Local TV Hypesters Deserve Some Blame In The Mall St. Matthews Freakout

Heck yes local media overreacted to the Mall St. Matthews mess. Suggesting otherwise is a waste of time and brain cells. We haven’t seen anything this crazy since the days of Julie Tam and her blue glove. Let’s go down the local media rabbit hole with another rant.

Most of it started with WDRB’s Toni Konz and her pre-teen JCPS following on Twitter. There’s no denying Konz has provided tremendous coverage of many educational issues through the years. While at our dying local newspaper and at Bill Lamb’s Fear-Based Tea (Key?) Party. Her work’s usually solid (minus her intentional misreporting on the ousted Commissioner of Education). But…

She started hyping things up, retweeting blips, siding with whatever police told her. I’ve refrained from criticizing her personally but enough is enough. This woman is on television and has thousands of school kids hanging on her every word. Like it or not, she has a tremendous responsibility that she either doesn’t recognize or doesn’t want to acknowledge. Her involvement is both alarmist and potentially dangerous. Blindly reporting what police say, without any verification, while at the same time hyping things up herself is inexcusable for someone in such a prominent position.


This is the most glaring, sums everything from Konz/WDRB/local teevee up quite well:


Yeah, let’s arrest a couple hundred kids for loitering. That’s the ticket. It wouldn’t have escalated the situation or caused potential danger for police and young kids at all. (That’s sarcasm, for the elderly set reading this)



Much like the pieces about how JCPS is a terrible hell pit filled with awful, killer, devil, violent students (only slightly exaggerating) and 99.99% of all teachers fear for their lives? This, too, was dumb as hell.

When this reporter got egg on her face after the hype, she started acting as if mall management is solely at fault, asking questions about how much the incident cost police in overtime. Because… what? Sure. Okay. Teevee people had nothing to do with the freak out.

Not just Konz, though. She doesn’t deserve all the blame. While her reactionary, paranoid Twitter panic most certainly fanned the flames, Louisville teevee people are the worst when it comes to senseless hype. From breathless alarm over snow flurries to meltdowns about the failed Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, it’s what we’ve all come to expect. It’s why we can’t have nice things here in Compassionate Possibility City. It’s part of the reason racist mouthbreathers flock to local teevee sites to spew hatred by the thousands. Ignorance feeds on ignorance. It’s why so many are distrustful of media in general.

Reality is kids are no worse now than they were 20 years ago. People need to get a damn grip. There is no teenage misbehavior epidemic that’s new or different than in the 1990s. Sure, the internet exists to drum things up but good grief at the Konz-led overreaction.

Absentee parenting is not a new thing. Maybe parents have to spend more time working now to put food on the table. That’s true. But it’s not too different than any other period of time in the past couple decades.

It’s like The Louisville Purge: Part 2. So. Dumb. Lowest common denominator, scraping the barrel, stereotypical barefoot Kentuckian caricature dumb.

There’s a problem when the city’s most prominent and relied upon education reporter is involved in something like this. It’s unfortunate, it’s whatever disappointing word you want it to be. Sadly, it’s a shining example of what we’ve come to expect. We’re all numb to it, indifferent. Our lovely little city’s been in this perpetual cycle of dumb crap since the Abramson Era kicked off and there’s apparently no limit to the levels of fear-hype we can reach.

P.S. Kudos to the police for handling the situation, busing kids quickly away, not escalating to the point of danger. Even if they intentionally give misinformation to gullible media.

UPDATE: Seems WDRB’s resident white flight freaker outer, John David Dyche, is also in another panic. A panic built in part on the hype spread by Konz the past few months.

NOTE: Yes, I say some horrible crap on Twitter. Usually to get a reaction. But I’m also purposefully not on television, avoided it like the plague when we had a WBKI contract, and eschew the spotlight. Also don’t have ten thousand JCPS student following me for school weather closing updates.

Local Media Has Lost Its Damn Mind

Yep, local teevee folks are still freaking out. Sadly, people like Toni Konz have no idea how much damage their hyping is causing. Gotta keep meemaw afraid, of course. [WDRB]

Local media is still shitting the floor over misbehaving kids. Based on the reaction from teevee news readers and a select few current/former C-J reporters, you’d think this is the first time in history teenagers have behaved as unruly heathens. [C-J/AKN]

Okay, so maybe local teevee folks aren’t just freaking out – they’re *this close* to pooping in the floor. [WHAS11]

America’s newest family of Syrian refugees flew in late at night, and Sarhan Aldobai, 36, looked down from the plane at the distant lights of his new home. His wife was nursing their baby in the next seat. His five other children had fallen asleep. Sarhan took out the small world map he had carried since leaving Syria in 2012 and tried to trace the plane’s path. [H-L]

A southern Indiana official is refusing to certify election results for the Jeffersonville City Council, saying he has reason to believe at least one recount team did not accurately count returns. [WLKY]

The seven children had just crossed the river, shoes still caked with mud, when U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped them. [HuffPo]

Losing. Their. Damn. Minds. Exacerbated by the hype pushed by WDRB that 100% of JCPS kids are out-of-control devils. [WAVE3]

A Lexington couple is trying to raise thousands of dollars for a way to help their eight-year-old son. Jo and Donnie Grayson’s son, Thatcher, has autism. As he gets older, they worry more about him. [WKYT]

Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District is beginning work on a new air monitoring system that is designed to help pinpoint the causes of ozone pollution. [WFPL]

As soon as next year, a driver’s license may no longer be enough for airline passengers to clear security in some states, if the Department of Homeland Security has its way. [NY Times]

Loganberry Court in Louisville is the most expensive street in Kentucky. The average home price for Loganberry Court, which is off of Mockingbird Gardens Drive and near the Crescent Hill Golf Course, is $2,208,300. [Business First]

I sat in a rocker on Trish Roehm’s porch, between a dog bowl and a water bucket both as big as last spring’s potholes. When Bandit was not in my face, Flash or Otisco or Bonnie or Carmel or Trigger was. [News & Tribune]

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

This Jackie Green Bike Thing Is Great And Isn’t Getting Enough Press

Your support is crucial if you want to see us continue. While other media outlets ignore scandals like those in Montgomery County, we’re shining the bright lights of transparency on issues that directly impact you across the Commonwealth. Love us or hate us, we’re putting in the time and effort to spend years reporting on issues from the pension crisis to government-sanctioned animal cruelty to educational corruption and we get real results. [Help Us!]

Obscure alcohol rules are so dumb. Cold beer won’t be for sale in Indiana’s grocery or convenience stores any time soon. [WDRB]

A longtime advocate for cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly transportation policies rejected a plea agreement Monday in Jefferson District Court on charges of blocking traffic and running a red light while on a bike. [C-J/AKN]

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is moving forward with a $40 million project to widen Preston Highway from two to four lanes in Bullitt County. [WHAS11]

State Sen. Mike Wilson on Monday said he would file legislation in the 2016 General Assembly to allow public charter schools as part of a pilot in Fayette and Jefferson counties. [H-L]

At least Henry County seems to get it. Voters in Henry County have approved the full sale of alcohol across the county. [WLKY]

In a rare senatorial act, full-time Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio joined with a handful of fellow legislators on Friday in an attempt to block local municipalities from undercutting big telecom companies by providing cheap, fast internet service. This is the kind of thing Jamie Comer’s people — like Riggs Lewis — make happen. They work to kill municipal broadband, get rich off TWC, ATT and other providers. You can thank that set of Republican special interests for stifling competition and innovation. [The Intercept]

Metro Gubmint has a nearly $19 million surplus but don’t forget what’s suffered as a result. Metro Animal Services is always — ALWAYS — woefully underfunded. WIC clinics were slashed in a manner that made even Greg Fischer’s allies hate him. Streets are a disaster. Kids are hungry. People are homeless. [WAVE3]

Of course your new governor appointed a birther to his cabinet. Because of course he did. [Page One]

Matt Bevin’s newly appointed commissioner of revenue left his last job, at Lexmark International, after the Lexington-based technology company found a host of accounting errors and declared its internal financial controls to be deficient and in need of remediation. [WFPL]

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer announced today that the sixth annual ‘Cram the Cruiser’ food drive netted 123 tons (246,705 lbs) of food for Kentucky families. [Press Release]

An FBI investigation of three University of Louisville officials involves the for-profit company that they operated out of the university. [Business First]

Leave it to mouth-breathers to freak out about the gays in Indiana. Sen. Travis Holdman hoped debate over his LGBT rights bill would weigh questions of religious liberty with the expansion of civil protections. [News & Tribune]

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Why Allison Martin Will Matter To JCPS

NOTE: Buried the lede intentionally. The TL;DR: OAG complaint’s been filed against Bonnie Hackbarth and JCPS.

If she decides to clean up all the stupid things Bonnie Hackbarth has done, that is.

Here’s the deal: Hackbarth has created a nightmare for Jefferson County Public Schools and she’s cost the taxpayer untold mountains of cash. You’ve read coverage here and elsewhere. You’ve seen the letters we’ve published that appear to show Hackbarth is either the dumbest communications specialist on earth or willfully breaking open records law.

So you won’t be surprised to learn that the first of multiple complaints filed against her and JCPS with the Office of the Attorney General has leaked out. There’s too much to excerpt, so I’ll let you read it all:


That’s part of the back story. Part of the reason Bonnie’s been given the boot. Screwing with open records, retaliating, it’s juicy. Allison Martin is nothing like Bonnie Hackbarth.

You’re paying Hackbarth $190 per hour and Donna Hargens wants to give her an additional $53,000 to break open records law until January 14:

JCPS has been paying $190/hr to a public relations firm, Guthrie/Mayes, to provide it an interim spokesperson to deal with media issues. The district has tapped a new chief of communications and community relations, but the new person, Allison Martin, is not expected to start until Jan. 14. So the board will have to vote on whether to approve a $53,000 extension to the Guthrie/Mayes contract so Bonnie Hackbarth can continue as spokeswoman in the interim.

In case you’re keeping count: the approval of the contract extension would mean JCPS is spending up to $97,200 for somewhere around 5 or 5.5 months of supposedly part-time work. Extrapolated out, JCPS is paying the equivalent of about $212,000 a year.

That’s why Martin will matter. Love her or hate her for being a political operative for Jack Conway, she knows open records law. She knows better than to string people along as Hackbarth and her boss, Donna Hargens, have done. In all likelihood, Martin will put a stop to it. She won’t whitewash the things Hargens has done. And she won’t cost $53K per month.

Most people we’ve spoken with expect Martin to jump ship rather quickly. Because who could deal with that mess at JCPS?

I expect her to stick around to beef up her pension and to ultimately see Donna out the door. She plays dirty but is stealth about it. That’s going to ultimately benefit Louisville. She might end up being the best communicator the district’s seen in decades.

Oh Noes! Gays Are Invading Smoketown!

This is not in any way new or news. But leave it to the teevee folks to hype it up like it’s the end of the world. When Adniana Harris first heard that disruptive student behavior in Jefferson County Public Schools was causing some teachers to resign, the longtime bus driver wasn’t surprised. [WDRB]

There have been 76 homicides in Jefferson County in 2015. Five of them occurred within the week of Thanksgiving. [C-J/AKN]

Police are investigating a shooting near America’s Best Value Inn on Kemmons Drive near the Watterson-Newburg Road interchange. [WHAS11]

When John Saylor moved from Wilmore to Lexington recently, he purchased his home based in part on two large and leafy selling points — towering mature trees in the backyard, one a bur oak 40 inches in diameter. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The Harrison County Boys and Girls Club is helping a 76-year-old employee move into a safer home on Wednesday. [WLKY]

After Robert Lewis Dear was arrested for opening fire inside a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, he reportedly made a remark about “no more baby parts,” according to a law enforcement official. The revelation prompted a heated debate about what motivated Dear to allegedly target a reproductive health provider that has been under near-constant assault from Republicans in recent months. [HuffPo]

The gays are taking over everything. At least that’s how the wingnuts see it. [WAVE3]

If you’re a low-income woman, you’re more likely to get screened for breast cancer if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act than in a state that didn’t. [NPR]

The Louisville Zoo has sold 63 percent more beers this year than in 2014, the first year in which the city-owned attraction sold the alcoholic beverages. [WFPL]

When Robert Dear broke into the Colorado Spring Planned Parenthood on Friday afternoon, he didn’t make it past a locked door leading to the clinic’s center. Practitioners and patients on the other side had access to bulletproof vests. And as Dear moved through the parts of the facility he could enter, police watched him through the clinic’s live surveillance cameras. [ThinkProgress]

A new list is out that ranks the best public high schools in the U.S., and Kentucky’s entry is found in Louisville. [Business First]

Two employees of the Clark County Commissioners’ office have filed a civil tort against Integrity HR, Inc., which is the human resources company hired by the Clark County Commissioners. Office employees Elizabeth Murphy and Marjorie Jenkins are accusing Integrity and its Clark County agent Christina Reising of trying to fire Jenkins without following procedure and perhaps without cause, and of threatening to change Murphy’s job description if she did not help them in a “false management effort to fire Jenkins,” according to the claim filed Nov. 6. [News & Tribune]

Will TV Folks Leave Russell Alone Now?

From Autism to Alzheimer’s, music is healing what medicine can’t. In some cases, patients and students both are hearing the benefits of music therapy. [WDRB]

After losing the battle to keep the old Water Co. building intact, preservationists are now circulating petitions as a first step in trying to get the Odd Fellows Building in the Omni target block designated as a historic landmark. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Will Russell has only had to deal with this publicly because local television shysters made it a public matter, a spectacle, treated him as a carnival barker. [WHAS11]

A 10-year-old boy injured in a drive-by shooting is now helping to combat gun violence in Louisville that has reached its highest level in decades. [H-L]

A group called I Am Scott County is working on a second commercial to change perceptions about the southern Indiana county following an HIV outbreak. [WLKY]

Colorado Springs, the town where three people were killed and nine injured in an attack on a Planned Parenthood facility on Friday, is a hub for Christian evangelicals who are opposed to abortion. [HuffPo]

Attorneys representing 11 women went to court Monday to make Katina Powell pay for what they say are false allegations in her tell-all book ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules. [WAVE3]

Kentucky has the third highest rate of female incarceration in the world, imprisoning women nearly twice the rate of Thailand — the highest rated country in the world — and nearly twice the national average, according to a new report released by the non-profit group Prison Policy Initiative. [Richmond Register]

Federal health officials want to help Louisville deal with and prevent violence in the city and particularly in western neighborhoods, where gun violence has been a growing problem. [WFPL]

Of COURSE Mitch McConnell has sneakily attached a campaign finance rider to the spending bill! He wants to expand the amount of cash political parties can spend in coordination with candidates. [Politico]

In today’s weekly edition of Louisville Business First, you’ll find a package called “Where the Money Lives,” in which we look at various measures of affluence across the Louisville region. [Business First]

It’s no secret to anyone looking that the United States is in the midst of a real estate boom — and Southern Indiana is enjoying particularly low housing costs. [News & Tribune]

Revisiting Ramsey’s Big Reality Disconnect

You may have to watch your step more closely when crossing at least one downtown street. A pedway allowing easy access to the convention center will be going away. [WDRB]

How many scandalous hires does this make for Greg Fischer? The man has no concept of vetting new hires. Where are the liberal hand-wringers now? Every time a shitty hire is revealed, they freak out and attack. Every. Time. But suddenly they’re quiet. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! School time horror stories. “I had a chair thrown across the room and the kid looked at me–this is second grade–and said “what the f*** did I do b****,” Lucretia Gue, a former first grade teacher at Frayser Elementary School said. [WHAS11]

In 2006, senators of the University of Kentucky’s student government passed a resolution to remove a mural in Memorial Hall that showed scenes of state history, including black workers in a tobacco field, black musicians playing for white dancers, and a Native American with a tomahawk. They told then-President Lee Todd that it was degrading to ethnic and racial groups. [H-L]

Local teevee folks are still freaking out about a white lady married to a preacher. When was the last time they freaked out like this over a person of color? Or over someone not tied to some random church? [WLKY]

Here’s one more indication that American teachers work really, really hard — and don’t make nearly enough. An analysis released Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development looks at the state of education around the world, examining everything from intergenerational mobility in education to graduation rates to teacher pay. [HuffPo]

The YMCA of Louisville and the YMCA of Southern Indiana are merging, organization leaders announced during the 25th annual YMCA Mayor’s Thanksgiving Breakfast. [WAVE3]

Rand Paul, R-Cookie Tree, said after a town hall at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center he is in conversations with the CEO of AK Steel about how to keep hundreds of jobs at Ashland Works afloat. [Ashland Independent]

James Ramsey has been thinking a lot lately about stepping down from his role as president of the University of Louisville. That’s all it took for him to think about resigning? Not the myriad scandals, people going to prison, tens of millions of dollars swindled?! [WFPL]

About half of Americans, 49 percent, say that racism is “a big problem,” according to a new national poll conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation. [The Hill]

Electrolux announced plans to buy General Electric Co.’s Louisville-based appliance division for $3.3 billion last year. But the government sued to block the deal in July, citing concerns that it would suppress competition. [Business First]

A bill to include LGBT people in existing anti-discrimination laws is on the slate for the State Senate’s upcoming legislative session. [News & Tribune]

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