View Full Version : Kick in the groin to Kansas City taxpayers

06-24-2006, 02:17 PM
Summary: Jack Miles, editor of the Johnson County Sun (and president of the Kansas City Press Club), says pulling press credentials of radio reporters by the Royals "is a kick in the groin to Kansas City taxpayers."

Royals owner strikes out by pulling press credentials
By Jack "Miles" Ventimiglia

Editor, Johnson County Sun (6/22)

Strike one.

The Kansas City Royals' management decision to pull press credentials from a couple of aggressive radio reporters is a kick in the groin to Kansas City taxpayers.

Less than three months ago, on April 4, voters in Jackson County approved a three-eighths-cent sales tax increase to renovate Truman Sports Complex, including Kauffman Stadium.

The Sun advocated the whopping $575 million tax issue. Our editorial supported the measure for reasons including the importance to this city of maintaining a big league image and for the economy built around Royals games.

To hear club management now tell the public's proxy representatives, the media, "We not only dislike your rude questions, we will make sure you cannot even ask questions," is as ungrateful as it is detestable in a free society.

Management's bat whirled and whiffed on that decision.

Strike two.

Royals management had the sign - it's as plain as the Bill of Rights - and simply fouled the pitch. They missed the fact that pulling press credentials would not silence "offensive" reporters.

Instead, Bob Fescoe of WHB-810 and Rhonda Moss of KCSP-610 have attained a bit of celebrity status, being thrust into the welcome role of quasi press martyrs. They deserve their 15 minutes.

To keep a free society free, reporters must ask the tough questions on the minds of thousands of fans and taxpayers. This means asking Royals owner David Glass to explain why he let former general manager Allard Baird twist in the wind while seeking Baird's replacement. Good question.

The question should have been asked nicer? Well, la-de-da. The game played at Kauffman is hardball, not softball, after all.

Management had the sign, but managed only a foul ball.

Strike three.

Royals management may have wanted to make the story of "What the heck is management thinking?" go away, but missed the ball badly and fell into the dirt - meaning they either ignored or just did not realize that the media thrive on such stories.

The Kansas City Press Club, with members from electronic and print media across western Missouri and eastern Kansas, asked Royals management politely to reconsider the decision to revoke the press credentials. Politeness so far has not worked. Neither have vicious commentary and general news reporting. At last count, there have been more than 50 news reports on the press club's statement alone.

Management needs to face facts: The Royals have been a perennial basement ball club and that upsets fans, taxpayers have a right to know what is up with the weak team they invested in and reporters are paid to get facts, not ignore them.

Royals management can either suck it up, step up to the plate, admit an error and return the press credentials...

Or keep on striking out.

06-24-2006, 02:19 PM
Summary: Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Ted Miller says teams like the Royals are trying to dictate coverage by the media. Why? Because they aren't winners.


Who's at mercy: Teams or media?
Thursday, June 22, 2006


Todd Turner is a smooth communicator, so it's hard to tell if Washington's athletic director was trying to talk a reporter away from the edge of a cliff or provide a final push.

"It's an interesting time in the news media business," he said. "All of us are trying to figure this out."

What Turner's "us" -- Division I-A athletic departments and professional sports teams -- are trying to figure out is this: Do we want to kill the messengers or merely cut off their legs?

News about the media is rarely front-and-center. Mostly because it's boring. There's also the feeling in the business that because we frequently roll our eyes at a sports industry laden with perpetual, disingenuous whiners, we should suck it up when we feel wronged.

That said, news consumers -- that's you -- might want to know about how your right to receive unvarnished sports news is being threatened.

Increasingly, college sports programs and pro franchises are taking steps to manage -- read: homogenize, filter and censor -- information on how they go about their business.

That means restricting independent media access while granting special privileges to providers who are beholden to the team.


The Kansas City Royals yank the credentials of radio reporters Bob Fescoe and Rhonda Moss. The offense? Fescoe and Moss peppered Royals owner David Glass, whose seven-year tenure has featured an average of 97 losses per season, with tough questions during a news conference introducing Dayton Moore as the team's new general manager.

The Portland Trail Blazers announce that all interviews must be approved by the media relations department, which reserves the right to demand in advance a written list of questions. Also, all interviews will be recorded, and the franchise reserves the right to post a transcript or audio file on the team's Web site.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, in a snit with The Washington Post, tries to dominate the coverage of his team by purchasing radio stations, a fan magazine, a fan Web site and producing a television show.

For $40 a year, Virginia Tech fans can access football coach Frank Beamer's Web site, where they can get "the best, most up-to-date and accurate information." The Web site is known to "break" stories and provide information Beamer withholds from reporters. Virginia Tech, by the way, pays Beamer $2 million annually.

Gnawing on these items this week prompted the call to Turner. Full of renewed outrage inspired by the slings and arrows suffered by my comrades, I wanted to challenge him on an April 3 passage from his "Top Dawg Blog" on the athletic department's Web site concerning Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham's decision to close practices to the media.

"Closed practices," he wrote, "are the result of irresponsible behavior by some that have been given access in the past. Information from practice, if not handled responsibly, can impact team morale and provide confidential information to our opponents, which could put us at a competitive disadvantage."

That felt like a shot at the local media's integrity, one that cannot be supported by specific examples. Turner admitted as much, quickly pointing a finger at the Internet, though again without providing any specifics.

Ah, the Internet, the bane and salvation of sports teams.

The Huskies, like many college and pro teams, are jazzing up content on their Web site, offering "exclusive" stories and interviews. For a small fee, of course.

That's fine. The content has value, and some fans only want to read reports delivered with a smiley face. Even if that message doesn't jibe with reality.

Notice a common denominator among the teams -- Royals, Trail Blazers, Redskins and Huskies -- that are publicly struggling with their local media?

While obsessing about controlling the message, they forgot to win, though the Redskins did make the playoffs for the first time since 1999 last season.

Instead of acknowledging that negative coverage is entirely due to losing and administrative incompetence, officials want to cry about -- and punish -- newspapers and talk radio.

Which is ludicrous.

So what sort of news would a team provide on itself?

Here's another "exclusive," this one from Blazers general manager John Nash's blog:

"Despite what some media types are writing, let me assure you that we are all on the same page in that we want the Trail Blazers to succeed and that we want each other to succeed as well," Nash wrote. "In many cases, the fans are saying, 'Stay the course.' And disregard the negativity and divisiveness being generated by several desperate for readers/listeners media outlets."

Nash, of course, was fired two weeks after writing that, and his blog was removed from the team's Web site -- the entry is courtesy of Oregonian columnist John Canzano's blog.

Canzano also noted that an interview with team owner Paul Allen was posted on the Blazers Web site only after portions that might have been controversial were deleted.

Do you think the Blazers would have tackled the story of team president Steve Patterson using former FBI investigators to interrogate employees about media leaks, like The Oregonian did?

Imagine a future in which objective local coverage has been marginalized. There will be team and league Web sites. There will be fan sites and blogs. There will be ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

And there will be no day-to-day accountability provided by real journalists.

Many fans enjoy ranting about the media. It's like a hobby. But most, in the end, want uncompromised coverage, even if they fully intend to complain about it.

P-I columnist Ted Miller can be reached at 206-448-8017 or tedmiller@seattlepi.com.

1998-2006 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

06-24-2006, 02:40 PM
Why should anyone care, after all it is the Royals and two detestable media personalities. Big deal and much ado about nothing.

06-24-2006, 02:50 PM
I brought up the freedom of speech issue when this first happened and some David Glass ass kissing blowhard on this board quickly rushed to Glass's defense over the issue.

Whoever that poster was (I forgot who) should tattoo these articles to his/her/it's fat face.

Mr. Flopnuts
06-24-2006, 02:52 PM
I agree with the first article. Anytime you have the public funding any part of your organization it really shouldn't be considered private at all. We should have "Freedom of Information" act access to everything that goes on within an organization that the taxpayers fund on any level. Maybe I'll write my congressman..............

Mr. Laz
06-24-2006, 03:26 PM
Why should anyone care, after all it is the Royals and two detestable media personalities. Big deal and much ado about nothing.

they should care because twisting the arm of the media isn't a good thing.

you may think these two reporters deserve it ... but what about next time?

what about the way the chiefs bully and control the information flow?

what about the current administration?

the media may suck ... but they are a necessary suckage.

06-24-2006, 05:17 PM
Can't speak much to the article, but thanks for posting it! I went to college with Jack Ventimiglia and hadn't seen nor talked to him in over 20 years. Just got back in contact tonight.


06-24-2006, 05:29 PM
they should care because twisting the arm of the media isn't a good thing.

you may think these two reporters deserve it ... but what about next time?

what about the way the chiefs bully and control the information flow?

what about the current administration?

the media may suck ... but they are a necessary suckage.

My point is more that just because a team plays in a facilty paid for by the taxpayer does not make that team any more of a Taxpayer beholden entity than any business that relies in public streets, sewers etc to maintain their facility. Is it unfortunate that a private business want to shut out memberso f the media, yes, is it a taxpayer issue, absolutely not.

06-24-2006, 05:34 PM
With the hiring of the widely-respected Moore, David Glass had a chance to partially wipe the slate clean with Royals' fans. All he had to say is that he regretted the way the situation with Baird was handled and that he takes full responsibility...and say something along the lines that it was obvious that a change had to be made, but that he had to find the right guy, and he found it with Dayton.....just some standard bullshit...

...Instead he makes a complete ass out of himself...He's so incompetent he can't even manage a press conference. Obviously, he is thinks he is entitled to have his ass kissed. He must have had some incriminating pictures of Sam Walton to make it to CEO of Wal-Mart. The guy is buffoon.

06-24-2006, 05:34 PM
Free speech issue. :rolleyes: Not even the government has to credential anyone who walks up requesting one.

I agree with Laz pretty much, these two reporters are douchnozzles and I don't care if they are never admitted to anything again, but it's probably not a good precedent to work from.

06-24-2006, 05:39 PM
He must have had some incriminating pictures of Sam Walton to make it to CEO of Wal-Mart. The guy is buffoon.

Let's be realistic here. You can lampoon his baseball acumen if you like, please do. But to say he's not a sharp businessman is pretty silly. I don't think Wal-Mart was losing its ass while he was an executive there from the mid 70s through 2000.

06-24-2006, 05:41 PM
Are you f'ing Rhondzilla Moss? Or maybe Fescoe?