Hearne: Meet the Busy Bodies

We’ve all been here before…

Stuck next to some annoying know-it-all or coworker. Maybe a stranger sitting next to you at a bar or whatever. And no matter what the topic, they blather on about the way things should be, how everybody is supposed to think and how they should live their lives.

They’re always right, we’re wrong.

Life of the party types, right?

Look, nobody wants to be spoon fed somebody else’s opinion all the time – it’s boring.

But don’t try and tell that to the new editorial board at the Kansas City Star.

So in an era where we’re flooded with opinions masquerading as news, the gang that can’t quite shoot straight at 18th and Grand is doubling down on setting its waning readership straight on every topic imaginable.


“Public spaces, faith monuments don’t mix.”

Good one.

Who doesn’t like being lectured about religious freedom?

BTW, according to the Star religious symbols on public grounds “are always unconstitutional.”

So they figured a fix.

Move all religious monuments to “religious property.”

Another headline: “Make Kansas City rental housing safer.”

Genius. Bout time someone thought of that one!

“Tragic death shows need for workplace safety rules.”

There’s a no brainer if ever I heard one.

And when it comes to piling on, nobody does it better that our newsies downtown.

“Remove our Confederate monument.”

Hey, who could argue with, “there’s a difference between remembering and revering.”

Assuming course that you buy into folks driving down Ward Parkway by that innocuous “Loyal Women of the Old South” monument and wrong-headedly paying homage to slavery in the Old South.

Besides, who needs that kinda PDA in this day and age?

Except people barely notice the “loyal women” statues or give them a second thought.

It’s a classic case of needless hand wringing by a handful of writers who don’t have anything better to do, other than maybe report some news.

Another genius headline: “In Kansas and Missouri government isn’t all bad.”

Good to know. Except it rings hollow given the Star editorial board’s daily micromanaging and second guessing of anybody in politics who doesn’t see eye-to-eye with them.

And after decades of zero oversight on the 18th and Vine Jazz District (and millions of questionably spent taxpayer dollars) it’s high time somebody at least mentioned that:

“Jazz museum officials must hustle to right their financial ship.”

Star editorial board to the rescue!

Another long overdue, unasked question: “Are Kansas students prepared for life?”

Ponder that if you dare.

And the new KCI airport promotional media campaigns should only be “factual, fair and focused on the future,” the Star insists.

“Voters won’t be fooled by flashy slogans and aging sports stars. They want the truth.”

Heck, the public’s been getting fooled by sports stars and flashy slogans since the dawn of advertising. That’s why dude’s like Steve Glorioso exist.

But hold it a sec.

Do my eyes deceive or did the editorial board just take a gutless cheap shot at legendary Royals star George Brett for being old and out of it? Looks like it to me.

Speaking of dissing the 64 year-old Brett…

Since when did the arbiters of political incorrectness at the newspaper deem it okay to demean senior citizens for expressing opinions?

The bottom line:

It’s a damn good thing that after laying off the lion’s share of its reporters and columnists, KC’s newspaper of record is able to afford a new team of six opinion makers for those of us who still can’t quite figure out how to think for ourselves or what to do next in our lives.

Sounds like a fun gig, too!

Otherwise how would we find out stuff like that it’s a good idea to allow guns in the party zone in Westport late on weekend nights?

Or how about this recent headline:

“We’ve never seen anything like Harvey before, but we will again”

Since when did stating the obvious justify handsome paychecks from a failing business?

All of which calls to mind the axiom, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

The $64 million question:

Is a 25 year-old study suggesting older readers like editorials – more than sports -relevant?

And do readers actually believe that a handful of writers who mostly never had real jobs and who dabble in shoot-from-the-hip observations really know what they’re talking about?

Case in point, the Star’s Mary Sanchez editorial about not allowing Westport to privatize its streets on weekend nights in order to keep guns out.

“They blew it on the Westport call,” says Westport community leader Bill Nigro.  “What makes her think she’s an expert on the security of our neighborhood when she told me afterwards that she hadn’t even been down here? And what makes a bunch of writers experts on everything in this city to begin with – are you kidding me?”

Nigro’s advice to Star editorial know-it-alls:

“Get out and do somebody else’s job sometime so you can really experience it. Or at least do your homework on it.”

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21 Responses to Hearne: Meet the Busy Bodies

  1. Greedo says:

    Still writing about Bill Nigro after all these years? That must be hard.

    • admin says:

      Still choking out thoughtless, unprovocative one liners, Greedy?

      • CG says:

        So lets put Bill Nigro down right. A guy who busts his ass and usually for no dough, to keep our only top entertainment district going full throttle…so he’s a nothing right. Boy as I always say the do nothings like to judge the few who do it all..that would be Bill Nigro in Westport.

  2. Lydia says:

    My beef with their editorials is that they are not researched — at all. They just emote and regurgitate the obvious. The writing is intellectually sloppy and quite often contains internal inconsistencies. Junior varsity. How far the great have fallen, and McClatchy pushed them over the cliff. An embarrassment.

    • admin says:

      Lydia gets an Academy Award – or some such distinction – for nailing it in far fewer words than I was able to…

      The former editorial boards were far more thoughtful and did a fair amount of reporting before they emptied their noggins onto the pages of the newspaper.

      These guys may not be entirely clueless, but they’re not doing enough homework, research, you-name-it to give readers the impression that they halfway know what they’re talking about.

      It’s actually kind of embarrassing

  3. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    Interesting opinion column about opinion columns, HCJr. The old axiom certainly is true. Everybody really does have one.

  4. Rainbow Man says:

    The Star is so predictable. All I need to see is the headline in a Mary Sanchez column and know exactly what the content will be.
    The Omaha World Herald and Des Moines Register are exponentially better papers than the KC Star.
    The Ed Board and management have always been arrogant elitists. They have an agenda.
    If Clay Chastain carried 10 children out of a burning building The Star would probably say he started the fire.
    The Star won’t admit we have a segregated city. That would be too embarrassing when they go to out of town award banquets.
    They drove off all of their best talent and kept who they could pay peanuts. They are paranoid of ticking off certain advertisers. They were way late to the game in developing an on-line strategy. I can go on and on and on.

    • admin says:

      I agree with you on almost everything, Rainbow…

      However, they were cutting edge in TRYING to develop a viable;e online strategy.

      Trouble is, none of the newspapers I know of have been able to coming close to replicating the kind of profits they were used to making in print.

      And from the looks of it, it can’t be done.

      So one of two things; either they will have to continue to pare down until they have an economically manageable workforce (and sadly, they still have a long way to go) and/or at some future point somebody comes up with a way to make substantially more money online.

      Either way, it’s a tough proposition.

      And they certainly aren’t helping themselves by allowing a handful of over the hill, die hard liberal extremists to completely domination the option section (plus it’s not like the news side is that much better).

      Trouble is the guys at the top are still reliving the Watergate era in their minds and lost in the process are balanced opinions.

  5. Frank says:

    I’ve read only the first 5 paragraphs before commenting here. Those first 5 paragraphs were tongue in cheek irony, correct?

    • Frank says:

      I mean, you do realize you’re talking about yourself. Granted, what you are saying about them might be true, but it might be more palatable coming from someone who wasn’t exactly like them in every word of the first 5 paragraphs.

      • Harwood Benjamin says:

        Longtime readers have come to accept that self-awareness has never been one of HCjr’s strong suits.

  6. boom boom says:

    AMIN: yOU REMIND OF MCGREGOR in the maywether fight.
    You come out swinging….throw punches to the wind…and hopefully one lands that
    has impact. Maybe one out of 20 shots hit the mark but at least you’re trying.
    Like the westport parts….you landed some good shots there….because you and the glaze still are chasing those young skirts.
    Glazer ain’t got much comedy happening any more but kcc is the
    new “go to” place to get a good laugh.
    Any way still a decent piece but you’re way out of your league.
    Where’s southy? where’s wislon. Did they audition for America’s got Talent and fail and are in depression. They added so much interesting banter to this site…that
    I really do miss them.
    Have a great labor day and hope things aare well for you and the twins!
    Boom Boom!

  7. Goose13 says:

    The board is a joke. Anyone under 40? Kraske writes about KCMO. Why doesn’t he write about Johnson County where he lives? He points the finger at KCMO but ignores JOCO. He is such a liberal who lives in a city that is 96% white.

    • admin says:

      That’s true…

      But from experience, reporters and columnists at the Star – from the era that Steve came from and before – were steeped in a news culture that was KCMO centric with Johnson County taking a distant back seat.

      Which explains in no small part why Steve Rose was able to grow the Johnson County Sun from next to nothing into a halfway viable “newspaper)

      Unfortunately, he was never able to put it on truly solid financial grounds which explains largely why it is no longer here.

      He did grow it enough to cash in for several million bucks shortly before the newsprint biz began its downward spiral

  8. boom boom says:

    who reads the star? old worn out guys andwannabes. You’re past your prime there

  9. OPKS Jimbo says:

    I realize that the board doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the community but would it kill them to have someone on their local editorial board with one or more of the following ideological positions:
    Pro Second Amendment,
    Anti illegal immigration,
    Not reflexively anti Kobach or Brownback,
    Pro Trump
    Receptive to the idea that the KS Supreme Court shouldn’t be writing the KS school funding formula.

    These positions are not outside the mainstream of their current, or in my case former, readers. As a soon to be 60 year old college graduate, I’m in their target demo but I dropped the Star in 2008.

    • admin says:

      You nailed it, Jimbo…

      Here’s the amazing part; that nobody anywhere near the top in the organization has even a thimble full of enough common sense to figure that out.

      The current board (and truth be known most of the past ones) have basically been little more than circle jerks.

  10. Laura B. says:

    The writer’s line: “Since when did stating the obvious justify handsome paychecks from a failing business?” and this response by admin: “… lost in the process are balanced opinions.”

    That’s the point of their editorials. By stating the obvious and keeping their opinions balanced, the Star offends no one. I’d rather they write nothing than the milquetoast opinions I read in the Star.

    The idea that a writer must know something about the subject he/she writes about is buttressed by the quotes from Bill Nigro. That makes a strong argument that the Star Editorial Board lacks depth.

    Having said that, the people who write about sports on this site don’t seem to have a background in the sports industry. No one can know everything, but the sports opinions on this site would be made stronger by including quotes from experts in the field, such as Hearne has done here in this piece.

    • admin says:

      Hard to argue your point on sports, Laura…

      That said, at least Craig has like a zillion years of closely following football, baseball and local college basketball…which is really all they pretty much all do.

      To that point, Steven St. John on WHB may pass for a sports expert but in another life his only credentials to getting that radio gig on WHB was calling in to local sports talk shows like Don Fortune and Kevin Kietzman and spouting off as MU Dawg.

      Then another non expert – Greg Hall – landed a gig on WHB and brought St. John in as his sidekick/go-fer.

      Until a few weeks later when Greg got canned for insubordination and Sat. John inherited the gig with less experience than I have IQ points (and we all know how lacking I am in that department.

      Most sports experts it seems are basically groupies with either connections or a lucky break

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