In January of this year, I helped launch a regional online news service, the Sentinel, in league with the Kansas Policy Institute.
Our slogan – and our mission – is, “Holding media and government accountable.”
My thinking in taking on this assignment was that there are any number of national sites that perform a watchdog service, but very few on a local level.
This absence of countervailing force allows the major newspaper in a given market to bully the local broadcast media into accepting the reigning liberal orthodoxy.
Although Kansas City straddles two states, each of which gave Trump a 20-point majority, the newspapers in every city in either state might as well be written in New York. The slant is painfully predictable everywhere.
This includes crime reporting. In monitoring local news, I have seen just how the media use crime as a means of advancing and enforcing their own agenda.
For instance, a few years ago the Kansas City Star ran articles almost daily for a month or so about a string of random highway shootings “that struck fear into the hearts of motorists.”
When the shooter was apprehended, however, the Star and the national media promptly lost interest in this man who had terrorized an entire metropolitan area. Want to guess why? Correct, it was his first name, “Mohammed.”
In the three years after his apprehension, the Star has run a total of five articles on Mohammed Whitaker, all perfunctory, e.g., “Two new charges added in highway shooting case.”
By contrast, the Star ran no fewer than 40 articles on the February shooting of an Indian national in suburban Kansas City.
The story had value because the deranged shooter allegedly confused the Indian with an Iranian and yelled, “Go back where you came from.” This allowed the Star and media across the nation to blame President Trump.
That same February, a respectable middle-aged man was shot and killed while out walking his dogs. The Star dedicated a perfunctory paragraph or two to his death before his children called attention to the random slaying of their Vietnam veteran father. That called for another short article.
Tracking individual crimes, usually through the reporting of the TV stations, I noticed that six times within the last year an employee of a single local suburban school district was busted on sex-with-student charges.
At least five of the six have been arrested, but the Star refused to see a pattern. Patterns were reserved for enemies, none more formidable than former Kansas City bishop, Robert Finn, an unapologetic pro-life voice.
A few years into Finn’s tenure, a priest was discovered to be taking lurid photos of unaware little girls at play. At the first whiff of this offense – not nearly as serious as several within the suburban district – the Star started to run above-the-fold headlines and soon called for the bishop’s resignation.
Before the story played itself out, the Star ran more than 100 articles with the bishop at its center. The Star has not so much as mentioned the name of the suburban school superintendent. The media and the public school establishment are political allies.
Remember that dog walker? It turns out that he was not the only one. It was only after the fourth respectable middle-aged white man was murdered on or near the same walking trail that the Star gave any one of the victims more than a paragraph or two.
On Memorial Day, a fifth white man was found dead along a walking trail in the same general neighborhood. The Star and the Kansas City police went to great length to assure the public that the fifth case was not like the other four, but after the fourth killing, they assured the public that the fourth was not like the other three.
In America’s newsrooms, it is considered bad taste to raise the possibility that someone might be targeting white men. I have to give the Sentinel some credit for prodding the Star into paying at least some attention.
The killer remains at large. I suspect there are those in the media who hope that the killer continue to remain at large. With the Sentinel looking over their shoulder, it will be a little harder to bury another “Mohammed” identification.
Media wishing to interview Jack Cashill, please contact [email protected].