Building Block

Edifice wrecks: Congratulations once again to the Pitch and Joe Miller for exposing the TRUTH about an important matter that The Kansas City Star did not properly investigate and report (“If It Ain’t Broke,” January 29).

The Pitch is the only news source for greater Kansas City that can be trusted to do an in-depth investigation about matters that are so important to the public welfare.

Thanks, too, to Deb Hermann and Jim Glover for the efforts they have put forth in insisting that the truth be told. I hope they are on the City Council for a very long time.

Nancy Seats, President, Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

Eureka, Missouri

Wide Right

Ball carrier: Kendrick Blackwood and Andrew Miller’s profile of Jason Whitlock (“Big Sexy,” January 29) was a hatchet job and still another example of Pitch articles that promise depth but deliver only length. (Your masthead lists editors, but is ANYONE actually editing that stuff?)

In addition to lifting only negative parts from a fine profile of Whitlock written by a student of mine, their profile offers whiny complaints about him from the KC sports establishment and art that focuses on his ethnicity and ample girth.

As Jason’s own mom said in that earlier profile, some folks think her son is a “butthole,” while others view him as “a breath of fresh air.” What is fresh about Whitlock is his willingness to criticize local sports icons while Jason’s fictitious foil, B.A. Homer, and the army of fawning fans masquerading as journalists kiss jock ass.

Even at his own newspaper, the best sports reporting in the last ten years (the NCAA series by Mike McGraw) had to be written by a news-side reporter rather than a sportswriter. Whitlock has succeeded because of intelligence, hard work and a willingness in his columns to go beyond sports to discuss race, the death penalty and topics that other KC sportos won’t touch, such as the obvious problem that Jason shares with KU’s football coach — namely obesity.

While Whitlock and his critics all write about athletes with expertise in handling balls, Jason seems to be the only KC sportswriter who has a pair of his own.

Ted Frederickson, professor of journalism

University of Kansas


Editor’s note: Blackwood and Miller “lifted” nothing from Brandon Stinnett’s story; rather, they credited the KU journalism student both times they quoted from his piece. However, the story did give Whitlock incorrect credit for his two marathon runs. He finished 5 miles of the course in 2002 and 11 miles in 2003.

Running gag: I don’t know if I’d equate “visible” and “sight gag” with “celebrity” status, but if that’s so, nothing says more (and less) about J.W.’s “celebrity status” than his role in the KC marathon.

One time, I e-mailed the man himself and asked if he would be a better “role model for minorities” (his term) if he completed one of the shorter races rather than dropping out and hitching a ride (you know, showing determination and a sense of completion, and all that), and he said the mayor wanted him to “do the marathon.” Now, I’m not expecting Jared from Subway out of J.W., but jeez, what kind of a role model for fighting obesity and hypertension among minorities stops to eat at Chubby’s, Town Topic and wherever else during a marathon? And the sad part is, he actually does have the clout to be a role model and influence people to make lifestyle changes, but he doesn’t take advantage of it. He pimps the marathon, yes, but not nearly enough, and when he does, it’s always about himself. It seems J.W. wants to be sort of the George Foreman of running around here, but I think he actually needs to complete something first.

That being said, I admit I do read his columns and agree with him quite a bit of the time, except when he belabors the obvious. But certainly one of his values as a journalist lies in the fact that he can rag on Michael Irvin, Carmento Floyd and Amy Stewart (and they sure deserve it!) without being called a racist, and in that sense he can say what others are afraid to say but wish they could. (Could anyone else have written that “crackuhs be shakin'” column? Could anyone else talk about Irvin’s “shucking and jiving”?) And in today’s PC, feel-good world of journalism, that is a value to treasure indeed! But if he really wants to become a giant among talk-radio hosts, and not just literally, please have him follow Jim Rome’s lead and ban Wolverine Willie! Enough of that guy!

The article actually made me feel sorry for Kevin Kietzman.

Mark Lidman


Sic ’em: You guys suck; you’ve obviously pick your side to the 810-610 war. The writers for all of your columns are never objective —give the bitch a drink and a kiss, and you’re a critic’s choice. Give the flame a free bottle of wine, and your restaurant staple. I know Jason and Kevin, and I know which one is the jerk and which one is the asshole. You don’t.

The Pitch: the most unprofessional paper that kc has ever had to recycle. I hate what you people do. Your editor must be a serious piece of crap. Stick to the info. I have never met any of your reporters or writers that I would think of as wise or insightful. I’ve met six employees of your so-called talent. They suck; they are goofs and geeks, and geeks don’t know a damned thing about the city. Culture? White nerds that think they are cool. Fucking ha. I am going to start a paper, maybe get a little funding from J Wit. You, the Pitch, 810 and the rest of the geeks, nerds, weak and meek … can hat on me “the know” 610, and the sweet strong and insightful. You sorry fucks. I pray for your demise.

Merle Goldston

Kansas City, Kansas