Hearne: ‘They Said It Couldn’t Be Done’ — Plaza Lights 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 10.55.27 PMWith rare exception, flimsy reporting on the Plaza Lights have been the rule…

You know the game; mindless television news reporters breathlessly painting word pictures of hundreds of thousands of spectators at the Thanksgiving night ceremony, with endless miles of strung out Christmas lights – enough to reach Sedalia (maybe back).

The bigger the yarn, the better and who’s to say different?

Enter intrepid Kansas City Star reporter Jim Fussell and the FYI section.

In a world where corporate layoffs, an aging readership and a tendency to play fast and loose with hyperbole is the rule – not the exception – Fussell and his FYI cohorts took the total high road. Not that their mission – to lay down a blow job for the Plaza Lights – was a particularly noble one. Those kind of decisions tend to come from higher up.

That said, Fussell knew better than to follow the TV news playbook and float a bunch of outdated, phony crowd and lights numbers. Tempting as it may have been.

giant-crowdNot once, did Fussell as much as imply that even tens of thousands would gather at the event ( which draws about 30,000 and change versus the 300,000 figure some have tossed about).

Not even in the “Plaza Lights by the Numbers” sidebar box.

Nup, the only anecdotal Plaza Lighting Ceremony number Fussell is guilty of “reporting,” is 16 – reportedly the number of lights strung up at the first Plaza lighting ceremony.

Think of it, sixteen.

Apparently the Plaza was proud enough of it to carve the number into history.

Ever wonder if they exaggerated? 

Like maybe there were only 12 lights the first time out, but they wanted to be sure people returned the following year.

Good job, Jim…

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7 Responses to Hearne: ‘They Said It Couldn’t Be Done’ — Plaza Lights 2013

  1. CG says:

    Yes and it was Hearne who proved this exaggerated number to be just that when he wrote about it in the Star several times. He shut them up. Its a nice evening down there when its not so cold as tonight. I lived on the Plaza for about 9 years during the mid 90′s to the early 2000′s…the crowds got smaller and smaller. Still a tradition, but with all the football, tv shows and other options it too has lost much of its luster…still a nice tradition hope it continues.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    Free idea for next year’s Plaza Lights exposé: ask the Watson’s girl what she thinks about the size of the crowd.

  3. Reginald "Dis" Sputum says:

    free idea for next year: don’t even mention the stupid goddamn pointless nonsense about crowd estimates that no one gives two squats in a beanfield about

  4. Orphan of the Road says:

    How did The Elders draw compared to Tech Nine?

    You know The Elders’ drummer only got the job after his mom slept with the lead singer?

  5. the dude says:

    By Firewater estimates approximately 2 million people attended give or take 1.95 million or so, who’s really counting, amirite?