Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Lies, Misinformation, Mischaracterization and Just Plain Rudeness

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lies, Misinformation, Mischaracterization and Just Plain Rudeness

I hesitate to send web traffic to the Pitch, as it's officially sunk into the depths of the media septic tank. Unfortunately, when media is a bad pollutant, it seeps into the groundwater, causing widespread damage.

That said, I bring you the Pitch's screed against decent humans. To say I'm disappointed in this pile of garbage entitled, "The Dump List: The 2016 Players We'd Set Out by the Curb If We Could," is an understatement. It hits so far below the belt, it's undeserving of newsprint. It's undeserving of the landfill where it will eventually reside.

Ironically, the only part worthy of spilling ink, is the part which puts Shawnee's landfill on the list. This segment of the list uses actual facts and truth to make the point that Waste Management, the company that runs the local landfill, belongs on the trash heap. This segment is how editorials should be done. The rest of the rant? Not so much.

"...Some of our area trash was distractingly, upsettingly, stupidly trashy..." it reads. 

Only second to Waste Management on the list is Kansas City Star publisher Tony Berg. It seems like a conflict of interest that two of the people credited discredited with writing the list are former Star employees. One, Karen Dillon, was let go in 2013. I have no insider reasons as to why she was let go in kind of gross circumstance. According to one writer, she and another staff member were told that they had to choose between the two of them who would go and who would stay. My guess is that both journalists were expensive, and the Star back in 2013--and probably still today--is broke. Dillon, an award-winning investigative reporter, was expensive. If the Star hired someone to replace her, they paid that person half of what Dillon was probably earning to cover twice as many stories per week. That's a guess. Dillon didn't deserve that treatment, but then, neither did Tony Berg, who the Pitch took to task yesterday. (I have great respect for Dillon's work, and I sincerely hope her only hand in that dumpster fire of a dump list was the part about Waste Management.)

The second former Star employee credited with the dump list is Barb Shelly. An editorial writer, Shelly has never met a conservative she likes. I'd be surprised if she has any Republican friends in real life, and that's just sad. The Pitch story says she didn't write any of the rant related to Tony Berg. OK. Fine. Still, she wasn't summarily relieved of her responsibilities because the Star was making a rightward shift; she retired. She left of her own accord, probably because she got tired of watching the continual bloodletting and was at a point in her career where she could walk away. The only leftist let go from the paper's editorial team--to my limited knowledge--was Yael Aboulhalkah. Lewis Diguid resigned. Yes, a questionable column suggesting that women can prevent rapes slipped onto the Star's pages. However, the Pitch used that column to bash Midwest Voices contributors as having questionable IQs. So, the Pitch resorted to name calling as there's no evidence to suggest that is the case. The Pitch's reasoning for suggesting that the Star publisher belongs on its dump list? Berg ran syndicated columnists Jonah Goldberg and Charles Krauthammer columns, and they are conservatives. I would argue that the Pitch seems perfectly willing to pick up the mantle as the socialist paper of record in the area; Pitch staff should be happy that the competition may be bowing out of that race. (The jury is still out. There's a new editorial page editor, so who knows?). 

The Pitch also detests Shawnee Mission School District superintendent Jim Hinson. Hinson wouldn't let people wear safety pins as a political statement in schools, and he got a raise. I'm not a fan of Hinson getting a meaty raise when teachers won't, but that's not his fault: board of education members deserve the blame there. I suspect the Pitch's real ire at Hinson has a whole lot more to do with the fact that he subtly stepped off the liberal reservation for about 5 minutes back in May and June. Hinson told people that Shawnee Mission schools would open no matter what the Supreme Court and Kansas Legislature did. I would think that a superintendent who removes students from political pawn status in favor of educating them would be revered. This was the Pitch's attempt to let all education bureaucrats know they need to stay in lockstep. For the children's sake, I hope the veiled attempt fails.

The fact that the Pitch couldn't let a private citizen who didn't have that great of a television appearance rest is evidence of just how much its staff hates conservatives. Vicki Sciolaro, former chair of Kansas' Third District Republican Party, didn't deserve inclusion on this list of rage. It's not like she's out seeking additional television appearances. She no longer holds the position as district chair, so there's no need to wish her upon a pile of garbage. It's also telling that the Pitch brought up a 2014 misstep of the former vice chair of the Third Congressional District. What does 2014 have to do with 2016? Very little, unless your goal is to simply trash Republicans in general.

If anyone ever needed proof that Republicans will never be given a pass for out-liberaling the liberals, it's the inclusion of former Sen. Bob Dole on the Pitch's list. The Pitch suggests Dole has no dignity or honor because he lobbies and supported Trump in order to curry favors. Um. That's how lobbying works, though it's a little unfair to suggest that was Dole's only reason for supporting Trump. Dole has always been a Republican, though a somewhat questionable one in the last few years. So his loyalty to the party isn't earth shattering. So, dear Pitch writers, I'm still waiting for your indignation at the KNEA, the Kansas Contractor's Association, or any other lobbying arm with a cozy relationship to anyone in power. 

You'll note there are no Democrats or liberals on the list. Despite epic losses in Missouri, the Missouri paper couldn't find a single Democrat politician to blast. However, their work with Kansas wasn't finished. In addition to Dole, Pitch writers also sucker punched Mary Pilcher-Cook, Melika Willoughby, and Kris Kobach.

Their beef with Kobach appears to be that he's handsome and telegenic. I mean, I'm a little jealous, too, but I contain my rage at life's little indignities. Oh, and they're stompy, stompy furious that Kobach has the gall to have attended Harvard and Yale and not come out the other side as a raging liberal. 

Pitch writers disparaged Mary Pilcher-Cook for comments she made early this year about the link between birth control and eugenics. I'll simply say this, her comments were mischaracterized in the Pitch editorial. Go ahead and read this story about California's forced sterilization, err its eugenics program. Pilcher-Cook simply suggested that government treads on dangerous ground when it promotes contraceptives. To hear the Pitch and other media outlets tell it, that's not what she said. This is unsurprising. Shelly has had a hate on for Pilcher-Cook for quite some time.

The most disgusting part of the Pitch piece, however, were the unkind, unmerited words directed at Melika Willoughby, Gov. Sam Brownback's Director of Communications. I have been critical of Willoughby in the past, mostly because I want conservatives to excel at carrying our message, and well, the Governor's Office isn't exactly known as a hot bed of good public relations. That said, Pitch writers didn't include her on the list because they think she hasn't done her job well. It appears they included her because she's a Christian. The article's main beef is her person Twitter profile where she describes herself as "Redeemed sinner. Pursuing Jesus. Loving the orphan. American." I do not know why a personal Twitter profile is worthy of public ridicule, unless you're opposed to Christianity in general. Oh wait. I'm pretty sure that's the complaint. If that's the case, Pitch writers should at least be honest about it. They hold discriminatory, exclusionary, anti-Christian views. Noted. 

In the past, the Pitch has done some great investigative and noteworthy work. They've done themselves a disservice by sinking to such name calling, abusive depths, and that's a real shame.

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