Their meal of choice: Raw meat, as in off-the-record dirt that makes their jobs easier and more fun. Pretty simple, really.
And few folks in the Cowtown were more adept at feeding and kissing up to reporters than political hit man Steve Glorioso.
Hence the smattering of posthumous attaboys that have been cropping up since the G Man checked out last week. Pretty much all served up by – none other than (you guessed it) – journalists!
Hey, it’s cheaper than sending funeral flowers!
All of that said, don’t be fooled: Glorioso was not one of the so-called “good guys”
He was little more than an amoral, ruthless political insider with zero compunction about lying and breaking what few rules there are in politics today. All in the interest of making a fist full of dollars and harvesting whatever smug satisfaction garnered from his insidious gamesmanship.
“He was just a political hack for whoever paid him the most money,” says Westport businessman Bill Nigro. “He’d do whatever he had to do to make a buck and it didn’t matter to him who got steamrolled or if it was good for Kansas City.”
The nicest thing Nigro can say about Glorioso?
“I don’t know if I can think of anything,” Nigro says. “I’m glad he’s gone.”
As for me…
He rolled into our dinky office one day in 1986 bearing gifts; a pre written political hit piece, complete with editorial cartoon art.
All we had to do, Steve told us, was publish it without attributing it to him.
Uh, sorry Steve…that’s not the way journalism’s supposed to work.
Glorioso however saw nothing wrong with political hackery disguised as actual news.
A couple years later he took that same ethical philosophy to the next level by buying alt weekly The New Times from Crossroads KC promoter Brett Mosiman.
Unfortunately the cost of deceiving the public proved far too great – the New Times and Pitch were serious red ink machines back then – and almost immediately Glorioso was beside himself trying to dump the publication off on some other sucker (which he did to an unsuspecting local businessman who ran it for a year or two before shutting it down).
And let the record show that Glorioso was a master schmooze artist when it came to kissing up to younger writers and journalist wannabes.
He would accompany my inexperienced, fledgling Pitch staff for drinks after work to Lucille’s on Westport Road where he would weave inspiring tales involving his brushes with JFK and other Democratic luminaries from the 1960s and 70s..
I remember early on in my time at the Kansas City Star when the editor issued a decree that because Glorioso had become so skilled at spoon feeding and hoodwinking reporters he was banned as a source.
That’s how good he was at his deceptive craft.
“He was a good political consultant, one of the better ones in Kansas City,” Nigro says. “I’m not going to deny that.”
I remember talking several years ago to former Star columnist/editor/ publisher Art Brisbane about Glorioso. And asking, what lead to him becoming so jaded and conniving when at the same time he could be so charming and interesting.
Brisbane’s answer: That early on Steve had been inspired by the Democrat political heroes from the ’60s, but somewhere along the way he lost his moral compass and got caught up in the win at all cost aspect of the game.
So let the piling on with plaudits continue – the post mortem high fives from all the political writers whose daily work grinds Glorioso made so much easier.
But let’s at least call a spade a spade…