Hearne: Enough With Boring, Filler Columns, Mary Sanchez Needs to Grow or Go

635848489319075339-sanchez-mary-kc-2Once upon a time, there was a Kansas City Star columnist almost nobody above the age of 15 or under 70 ever much read…

Perhaps you’ve heard of her, Jeneé Osterheldt.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Jenee and she’s a perfectly wonderful young woman. Attractive, smart, fun, one couldn’t say enough kind words about her.

Just one problem…

While she definitely could write, she really didn’t have much of any consequence to say. And for her troubles she was rewarded by some of the cruelest online butchering by the Pitch and other social media “watchdogs” who loved little more than to pillory poor Jenee.

I held off criticizing her publicly as long as I could – given our having worked together for many years – until it was impossible not to. Such as the time she wrongly and naively went to bat for St. Louis bad boy Michael Brown a couple years back. Osterheldt jumped on Brown’s bandwagon well before critical facts of the case were learned in a classic case of misguided racism.

Well, Osterheldt’s gone now to the land of free rides where she will study – wait for it – “theories of discrimination.”


Unfortunately, about all that’s left in the way of news columnists at 18th and Grand – aside from former TV news politico Dave Helling – is a woman named Mary Sanchez.

That’os right, and if there’s one thing the Star doesn’t need it’s a buzz kill column on the inside front page. Seriously.

Yet for some mysterious reason, that’s exactly what the local newspaper of record has – in the form of Sanchez’s “what’s wrong with the world today” opinion column.

For years, Sanchez has served as the newsroom’s titular woman/hispanic columnist. To understand her longevity and value to a core group of largely aging white male editors, you have to understand that diversity – finding slots for women and people of color – has been a longstanding obsession at 18th and Grand since the early 1990s when I first joined the newspaper.

In a nutshell, the Star has a 25-plus year tradition of hiring and promoting underwhelming women and people of color, based largely on political correctness and the desire to have enough minorities on the news staff to enable them to preach and talk down to conservative Kansas Citians.

Dare I rattle off the names some of the lesser writers?

Besides Sanchez and Osterheldt, try Jennifer Howe, Lewis Diuguid and Steve Penn.

All of them ascended the ranks of the newspaper, inexplicably managing to survive despite having very little in the way of appeal to most readers.

However, not only has Sanchez managed to survive, she’s now the poster child for weakly thought out, preachy columns championing boring, liberal points of view.

On the inside front page of the newspaper, for gosh sakes.



Worse yet, Sanchez is now what passes for the primary news section columnist, even though about the last thing one expects to find in one of her columns is anything approaching actual local news and commentary.

Anybody remember a dude named Art Brisbane?

As a columnist, Brisbane married local and regional news and views and kept Star readers abreast of anything and everything going on in the metro area. He kept them guessing as well. You never knew what or who might show up in one of his colorful and informative columns.



Brisbane didn’t waste readers time wagging his finger at them, telling them how to be politically correct whether they liked it or not. Nor did he prattle on and on bashing or lauding whoever was running for president.

He informed and entertained.

Which is about the last thing on Sanchez’s column writing checklist.

Her mission is to state the obvious and then basically instruct and/or scold readers who may not see things her way.

Take Sanchez’ column, “Sexually assaulted women in jails, prisons need attention, not apathy.”


Or how about, “Donald Trump can’t fix what he doesn’t know about African-American, Latino voters.”

There’s a riveting topic for a local news section columnist.

And speaking of topics of interest to area readers, who cares what Sanchez happens to think about “Donald Trump hiring a woman to clean up his mess” or her Clinton endorsement column, “Hillary Clinton to Donald trump: Game On!”

“The contenders are formally set for the 2016 presidential election: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump,” Sanchez writes. “Their vast differences in political experience, knowledge of global affairs and the U.S. economy — not to mention personal maturity — make Clinton the easy choice at the polls.”

Or how about, “Donald Trump’s strongman fantasy is deeply un-American.”

Am I mistaken, or don’t those last few columns belong on the newspaper’s editorial page? 

What makes Star editors think those topics belong in the main news section of the newspaper or that local readers want yet another helping of liberal news bias as opposed to actual news?

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Check out Sanchez’ column, “Fear of a female administration? We’ll see

“The unsettling reality is that Donald Trump can get elected to the White House by being a jerk,” Sanchez preaches. “Hillary Clinton cannot. Voters need to like female candidates more than they do male candidates. They can dislike a man running for office and still regard him as qualified and electable.”

Not to leave any anti Donald Trump stones unturned, on Saturday Sanchez ranted that, “Trump’s tirade sells out America’s finest ideals.”

All of which makes it painfully obvious that there is no liberal bias in the mainstream news media.

Seriously though, who at 18th and Grand thinks Sanchez endless pro Hillary, anti Trump rants are the stuff readers want and belong in the news – not editorial section – of the Star?

Here’s the bottom line: just about anybody can cock back and rattle off what they think about the current state of the world. That’s why God invented barstools.

How about giving readers some news and information mixed with scintillating opinions about people, places and things going on in and around Kansas City? And leave the Trump bashing in the capable hands of MSNBC and CNN.

Just a thought…

Or how about this; maybe give Sanchez a blog and see how few hits she gets!

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14 Responses to Hearne: Enough With Boring, Filler Columns, Mary Sanchez Needs to Grow or Go

  1. Mark O. says:

    This all seems like sour grapes since you were let go by this employer.

    Ever thought about moving on? I guess the new job isn’t going so well if you’re still hung up on your former coworkers. Maybe you might want to talk to a counselor about all of this instead of this oversharing.

    • Eli says:

      Leave the man alone. He happens to be right.

      Must be a Mary fan.

    • John Altevogt says:

      This is the standard Star response to critiques. The person has sour grapes and is mentally ill. No, The Star is just a POS and evidence of that abounds and indeed, is intriguing owing to the stupidity with which the paper is (mis)managed.

  2. Goose13 says:

    There have been more layoffs at the Star the past day. People in delivery with close to thirty years.

  3. chuck says:

    Mary fits right in with her lumpen, liberal, lickspittle , Lena Dunham-4th estate luminaries, whose objectivity long ago flunked the laugh test.

    Dead on the money Hearne.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Diversity by gender, ethnic group or pigmentation doesn’t mean diversity of thought by any means.

      When the President appointed a Muslim to the federal bench the talk was all about diversity. And yet he was but another lawyer from Yale or Harvard.

      No need to speak of the NY Times reporter who took Gary Johnson to the woodshed for his Aleepo gafe and his own ignorance on the topic.

      Biggest complaint from Angry Old White Men on today’s KC Star, not enough paper to wrap the garbage in anymore.

  4. chuck says:

    Seeking a weekend break from his campaign rallies; Donald Trump jetted to his yacht, which was docked off the coast of Italy. He invited Pope Francis and the press corps on board for a Saturday afternooncruise. It was a rather windy day. The Pope’s little hat, his zucchetto, was blown from his head and into the water.

    A crewman began lowering a boat to retrieve the zucchetto. Trump told the crewman not to bother. Trump climbed down the yacht’s ladder; walked across the waves, picked up the zucchetto; walked back to the yacht and handed it to the Pope. The Pope and the press corps were amazed!

    Donald Trump could actually walk on water!

    Speculation immediately began as to how ABC, CNN, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post and New York Times would report this miraculous event to the rest of the world.

    The next morning the New York Times headline read . . . .


  5. Newbaumturk says:

    Good article. As a person who truly loved reading the newspaper daily and subscribed for years, I hate what the Star has become and looks determined to keep getting worse. Less and less content for more and more money each has month is not a good business model. I’m not a conservative person but when good columnists get let go to fill some ridiculous minority quota who all seem to only write about how terrible white people are then you’ve lost this customer.

  6. CG says:

    I can verify Hearne is the number one sales guy at his post. He in fact is a record breaking employee at BMW and then some. So its not a money issue. Hearne was an important part of the Stars final years of being a ‘hit’ paper, the 90’s into the 2000’s. He along with household name writers like Jason Whitlock and others were like local celebrities in KC…those days are gone….sadly, never to come back it seems…and yes its sad…very sad.

  7. One Guy says:

    I think Diuguid can occasionally pen a good column. But as far as Sanchez and Osterheldt, they bring nothing. Still I would probably still subscribe if Yael and Lee Judge went away. It hurts me not to subscribe, I love the concept of the newspaper, but the Star is a hate filled, preachy rant that quit serving the public ages ago and cheers on KC City Hall’s corruption and incompetence.

    Nobody employed there should be writing anything national, but that’s a lot easier than going out and talking to residents about what’s actually occurring in the community. Reporting is hard work, which is why virtually nobody does it anymore.

  8. John Altevogt says:

    Anytime I read one of the boring and predictable opinion pieces in The Star I can’t help but wonder how many good young reporters they could hire with that money and actually provide our community with real news.

    I can’t recall ever reading anything Sanchez wrote. I occasionally read Lewis for a giggle. My favorite quote is “negative diversity yields negative productivity” (that’s close). Try operationalizing those concepts if you will other than to use Lewis as a reason for the former and an example of the latter.

    I should also mention that you missed one of the biggest affirmative action babies ever to exist at the Star and that would be Miriam Pepper. God only knows what that narrow minded bimbo did during the time she allegedly ran the editorial page, but it was no where near what her predecessor Rich hood produced, or Rich’s should have been replacement, Steve Winn produced. But alas Rich was run out the door by your favorite flame and former lawn jockey at the River Club, Art Brisbane.

    It was Art who turned The Star from being an actual newspaper into a handmaiden to corruption for every scam the local metro area establishment created. Like his namesake, Art muttered leftist platitudes out of one side of his mouth whilst serving as the biggest establishment whore the community has ever seen. the good news is that he’s gone.

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