Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’

I frequently hear people say they’ve stopped taking The Kansas City Star because “there’s nothing in it” or “there’s nothing to it anymore.”

But once again, on Thursday, The Star showed why it’s the most indispensable news-gathering organization in our region. The shocking headline atop Page 1 said it all — “Sources: Nixon was target.”

The intended target of the whacked-out, psychologically ill 22-year-old man who stabbed a dean on Tuesday at Penn Valley Community College was none other than Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

The story was reported and written by police reporter Christine Vendel and higher-education reporter Mara Rose Williams. 

The scariest thing — the reason this is such a huge story — is that if Casey Brezik, the attacker, had been smarter and better organized, he just might have been able to get to Nixon. Nixon travels with Missouri Highway Patrol officers, but who would have been suspecting an attack at a junior college, where the governor was going to be talking about the benign subject of a state expansion of high-speed Internet services?    

It seems to me that Brezik easily could have caught everybody napping…long enough, anyway, to get in one thrust at the governor.

He was able to make his thrust, but it got dean of instruction Al Dimmit Jr. instead of Nixon, whose plane had just landed at Wheeler Downtown Airport. (Dimmit is in the hospital, recovering from a neck wound.) 

Nixon immediately canceled the Penn Valley visit and went on to Springfield, his next planned stop.

The Star posted its big scoop on its web site, kansascity.com, at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, just after the 10 o’clock newscasts concluded their news reports and had moved on to weather and sports.

At that point, even if they were monitoring The Star’s web site, the TV stations would only have been able to report what The Star was reporting. They would have had to say something like, “The Kansas City Star is reporting on its web site that Gov. Jay Nixon was the intended target of an attack Tuesday that injured a Penn Valley dean.”

But pride would have stopped the TV stations from doing that; they hate to give credit to The Star, just as The Star hates to credit any other local news organization with breaking a big story. 

As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, three of the four local TV stations, KMBC, WDAF and KSHB, were reporting the Nixon-the-intended-victim story on their web sites. Two of the stations, KSHB and WDAF, were crediting The Star. KMBC, meanwhile, had done some original reporting and was quoting police spokesman Darrin Snapp as saying that Nixon had been the intended target.

As for KCTV5 ( known for its “live, late-breaking, investigative” self-promotions a few years ago), it was carrying as its “top story” a bomb threat from Wednesday morning that forced the evacuation of a building at 23rd and Main. 

As early as Wednesday morning, The Star intimated the deeper implications of the Penn Valley incident. Its front-page account of the attack included a sub-head that read, “Man described as anarchist is charged in attack that occurred before governor’s arrival.”

Another tipoff that Brezik had bigger things in mind came in the third paragraph of Wednesday’s story, which said that Brezik was “wearing black clothes and a bullet-resistant vest.” In other words, he was prepared for a big encounter.

Fortunately — very, very fortunately — Brezik’s hoped-for, big encounter with the governor didn’t happen.   

So, while The Star is “skinnier” than it used to be, while it is lighter in the hand (except on Sunday) and contains far fewer column inches of news than it used to, it’s still the heaviest and most substantive news source around. If you want the inside information on the biggest local stories, there’s only one place to turn to. 

Hats off, then, to The Star. It truly was a banner day at 18th and Grand.

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