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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tony, his blog and the KCMO School District

Tony at TKC does two things extremely well, at minimum.

First, the obvious, he gets out information that might otherwise be overlooked by the local media--most particularly the paper (for outsiders, that would be The Kansas City Star).  And let's face it, the local paper still does most of the hard research, interviews, stories and reporting in town.  KCUR does terrific interviews with and through the likes of Steve Kraske but his end result isn't usually the kind of ground-breaking news we need, usually, as a city and metropolitan area.  The local TV stations fall on a news nugget once in a while but usually it's the Star that breaks the big stories.

So for the things that they either can't touch--particularly if it's deemed too sensitive or racial, in particular--or don't get to, Tony's blog has become a place we can go to for 'behind the scenes' stories.  Some are purely accusational and sometimes even irresponsible in this vein but by and large, most of it has proven to be pretty good information.  You go here for the "indelicate" things you wouldn't find elsewhere.

The second thing Tony's blog does well is what I've longed for for quite a while, aloud, at home. 

I have friends who work for the Kansas City Missouri School District and I've heard plenty of stories about the fights and violence that too frequently occurred and occurs in the schools there, all over the district. 

Having heard about it, I repeatedly said it was a shame it could not or would not be on the evening news, so people could see what the teachers at these schools and the administration have to deal with.

It's simply not fair that teachers have to be expected to deal with so much, so frequently, again, repeatedly, day after day, sometimes by the same students, other times from other rowdy students.  It's nearly crazy.

How are you supposed to teach 20 to 30 students, day after day, and make progress when either right outside the classroom door or, in fact, possibly right in the classroom, you have either verbal or physical fights going on?  Good luck with that one.

And then people blame the teachers for the teaching and learning that isn't going on.

As I said above, it's just not right.

So here's where Tony has come in, of late.

Tony began, singularly, I believe, getting impromptu videos up on his blog of some of these fights at different schools.

The Star, in the past, wouldn't even refer to these fights.  Granted, the daily newspaper isn't the best venue for getting this story across but unless you were there or heard about these fights, it's as though they never existed or occurred.

So Tony, lately, is getting some videos of these fights and putting them up on his blog.

And I say kudos.  Good for you, Tony.

The only way to solve a problem is, first, to recognize it and this is a good way for the area to recognize what the situations are at these schools and what's going on.

Because of Tony's postings of these brief videos, I believe it has pushed the local TV stations to also post some of them and report on them, too.

So in his own way, Tony has been kind of ground-breaking in this area and I think good things will come of it.  We'll see.  Hopefully, one day soon, there will be fewer--or none--of these fights.

Now if he could just stop posting the "scantily-clad moon maidens."



Radioman KC said...

Why news sucks today. I had too much to write, so I had to put it on my own blog, I exceeded the word limit here, Mo. Sorry Here I pasted it on my own blog for your readers:

I hope you'll continue to discuss this issue.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he does two things well: he lies, and he uses hyperbole. This post of yours is wrong on many levels. You're posting your admiration of a manchild who is basically a liar.

He fills no vacuum in town because there was never a need for:

- people who report rumors and make no attempt to verify any of them, don't get both sides of any story, and can't be relied on to even be truthful.

- people who write news that couches itself in soft gentle language - "It's said" - "rumor has it" - "sources say" - to cover up its lack of honesty.

- people who call public figures childish names, and who have libeled the mayor. He's written fictional pieces about him and paraded them as fact.

- people who make stuff up out of thin air about The Star over his bitterness of not being hired by them as a $25,000-a-year community reporter seven or eight years ago.

Go and read that link, and tell me if you honestly believe for a second McClatchy just chats about their business plans with curious strangers. THEY DON'T. That link is MADE UP.

- people who dream up imaginary interviews with others. There was never any interview with Kevin Battle.

Is that your idea of a media empire?

And, oh, the negativity. White people. Blacks. The Chiefs. The Royals. Johnson County. Poor people. The police. The homeless. The honest. The fire department. The unemployed. The P&L District. The Sprint Center. Is there anything in this town that hasn't been dragged through the Botello sludge?

If there's some sort of need for a racist, homophobic, hateful pathological liar, Tony Botello fills the void quite nicely.

And by glorifying him, you add to the credibility problem Kansas City bloggers have; I must say it is gigantic.

You should be calling him out constantly for his sexist, racist falsehoods.

(but I like ya anyway Mo Rage)

Mo Rage said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Okay, I soft-pedaled, sure. But I didn't glorify him.

I've been one of the regulars who points out how Tony hates so many aspects of Kansas City. I also pointed out that this--blogging--is not journalism.

In this one case, I pointed out that he has the ability to bring out and discuss things the Star cannot or will not. I think that's been legitimate.

I meant to make it clear that I wasn't sucking up to Tony or that "all that he does is magnificent." I've pointed out--and I did in this entry, above--the irresponsibility of some posts.

So there.

I just had to make that clear.

And I never once mentioned or said anything remotely like a "media empire", for sure. I just said he did these two things right. I stick by that.

I will say--and again, I have before--that the racism is too much. The "whites against everyone else", the hispanics, the Blacks, etc. And you know I can't possibly tolerate and won't, a homophobe.

Finally, no one has called him out on his sexist pics more than me.

I gave him two bits of credit. I made sure I didn't go overboard.

Thanks for your insights.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "written fictional pieces about him" refers to me, one of his brothers, Byron Dale Funkhouser. I wonder why the commentator needs, so much, to believe that my letter was not real. It was real & truthful.

I enjoy Tony's blog very much & I think he fills a very important need. Tony has a function & he knows it. People can complain about him living in his mother's basement all they want to, but Tony is an important part of Kansas City!

PFL0W said...

He serves a good function, period.

Unfortunately, Tony also undercuts himself by a) taking himself seriously, in spite of calling his blog "humor" and b) being sexist and racist, far too frequently and repeatedly.

He will do himself a terrific service by, one day, getting more serious, taking himself and his role more seriously and so, his blog seriously.

It isn't journalism, for sure.

It does serve a role, absolutely.

When he molds responsibility together with his mission of getting breaking news out--behind the scenes or whatever--he'll reach a far higher level of good.

Mo Rage said...

Final note:

You can still have fun, too, and not take yourself too seriously.