Star public editor Derek Donovan gets a lot emails and calls from people upset with the paper’s coverage. And he must have exhaled like I do when I get a ridiculous chain email from a relative, who believes President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim socialist who spent time in Chicago’s gay bath houses.
And whenever I get one of those, the second thing I do, after shaking my head, is head to snopes.com, where in less the five seconds, the email’s claims are generally debunked, though in rare instances, there is some thread of truth.
So he penned a column, explaining that, no, face-tattooed rapper The Game is not Trayvon Martin, as some emails are claiming. In this case, it doesn’t appear that Snopes has caught up to the cranks, but fact-checking site PolitiFact gives it a “pants on fire” rating. However, in my experience, that won’t appease a certain sect of people (“PolitiFact? Oh, please,” was the reaction of one reader when I explained why I removed a comment of his that was blatant b.s.)
And he says something else important: this case is not something The Star or other local papers should spend much time on:
I do not think the story of the killing of Trayvon Martin is something The Kansas City Star and KansasCity.com should spend much time on. It was an incident involving two people in Florida over a year ago. It has zero direct relevance to Kansas City. The cable news channels and the Internet are going nuts for it solely because this is one of those cases where an event serves as a proxy for people to project their feelings about hot-button issues (race relations, guns and youth violence).