On Monday, September 14, Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly carefully parsed her words to make Kansans believe 23 people died from COVID over the weekend; only one of those deaths had a weekend date, however, and the finalized KDHE database now shows the total was five. But as shameful as that is, the greater and very dangerous issue is how the Kansas media covered up the governor’s deception and the related threat to liberty.
The state’s major newspapers and TV stations reported about the 23 new deaths over the weekend but after learning how they were deceived on Tuesday – when the Sentinel exposed the truth – they said nothing.
Media doubled-down on the cover-up Wednesday. Not a single reporter questioned Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman at his press conference. Norman clearly reacted to the Sentinel’s discovery; for the first time, he said 37 of the 52 new deaths reported on Wednesday came from reconciling past records and the other 15 were ‘new.’
Reporters didn’t even question the basis for declaring 15 deaths were new, and they should have. KDHE’s chart showing deaths by date of death only listed eight new deaths in September? How can Norman on September 16 claim that people who died in July or August are ‘new’ deaths? Five deaths included in the September 14 total had no date of death listed; if any of those are among the eight new September dates, the number of ‘new’ deaths would be even lower.
Journalists are ethically obligated to ask basic questions of this nature; merely regurgitating anything a government official utters only encourages more deception. The McClatchy-owned Wichita Eagle didn’t even bother mentioning that most of the 52 deaths occurred in prior months, choosing instead to scare people with this knowingly-false headline: “New COVID deaths in Kansas double previous record.”
There are a lot more examples of media covering up government transgressions that were exposed by the Sentinel, including these:
- KDHE ordered about $4 million worth of COVID test kits to be imported from China through an Overland Park company, but the company wasn’t registered as a Kansas corporation when the order was placed. KDHE won’t say how they vetted the company before wiring them $700,000 or whether the test kits were FDA-approved. Newspapers and TV stations know this but won’t report on it.
- Media covered the governor’s press event when she railed against the Brownback administration’s use of no-bid contracts, but they won’t touch the proof that Governor Kelly is approving no-bid contracts.
Imagine the media outrage if these misdeeds were committed by a conservative Republican administration. Different strokes for different folks is the epitome of media bias.
A free, unbiased press is one of the bedrocks of our constitutional republic (please media, stop calling it a democracy; that simple majority-rule form of government is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner).
When media sets journalistic principles aside to push political interests, they put our cherished republic at risk.
(The original version of this column said the Kansas Reflector removed its story saying 23 people died over the weekend, and that I wrote to Editor in Chief Sherman Smith and reporter Tim Carpenter asking to see the story. Smith tweeted after reading the column that they didn’t remove the story and provided a link to this piece, but it makes no mention of the deaths over the weekend. Smith also tweeted that they hadn’t written a story about 23 people dying over the weekend but a reader found that story and sent it to us. At this writing, they haven’t said why they didn’t respond to my email.)