The following comes from Bottomline.com, a blog on media matters, written by John Landsberg...
It might be the strangest pairing in media history.
Yael Abouhalkah has been a major king-maker at the Kansas City Star for decades. Tony Botello operates the area's most-read blog "Tonyskansascity.com." He refers to Abouhalkah's employer as simply the "dead tree media."
Abouhalkah and his minions at the Star despise Botello and his blog. They feel he writes smarmy articles where he doesn't let facts get in the way of a good story.
On the other hand, Botello constantly makes fun of Star writers ("Douchebag Mike Hendricks") and feels it is simply a matter of time before the Star's presses grind to a halt. He delights in scooping the Star on political stories, which he does on a regular basis.
Ironically, both Yael and Tony have set their sights on kicking current KCMO Mayor Mark Funkhouser out of office. Neither have written a positive word about Funkhouser in more than a year.
With both of them it is personal. Their hatred of Funkhouser is palpable. Journalistic fairness and honesty has been tossed aside by both of them.
By all rights, when the leading newspaper and the leading blogger in a given area both have as their stated goal the overthrow of a Mayor you would think Funkhouser would be in big trouble.
However, according to political insiders and pollsters, that simply is not the case.
In fact, sources say that entering the February 22 primary Funkhouser is far and away the leader. The remaining candidates are desperately scrambling for second place.
How is that possible? Maybe it is an issue of credibility.
Abouhalkah and his newspaper have attacked the Mayor so often and so loudly that maybe readers and voters have come to the conclusion that the newspaper is not being honest with its readers. Maybe the paper's former reputation for credible journalism no longer exists.
At times the paper all-but-forced the Mayor to keep an incompetent City Manager even though it was clear to almost everyone the manager was hurting the city. The Star didn't seem to even care what was best for the city in its efforts to tar Funkhouser.
The Mayor eventually got a new city manager and things have dramatically turned around. One can only imagine how the recent snow removal would have been handled by the previous city manager.
People see Funkhouser on TV and he doesn't seem like such a bad guy. They hear him on the radio and he sounds like he genuinely cares about the city and is working his butt off to turn things around.
It seems as if the Star may hate him, but the average person on the street seems to think he is trying his best despite a hostile city council, horrendous economy and a newspaper that despises him.
Botello (a friend) has hated the mayor before he even took office. When Funkhouser appointed a woman who was against illegal immigration to an unpaid Park Board post then Tony really turned up the hatred even more.
Since he has a blog with no restrictions he has not only blasted Funkhouser, but even Funkhouser's wife and children have been held up for ridicule. He ran photos of the Mayor's daughter and her boyfriend as they shopped.
From a media standpoint the Mayoral race is fascinating. Two of the area's reportedly biggest influencers basically are telling voters to cast their ballot for anyone but the incumbent mayor. Anyone.
When the votes are cast in about a week we will see if the voters are influenced. Unless something dramatically happens, it doesn't look as if that will be the case.
Read full article here.