December 7, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Can New Star Editor Live Down Wikileaks Revelation?

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Colleen Nelson has bumpy trip to Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star has recently shaken up its editorial board. Management put out to pasture long time editorial writers who ranged from squishy left, Barbara Shelley and Yael Abouhalkah, to the hard–if confused–left, the palindromic Lewis Diuguid.

The Star retained three, entirely predictable soft left contributors, Mary Sanchez, Steve Kraske, and Dave Helling, as well as progressive curmudgeon cartoonist, Lee Judge, and apolitical video game aficionado Derek Donovan. To firm up the orthodoxy, the Star added the multi-traveled Melinda Hennenberger whose politics resemble everyone else’s on the editorial board, past and present, but whose credentials are better. More on Ms. Hennenberger down the road.

To head up its new editorial team, the Star recruited Colleen McCain Nelson (@colleenmnelson) from the Wall Street Journal. The fact that Nelson is originally from Salina and, we are told, is “a loyal Jayhawk” lent an air of Midwestern moderation to her recruitment. So it must have seemed to Star management, at least until Wikileaks revealed in late October that Nelson was among those reporters who had been favored with a private dinner, chez John Podesta, the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman.

“Hi John – I just wanted to thank you again for your hospitality last night.”

So gushed Ms. Nelson. “You were so kind to open your home to us, and the food was as fantastic as promised (everyone at the White House raves about your dinners). I really appreciated the opportunity to connect with a number of folks from Team Clinton.”

“The evening was a great way to kick off this crazy adventure. Thank you, and I hope we’ll cross paths again soon. Best, Colleen.”

Twitter users were not amused by this much too cozy relationship between reporter and subject. “MSM is taking a huge hit during this election. Never to be trusted again. You should be ashamed of yourself,” wrote one of the more printable responders.

Hoping perhaps to defuse the situation, Nelson posted one of the more hostile comments–“F***ing shill. You are no journalist”–and followed it with her own observations, “This pretty much sums up how my day on Twitter is going.” This gambit only aggravated Twitterdom.

“You should be apologizing for being so unethical and corrupt. You want sympathy? Don’t hold your breath,” wrote one distinctly unsympathetic woman. “Playing the victim and dodging the real corruption issue is a typical #CrookedHillary camp response,” wrote a young man.

On November 14, President Obama made the case for Nelson as a down-the-middle, Midwestern reporter a little harder when he favored her with the first question at his press conference and congratulated her on her move to Kansas City. In one of her summary tweets on that conference, Nelson repaid the intended favor by noting without a hint of skepticism:

“Obama says he’s proud he will leave the White House without a significant scandal, and he urged Trump to take that part of the job seriously.”

Twitterdom was incredulous. “Are you serious?” asked one responder, speaking for many. “What about IRS abuses, Benghazi lies, Illegal and (sic) appointments, fast & furious, Holder, forged ID docs???”

As Nelson has to be aware, only five of the 219 counties in the bi-state area gave Hillary Clinton a majority of their vote, and only three of those are within a two-hour drive of Star headquarters. For the last twenty years or so, the Star has served more as a colonial outpost of the larger progressive empire than as a voice of the people who live here. I suspect Star execs wants to change that. I am just not sure they know how.

The Sentinel exists to show them the way.

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