April 9th, 2012
Aaron Barnhart

    What has happened to the Kansas City Star’s TV critic Aaron Barnhart?
    That has been the question on the minds of media watchers for months now.
    Barnhart has not written anything since December 25 at the McClatchy-owned newspaper and not Tweeted anything since Dec. 10. This is from a columnist who has been in the media eye for years.
    Since 1997, Barnhart has been the television critic for the  Star. His TV Barn blog has been online since 1999 and his work has appeared in the Village Voice, New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.   
   The Star, which normally leaks like a sieve with layoffs and personnel changes, is very close-mouthed about the veteran columnist. Rumors about serious health issues abound.
   “Aaron is still with The Star, but he’s on a leave,” a high-ranking source at the newspaper told Bottom Line in February. “I’m afraid I don’t know when he’ll be back, but he’s still an employee.”
    “Is he still at the Star? I haven’t seen a story from him in a month. Just curious if you knew anything,” wrote a reader to this site in February.
   “Is Aaron Barnhart on his furlough from The Star right now?” wrote a local TV person to BLC in March. “Haven’t seen or heard from him in awhile.”
   “I was on vacation during February and realized recently that I’ve not seen his byline in the Star, nor has his column been updated online since December,” said a reader in March. “What’s going on? I hope he is not sick again. Thanks.”   
   “It does seem odd that he’d go out with a whimper instead of a bang,” wrote another to BLC.
    A source close to the local media was asked if he had heard anything.
   “If I learn anything, I’ll let you know,” she said. “And I know that you’ll post something once you know. That’s why I love your site.”
    “I queried him a while ago about his ‘net absence and he replied the following:”I am on leave for a while. I’ll explain later when I come back…” forwarded a note by a local blogger.

7 Responses

  1. Wam says:

    He’s sick, asshole. Why not leave him alone? Jesus.

    If you get a disease I’m gonna start a blog about you and give you shit about it. Deal?

  2. Jess says:

    Wow Wam,
    It is a story how he wonders where he is. He….well nevermind, I know your kind so I will leave it at that.

  3. Dan says:

    As opposed to an intrusion of his privacy, I see this as concern for a respected media reporter. If he’s ill, let’s hope for a quick and full recovery. With the Star’s penchant for layoffs, some were concerned that like the movie critic, the TV critic position was eliminated.

  4. BillthePainter says:

    Thanks for the civility Dan. It’s a nice contrast to morons like Wam.

    What a dick!

  5. Pat Carlson says:

    Maybe if Wam called on the name of Jesus in sincerity, he wouldn’t have such a hateful attitude.

  6. Scott Simon says:

    Wam, you have class. All of it low.

  7. Steve says:

    I find this disheartening. As a KU J-school grad, I find his silence is strange. Saying something would have been better than a 4 month (approx)silence. When you are in the business of communicating, and fail to communicate, something is seriously WRONG.

    And privacy is NOT the issue. Nothing about his profession and status would affect his privacy, as this article was indeed a concern as if he has been terminated, or forced silence to keep his job at the Star, and if it is a personal or health issue, many of us would be moved to help if Aaron could or would be open. Silence is he last retreat of cowards and the immature, just as the extreme of boisterous and nonstop talking is a disorder. Somewhere in the middle is where healthy, capable and ideally wise people should be.

    Aaron, you are missed and we are indeed worried, wishing you the best!

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