Hearne: Decorated, Controversial, Trombone Playing Journalist Gives KC Star the Kiss Off

1076_85086.0Not everyone at 18th and Grand wants to wait around until it’s their turn to take a bullet…

To the ranks of volunteer newspaper exiters, Joe Posnanski, Dan Margolies & Bill Dalton, add the name Lee Hill Kavanaugh. The touchy-feely, trombone-playing writer has reportedly shocked her editors at the Kansas City Star by giving them the kiss off.

“I think she got fed up, but there’s no official word,” says one Star staffer. “This was totally her decision and I do think (everybody) was quite surprised.”

Although the sentimental sort, Kavanaugh collected her share of writing awards. Underpaid journalists like giving out and getting stuff like that…in lieu of money.

However, Kavanaugh’s highest profile media trip to the public plate was undoubtedly the time in 2005 when she got called out by the New York Daily News and others for kissing up to infamous Iraq War protester Cindy Sheehan.

“Kavanaugh has a signature style — she often finds ways to soften hard-edged news by looking for heartfelt human-interest angles and writing stories that seem more apt to reassure readers than challenge them,” former Pitch editor Tony Ortega wrote at the time, when reporting on Kavanaugh’s controversy.

Here’s how it went down:

“Hi, Cindy. Thank you for doing this,” Kavanaugh said after being called on to ask Sheehan a question.

cindy-sheehanTo which stunned New York Daily News columnist  Michael Goodwin shot back: “What was she thanking her for? Sheehan does a press conference every day.”

Ortega reported that Goodwin felt Kavanaugh’s greeting was so “naïve-sounding” it felt like she “was thanking Sheehan for the protest, not for simply getting on the telephone.”

“It’s not a professional greeting,”  Goodwin added.

When Kavanaugh rambled on and on about Sheehan being attacked by bloggers and right wing media, motherhood and the like, the moderator interrupted her and told her to cut to the chase and ask her question.

“She has to be aware of the environment she’s in,’ Goodwin told Ortega. “This is a big, big story now. You can’t be so naïve to all of these elements. As a journalist, in her tone and words and in the context of the event — for all of these reasons, she put herself on Sheehan’s side … I think that’s inappropriate, for a reporter to be aligning herself with a subject.’ ”

Next up for Kavanaugh – trombone playing aside?

“She said she doesn’t have a plan,” says the source.

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4 Responses to Hearne: Decorated, Controversial, Trombone Playing Journalist Gives KC Star the Kiss Off

  1. the dude says:

    The march at the KC Death Star continues to a complete AP article and ad takeover.

  2. zipzag says:

    lee hill kavanaugh. I must of missed out on her. Never heard of her.

  3. expat says:

    Sometimes surviving layoffs is worse than getting a package and making a clean break. Especially when morale becomes graveyard-like.

  4. Not quite says:

    She reported on the neo-Nazi rally in Sunday’s paper. Sounds like she’s still there.

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