Thursday, October 29, 2009

Worst newspaper?

The Kansas City Star may be the most unprofessional big-city newspaper in the United States.

I follow sports, so it has been hard to avoid the stories about Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson. Because of the vague references to "anti-gay slurs", I had not paid attention. "There is no there, there," so to speak.

Heh. Then I got intrigued because the story just won't go away, with hundreds of articles and at least one hundred blog references. What did he actually say?

Well, Star reporter Kent Babbs says he called a Twitter follower's profile a "fag pic". Okay, not nice, not a word I'd use at all. Strike it from the language. And, definitely, stop following him on Twitter. Ah, but Johnson didn't stop there. He called the same guy a "Christopher Street boy". Here's where I don't know the rules. Is that an epithet if it is false? Is it an epithet if it is true? Is it just a clever way of saying 'gay'? Is it okay if a gay guy uses it like it's okay for Johnson to use 'boy'?

Is it cause for suspension, a $600,000 fine in effect? Maybe I'm wrong, and the National Football League is not so homophobic that it makes 'don't ask, don't tell' look like a model of tolerance and enlightenment.

Oh, more tweet from Johnson: "My father played for the coach from 'rememeber the titans'. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn."

Now we're getting somewhere; that's cause for a chewing out at the very least. Maybe the reporter can enlighten us further. "Johnson continued the rant," he writes (impartially), "and, in later responses directed toward Johnson's Twitter followers, contained inflammatory remarks about gays." Hmm. Someone has got an agenda here. He skipped right over the part about the coach and the team.

Time to make the Star the story: According to Babbs, the next day:
"Johnson, sitting next to second-year running back Jamaal Charles, told reporters that "I'm not talking till Thursday," his usual day of speaking with reporters.

Then Johnson turned away and whispered.

"Get your faggot ass out of here," he said.
Well, prove it Babbs. He says he can, because there is a tape:
Star reporter Kent Babb, standing immediately to Johnson’s right, heard the comment and checked his tape recorder to verify the offending words. Later Monday, several Star editors confirmed it by reviewing the audio multiple times.
The link is to a two second clip from the tape. I've listened to it multiple times also, and I can't understand the first part of his sentence. Listen for yourself.

So I'll repeat it: Babbs appears to have an agenda. Maybe the editors do too. I might believe otherwise if they post what was said before the two seconds they choose to spoon-feed to the public.

That doesn't make Johnson the victim and he doesn't wear a white hat in this movie. He was stupid, and he comes off like the typical spoiled sports star. He's probably on a shorter leash because of his earlier legal problems.

Now I've wasted as much time on this episode as everyone else.

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