Hearne: Anatomy of a Bad Guy? Meet Star Editor Greg Farmer

farmerSooner or later, it happens to just about everybody, right?

You find yourself working alongside – or worse yet – under the thumb of a co-worker who, for lack of a better term, is kind of a jerk – not a very nice person.

In the wake of last year’s Hunger Games standoff at the Kansas City Star between reporters Dawn Bormann and Karen Dillon, and Dillon’s subsequent layoff this week, comes the suggestion that such a person may have been involved in the latter’s demise.

Remember this quote earlier in the week about senior assistant managing editor Greg Farmer?

“I think Farmer has his chosen few,” one Star newsroom staffer told me. “And the people who don’t ‘yessir’ him enough are at risk.”

After further discussion…

“I think they should have cut Farmer,” says the source. “He is a bully – especially to women – but he’s a bully to everybody. And he was reprimanded before they promoted him (two years ago). And he minded his P’s and Q’s for a few months and then he went back to be the way he used to be.”

BigBadBrad_AnatomyFellow former Star editor Jim Fitzpatrick has another take:

“My impression was (Farmer) was always fair, smart and easy to work with.”

That said, Fitzpatrick didn’t so much have to work under Farmer, their relationship being more one of equals prior to Farmer’s ascension.

“Hey, everything changes when you move into a higher position where people report to you,” Fitzpatrick muses. “One day you’re their buddy and the next, they’re thinking about eliminating your position. It’s a very difficult wire to dance on, where you take on that responsibility. And very few people can carry it off. (Former Star¬†assistant managing editor) ¬†Randy Smith was the master of it. He kept an even keel and always acted fairly and with great temperance.”

My personal take on Farmer?

I didn’t have a great deal of contact with him (and no run ins) other than on a news story or two, but as a frequent flyer in the newsroom for several years, I would characterize him as a pretty cold fish.

Then again, “When you’re in management,” Fitzpatrick muses, “the higher you go, the bigger target you become.”

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