Sutherland: Piling On at the Kansas City Star

1364993628372.cachedOne could argue that it isn’t sporting to heap further abuse on the Kansas City Star, circling the drain as they are…

However, their violation of every known standard of fairness over the years when they had a monopoly here means, to me at least, that they deserve every sling and arrow they get.

In 1978, I got into an argument with Laura Scott of the Star over the paper’s coverage of a U.S. Senate candidate in Kansas.  I may have won the argument, but not the war.  The Star editorial page, initially under Ms. Scott’s direction, has now waged a vendetta against me for THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!

It has continued on through numerous political races, both as a candidate myself and as a supporter of other candidates, and even has extended to refusing to publish seven Letters to the Editor, on a variety of topics, that I’ve submitted.

The low point came about 15 years ago when I visited an Ozark folk Festival in Carthage, Missouri.  The law firm I was working for (ironically, the Star’s own law firm, Lathrop & Gage) had done work for the event’s promoter and he’d promised he would have a check for them if I came down to it.

thomas_judyWhile in Carthage for the “American Heritage Festival and Expo” that weekend, I met Judy Thomas of the Star.  (She still writes for them I understand.)  I spoke to Judy about the weather.  Imagine my surprise when I read on the front page of the KC Star the following Sunday that I was among the more prominent attendees at a white supremacist rally and gathering of the Aryan Brotherhood.  There was absolutely no basis for that description and I immediately wrote the Star to correct the record.

Well, if love “means never having to say you’re sorry,” so does writing for the Kansas City Star.  You can offer the most cogent, well-reasoned objections to their coverage and, like the end of Hamlet, “the rest is silence.”

I modestly suggest the following letter submitted 15 years ago for inclusion in the forthcoming collection;

“The One Hundred Best Letters Never Published by The KC Star.”  (The Star may never respond directly to criticism but the payback in terms of hostile and abusive coverage aimed at any erstwhile critic is a wonder to behold!)
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14 Responses to Sutherland: Piling On at the Kansas City Star

  1. Nick says:

    If the seven unpublished letters were as petty and aimless as this post, one hesitates to ascribe too much fault to the Star’s editors.

  2. harley says:

    Dwight…if I recall a lot of the guys at that festival and the ones who were
    headline speakers in carthage were close to
    david duke…in fact one ran as his vice presidential candidate with the ku klux
    please correct me if i’m wrong but I remember the roar that “festival”
    created. just checking!

    • Dwight Sutherland,Jr. says:

      There was a candidate for the presidency at Carthage,the late Charles W. Collins. His platform consisted of one plank-opposition to water floridation,which meant his supporters gave up bathing. I wanted a picture of myself taken with him to send to aficinados of such things. Seriously,I’ve been to numerous events over the last half century,starting as a kid,and I never felt my presence at any event constituted an endorsement of the views expressed there by others.

    • chuck says:

      “…please correct me if i’m wrong but I remember the roar that “festival”
      created. just checking!”

      Sounds like a first person account to me.

      You tell us. Was it loud?

      By the way, before ya go all “OH MY GOD!!! IT’S THE KLAN!!!!” on me, check this.

      • harley says:

        sorry chuckles the sad despairing clown…wasn’t there…
        actually working for other candidates then…heres some info though for you and jr.

        AMERICAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL AND EXPO SCHEDULED FOR CARTHAGE, MISSOURI: Organizer Terry Reed has planned the first annual American Heritage Festival and Expo for July 17-19, 1998, in Carthage, Missouri. The purpose of the festival is to provide a forum for some of the today’s leading “patriot” speakers, including, Bo Gritz, Jack McLamb, David John Oates, Oklahoma Representative Charles Key, Christopher Ruddy, Dr. Leonard Horowitz, Larry Pratt, Ted Gunderson, Terry Reed, Dr. Joel Wallach, Chris Temple, Joyce Riley and others. The “family oriented festivities” are scheduled to take place at the Precious Moments Chapel and Red Oak

        again…Harley was correct and the rest of the crowd
        seems like they fit in with duke also….Dwight..would
        like to know more…thanks.

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          The purpose of the event was, in large part,to promote the sale of lots for a real estate project Reed had an interest in.(” Red Oak”or some such name) I didn’t know who “Bo” Gritz was,nor did most of the rest of the 3,000 people who were there. I later learned that Gritz is best known for trying to negotiate between a standoff between a survivalist(Randy Weaver?) and federal agents. As for him being David Duke’s running mate on the Populist Party ticket,I checked Duke’s Wikipedia site and it said his running mate that year was Trenton Stokes of Arkansas in some states and Floyd Parker in others. Gritz’s site says:”In 1988, Gritz was the candidate for v.p. on the Populist Party ticket as the running mate of former KKK leader David Duke. Gritz pulled out early in the race and ran instead for a Nevada congressional seat. Gritz was then replaced on some ballots with Floyd Parker.Griz has claimed he accepted the party’s nomination with the belief that he would be the running mate of (Congressman)Jim Traficant and sometime after learning it would not be Traficant but Duke and sometime after meeting Duke he decided to drop out. ” The actual record is a little murky,in other words.

  3. Dwight Sutherland,Jr. says:

    I find it annoying that criticism of a newspaper’s coverage of something that happened in 1978 could effect its coverage of things that happened in 1998(0r 2013!). The Star is like the Bourbon dynasty-They learn nothing but they forget nothing.

  4. chuck says:

    Glad you got that off of your chest, but if you are surprised that the K.C. Star is an agenda driven fish wrap under the increasingly thin patina of objectivity, then I have some land available at Bannister Mall priced right.

  5. cu_member says:

    I think most people are well aware of the Star’s less than dubious character–as most companies that maintain the same employees decade after decade typically are. Employees who prefer to maintain the status quo rather than move forward.

    I’m especially interested to see how the editorial board and the news room cover McCaskill’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for POTUS today. Will they dredge up anything from the past that McCaskill said and did? Will Barb Shelly and Mary Sanchez who spent the better part of the spring and summer 2008 posting numberous WWTSBQ columns do an about face on Clinton?

  6. paulwilsonkc says:

    Dwight, you are correct. Having Carthage as my home town, and the artist Lowell Davis, owner of Red Oak, as a personal friend, I remember the event well. Lowell and I grew up in the same home in Carthage. His parents sold it to mine, they moved to the original Red Oak community.
    Lowell made millions in his art career; took a great deal of his wealth, bought the then virtual ghost town of Red Oak, moved the buildings piece by piece to his acerage and built Red Oak II.
    Chelle and I have been there many times, Lowell has a couple of my pipes. Hard to find a picture of him without one in his hand!
    It’s become a huge attraction to the Route 66. We were there in the Fall as 50 bikers from Australia were there, riding 66 from end to end.
    Nice piece, once again.

  7. the dude says:

    Well, if you are stuck in the middle of a skinhead rally you might as well have a white russian or two, some white chocolate and vanilla ice cream so you don’t feel too out of place.

  8. H Luce says:

    It wasn’t a skinhead rally, and it wasn’t packed chock-full of Neo-Nazis. I was there with Dwight, and the Star did the usual hatchet job they do on anything associated with the Right Wing of American politics. A lot of the trucks down there had UNION bumper stickers on them, it was the same people who got out of the Democratic Party in Missouri in droves in the 1990s and formed the Missouri Republican Assembly. There were wild and wacky people there, and they had their supporters there as well, but they were in the minority. If you go to a gun show in KC, you’ll see a lot of the same people and the same political views. That’s pretty much it. The Star’s reportage was a horribly biased misrepresentation of what actually transpired, but that’s the Star for you. It’s reflected in the declining readership of the Star. I don’t read the Star and I don’t know anyone who does and takes it seriously, its sole use is as a mailer for advertising and it’s been that way for a long time. Back 40 years ago, when the Star was a real newspaper, the quality of analysis and reportage was far superior to that seen today – go to the library and look at some of the bound copies of the Star from back then and compare with what it is today. There’s no comparison. That extends to the website as well, by the way.

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