“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
The Kansas City Star has been criticized—rightly and wrongly—over the years for seemingly following that policy. And the McClatchy-owned paper may be finding itself in that position today following the Romney-Obama debate.
There is no doubt that President Obama will be endorsed by the Star again. That is not even in question.
However, based on the news media around the nation, the clear victor in the debate last night was Romney.
A KMBZ reporter went out this morning in search of anyone who would say Obama had won the debate. The reporter said on the air she could not find a single person.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC almost burst into tears on the air over Obama’s poor performance.
On KMBZ, uber-liberal afternoon talker Dana Wright said that not only did Romney win the debate, but that Obama was “steamrolled.”
The Kansas City Star ran a poll (below) on its site “Who do you think won the first presidential debate?” The results so far: 72% voted for Romney, 17% for Obama.
With that overwhelming response one might think KC Star staffers would have also felt Romney had the edge in the debate. Well, not exactly.
Political columnist/reporter Steve Kraske wrote a column declaring the debate was a draw. “Call Round One a tossup,” was his lede.
His view of the debate forced Star Public Editor Derek Donovan to try and explain it to irate readers.
I’ve spoken to and gotten email this morning from many readers who are extremely upset with Steve Kraske’s analysis of last night’s presidential debate. And when I say “extremely upset,” I’m not exaggerating,” noted Donovan, who said the paper’s editorial said Romney was the victor.
“One caller just now, her voice trembling with anger, told me she was canceling because the front page didn’t say boldly that Romney had won the debate. She then slammed the phone down in my ear.”
The newspaper’s editorial did say Romney was clearly the winner, but then dismissed his victory with “Romney clearly exceeded largely low expectations.” The Star chided Obama for not hammering Romney on his 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes gaffe and for not attacking Romney on specifics.
Even Lewis Diuguid, the Star’s editorial columnist and Obama loyalist, couldn’t give the nod to Romney, saying it was simply “a good show” and that Obama should have hammered Romney on the 47% issue. “Maybe we will get to see that when the two meet again in their second of three presidential debates,” he sniffed.