stats and data are fine. As many people have mentioned they don’t
      apply to this horendous case and tragedy. And they don’t
      But whats even more apparent is that the two of you live in a long ago
      world. Those stats you continue to scream about may be true…but as
      in most cases they pertain to a minority of the african american/
      hispanic etc groups.
      Because both of you continue to live in a 1960’s world…where the world
      never changes and many on here have pointed out that both of your
      arguments are as old as you are.
      The african american culture has not been a total failure. Obviously the
      two of you are not educataed nor do you participate in the real world
      like i have.
      There are thousands of very successful african americans. Go to atlanta/
      baltimore…d.c…orlando…miami…chicago..l.a…. and see that many blacks
      are not only running the cities…their running the major companies..
      many black owners..many blacks high in corporate america…outside
      your shaded world is completely different. And guess what..we just reelected
      a black president!!!!!Wow…black womenare moving up…the blacks you speak
      of are a small minority of a very successful/growing/articulate/well to
      do class of black men and women.
      Yes..there is a problem in our cities…but thats a small minority of what
      exists outside your little world in your miniscule life.
      Sure…there are a some bad apples in the black african american race
      in america just as there are some terrible white racists in america
      that give the rest of us a terrible name.
      Your little world and the world you write about is not the real world.
      I invite you to go outside and experience what exciting things are
      happening in america today. Your negativity is just so misplaced
      and out of the realm of the changes going on in america.
      And chuckles…thanks for reading all my posts..i now can count you
      as one of my disciples/readers/fans.

      • chuck says:

        Fu*kin hilarious Harley.

        “Go to Atlanta, Baltimore…”

        Thats exactly what I am talking about.

        Those towns are being destroyed as we speak from the inside out.

        Maybe YOU should check the facts once in a while, as opposed to affective, emotional retrospetives which are no more than “Rah Rah’ horse hockey signifying zilch.

        • Harley says:

          chuckles the sad clown…
          your schtick is getting real old.
          can you come up with something new.
          the old line jim crow b.s. is so outdated.

  9. Richard Cranium says:

    Clearly you didn’t read Mellinger’s article on the front page calling him a “coward”. Pretty sure he was taking a full frontal attack on him. Probably a little sour grapes afterall.

  10. glenn says:

    The number ONE cause of death of black women between the ages of 18-35 in the US is MURDER by a current or former partner.

    Black culture in this country is rotten.

    • Merle Tagladucci says:

      Fact: In the black demographic, killing has gone way up and good music has gone way down.

      What up with that?

  11. glenn says:

    The negative correlation you stated IS a FACT! The ‘music’ i.e. rap culture of today has put a spotlight on the ‘values’ that heretofore has been in the shadows.

  12. Rick Nichols says:

    Hearne, I just got out the plastic Kansas City Star/Times pica rule that an ex-Star employee from “the good old days” gave me fairly recently and measured the amount of coverage that was devoted to this story in Sunday’s A/B section and there was a grand total of roughly 121 column inches counting pictures, with 67.5 inches of that material falling on the front page. For comparison’s sake, the Eric Winston story in early October (the one in which he expressed his displeasure over the fans apparently cheering an injury to Matt Cassel) generated roughly 73 column inches counting pictures in the A/B section, with 10 of that falling on the front page. Mind you, this first figure, 121 inches, doesn’t even include what may have been devoted to the murder-suicide in the sports section, which I have yet to look at. Overkill? I think so. We are now two days away from the start of the Kansas City Plus project (the implementation of the electronic Pay Wall for those who don’t know what I’m referring to), so it would be interesting to see how this story would have been treated had it occurred a week later. Were it up to me, I would be running a bare bones version of this whole tragic affair in the print edition, and for those who desired to know all of the “juicy” details, some of which you mention above, then they would need to go to the online account of these terrible events and “pay the piper” at the “toll gate”. Readers continue to complain about the lack of coverage of the Benghazi attack, etc., etc., and their complaints are legitimate as far as I’m concerned. Far too often real news that affects millions of people around the world or here in the states is being pushed to the side by the wall-to-wall coverage of the antics and general misbehavior of the celebrity class. This needs to change!

  13. Paulwilsonkc says:

    It’s a culture of violence.
    Roughly 500,000 in Johnson County. Lots of gun owners. 6 murders, I believe, in 2012.
    Roughly 500,000 in the city. Lots of gun owners. 100 murders, with this one, I believe, in 2012.
    So, is it the guns fault? No, I think not.
    Given that, where can you lay blame or root cause? Does an uncontrollable force take over your body when you cross into KCMO…..or…..is it that there is indeed, a culture of violence that permeates the inner city?
    I don’t know how we can castigate people who are just pointing out the facts and demographics. There are people on here you wants FACTS to back up every claim. That is…….as long as the facts work FOR them, not against them.
    I know racism when I see it; that’s not racism.

    • mike says:

      There is no doubt that there has been a cultural breakdown in a large segment of the urban areas all over this country. The only thing I will say is that I don’t know for sure what Belcher’s background was and whether that had anything to do with his actions. By most accounts, he was a good student. He got his degree. He didn’t act like a thug and was well liked. That is why everyone was so surprised, just like they were with Jim Tyrer or Chris Benoit, who were also well respected. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that pointing out the violent culture in the urban core makes you or anybody else a racist. It is a verifiable fact. I just don’t know yet if that contributed to this particular incident.

    • HARLEY says:

      the disappearing/old white angry crowd on kcc doesn’t seem to get it.
      Use all your stats…use all your slanted data…but the fact is that those
      do not apply to this case.
      This was not some young black man in a poverty status.
      This was a young wealthy talented athlete who apparently either had
      a mental problem or went off in a fit of rage.
      completely different than the premeditated deaths your statistics
      this was probably not premediateted…the cricumstances
      are different in this case.
      Bring out all your stats….complain about the problem…..but belchar was
      not the typical hood criminal your stats are based on.
      I’d b e interested to see recent stats on the number of black murdered
      in america and the number of whites murdered in america…does
      someone have that information…
      again…this was a wealthy young man with college education…hard working
      determined young man…soemthing went wrong….obviously…
      and this case does not pertain to the facts you choose to bring out.

    • HARLEY says:

      how about domestic violence in kcmo versus johnson county.
      can someone please get that information. I’d be interested to see
      the numbers of cases of domestic violence in johnson county and the
      stats on who and what commit those crimes versus the domestic
      violence crimes in jackson county/kcmo and see who’s committing
      those crimes.
      I’m sure chuckles has that information. That could shine some light
      onthe comparison between the violators in johnson versus jackson
      chuckles can you present that ino.
      again…lets compare apples to apples and not transcend this belchar kid
      as one of the perpetrators in the city.
      very interested to see how the numbers compare.

  14. glenn says:


    You are equating being raised in the hood with black culture. There’s your apples. The black culture is in the wealthy, educated, professional young blacks. If not, they are ‘Uncle Tom’ to the family and friends. Wake up and smell the (black) coffee!!

  15. Mike "Bourbon and Coke" Fannin says:

    Rag on The Star all you want but sometimes they come up with some real gems.

  16. Mike says:

    Costas is wrong. I have often wondered what the statistics are on the use of hand guns in the black community vs the white community. I would assume (listening to the news each night) that it is close to 90% or more on the black side. Rather than argue the gun issue the argument should be about banning the culture in the black community that is leading to fatherless families, teen preagnancy, a 50% + drop out rate, lack of self respect and respect for life in general. Obviously in the black community another vigil will be held, interviews with folks who cannot form a sentence and certainly air time for the so called black community leaders. It’s about time someone spoke the truth about all of this crap! I for one am sick of listening to the blacks whine about their condition. FACE REALITY and do something about.

    • mike says:

      Other Mike, I think what started all of this was the Great Society started by LBJ. People figured out that if the woman had children and didn’t put a father on the birth certificate, they would get welfare, section 8 housing, food stamps, etc. The problem is that once that is done, it takes away the legal responsibility of the father to provide for the child. Once that happened, many of these fathers also felt no need to help with the children in any way. How are these kids going to learn how a man and a woman are supposed to treat each other and how a father is supposed to treat a child when they have no positive male role model? What started out as a well intentioned program has caused way more harm than good in the long run and not just for blacks. These are also problems in the lower income white communities. Having said all that, I still don’t know if any of this applies to the Belcher case or not.

      • Paulwilsonkc says:

        Mike, you COULD NOT be closer to the origins and root cause. Maybe not a popular opinion or point of view, but for those of us concerned enough to really look at the time line, be they old, broke dick, white losers (like me, apparently) or Bill Cosby, all the facts point to the same origins. And it’s grown exponentially with each generation. God bless The Great Society, ADC, and a side order of Section 8.

        • mike says:

          I have also wondered if the gangs become a substitute for the father in some of these kids’ lives. It provides them an identity, a sense of family, protection, leadership, pride, and money. Those are all things that their father should be providing and the gang leaders can come along and exploit this by filling this vacuum in these kids’ lives.

          • Paulwilsonkc says:

            Mike, how do you battle this one; I’ve met with several inner city funeral home Directors over the past couple years. These kids PRE PAY for their PRE ARRANGED funeral with the emphasis being on making sure MY funeral is bigger and flashier than the one YOU have planned! Teens, PRE programmed that they aren’t going to live and sling pride in a bigger funeral than the other little thugs and bangers.
            Where do you start on that single piece?

          • mike says:

            It is going to be really hard because it is now in the 3rd generation and is deeply entrenched. The politicians don’t have the guts or integrity to tackle this because they don’t want to lose votes. It is sad because if these kids were brought up in a stable and loving environment, most of them would never be a threat to anybody and be productive members of society.

  17. Paulwilsonkc says:

    A CULTURE of violence. No mention of poverty, it’s cultural.
    And the topic was murder with a weapon, not domestic violence. The topic was MURDER rates and that’s what the stats spoke to.
    I find it interesting its always easier to INSULT and name call when someone is accurate but it doesn’t fit the paradigm. It’s impossible to carry on a civil discussion on here. Some people seem to think they are the only ones who are right. When facts make the point and they don’t fit someone else’s supposition, well, just pull another insult out of the quiver and make a challenge for DIFFERENT facts on a DIFFERENT topic.
    This was a MURDER.
    KCMO tracks a MURDER RATE.
    I don’t know what the DM count is; JoCo vs KCMO.
    That wasn’t the topic.

    • Harley says:

      sorry wilson…but you speak with funeral directors about pre paid
      funeral plans?…you speak with black women about their sons playing
      nfl football? really???????
      come on wilson…
      lets get real.
      yes…this was a story about domestic violence..
      wheres the stats about domestic violence in johnson county versus
      jackson county. Who and what are the circumstances surround
      domestic violence in johns on county and where it leads to and
      rthe same in other counties in the area.
      This started asa domestic violence case…
      I’m going to the johson county website and jackson county website
      for stats…
      then we can talk about the real facts behind these types of cases.

  18. BS says:

    KC Confidential has team coverage of KC Star’s over-coverage. 4 of the top 5 stories.

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