Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Journalistic Trash

Ah, Tuesday night. I’ve got the house to myself. The lights and television are all turned off. I’m headed downstairs to write this weeks column. This week was supposed to be a snap. Misty, my daughter was due with her second child Monday. We were finally going to find out if she’s having a boy or a girl. So here it is Tuesday night. No baby. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say it’s going to be a girl. And I’ll bet she’s going to be exactly like her mom and her grandmother. She’s already proven she can be stubborn and has no problem with being late. And it’s a safe bet that I’m going to be in a lot of trouble for saying that.
Now I’ve got to find something else to talk about. I know, how about that investigative hit piece KCTV News out of Kansas City did on Phil Kline earlier this week? They’re all up in arms over the fact Kline fired 7 attorneys when he took over the Johnson County District Attorney‘s office. Apparently they want us to believe this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. It’s funny how they ignore the fact that their hero, Paul Morrison came in and fired 25 or 30 people here in Topeka when he took office as our new Attorney General. Like everyone, I thought it was pretty much standard practice to get rid of your opponent’s supporters and replace them with your own people after such an election. Hey, why let a few silly facts get in the way of a good story, especially when your target happens to be a pro-life conservative.
In an attempt to prove Phil Kline isn’t doing his job they used six months worth of his parking records to see when he came and went. Because of the fact that that these records are routinely deleted from their system the records were woefully incomplete. In fact, there were entire weeks and even entire months not accounted for. But that didn’t deter KCTV from manipulating the numbers they had available to them to come to the conclusion that Kline is spending just 29 hours a week at the Johnson County Courthouse. Oh, what a scandal. You don’t suppose a District Attorney might spend part of his day, at least every once in a while somewhere besides the courthouse, somewhere like an office, preparing for cases do you? Nah, that doesn’t fit into the story. During their six month investigation they claim to have spent weeks on end camping out in front of the apartment Kline has leased in Johnson County to prove he isn’t living there. They followed him from his office in Kansas City to his home in Topeka where his family still lives. Their crack, investigative team followed and filmed Kline’s wife dropping off and picking up their daughter from school in Topeka. Oh my, this scandal just keeps getting better. Imagine, a woman married to an elected official having the nerve to take her daughter to school.
You’d think since this report was the product of a six month investigation KCTV could have found out that Phil Kline said from the beginning his family would continue to live in Topeka. Apparently KCTV isn’t satisfied with the amount of time he spends in the apartment he has leased in Johnson County. But it would appear it fulfills the legal requirements to hold the job whether they like it or not. You’d also think that during this six month, in depth investigation they probably should have discovered the fact that Phil Kline has publicly stated he won’t seek another term as Johnson County District Attorney. Actually, Kline said he’s not interested in any public office so I’m really having trouble understanding what this “scandal ridden” story was suppose to accomplish in the first place. From they way I see it, all it accomplished was to make your station look stupid. The investigation looked like it was done by amateurs, the actors, I mean reporters looked like they were amateurs. Maybe one day the adults will take your station over again and you can actual report the news instead of trying to create it.
I’d like to be the first to nominate your so-called investigation for the “Biggest Piece of Journalistic Crap of the Year Award.” Oh yeah, Robert Hecht, I can’t imagine why you’d allow yourself to become a part of this trash. I’m sure I’m not the only one you disappointed today.
Kevin McGinty can be reached at:

1 comment:

  1. If you watched the report, KCTV did the due diligence on the possibility that Mr. Kline may have had good reason to not be spending more than 29 hours a week at work. First, they ask Mr. Kline to explain his hours. Then when they received no response, they interviewed a bipartisan selection of district attorneys form adjoining counties about the nature of the job and where your time needs to be spent.