Wichita Eagle, where are you?


The state’s largest newspaper has no good reason to avoid reporting and editorializing on an important issue. But that’s what the Wichita Eagle has done.

In November 2014 Wichita voters rejected a proposed Wichita city sales tax. The largest portion of that tax, $250 million, would have gone towards expanding the capacity of the Aquifer Storage and Recharge, or ASR, project.

The Wichita Eagle editorial board urged voters to approve the tax. It told readers that spending $250 million on ASR would “assure a future for Wichita with enough water.” “The needs are clear,” the editors wrote, adding “Investing in the aquifer project seems the best thing to do to anticipate and meet Wichita’s water needs.” The Eagle warned of “much higher water rates” if the sales tax is not passed.

Since voters rejected the tax to support that spending, the cost of providing adequate water has dropped, and dropped a lot. But you wouldn’t know that by reading the Wichita Eagle or by relying on our city’s other mainstream news media.

If you viewed a Wichita City Council workshop on December 1, however, you’d have learned that the city can provide adequate water for much less than $250 million. The rise in water bills will also be much less than what the Eagle and the city used to frighten voters into approving the sales tax.

So why hasn’t the Wichita Eagle reported on the December 1, 2015 workshop, in which Director of Public Works and Utilities Alan King presented the new plans — plans which will cost much less? Why have there been no editorials celebrating that we can provide adequate water at much less expense?

I can understand the editorial writers not wanting to admit they had been duped. That’s human nature. But for the news division of the Eagle: Why no reporting on this?

As it happens, the newsroom of the Eagle was also a cheerleader for the sales tax and ASR project. As an example, the Eagle printed a fact check article that disputed claims made by opponents of the tax. When asked why there was not a similar fact check article on the proponents, the reporter said there were no errors to be found. Nothing. That was incredulous — unbelievable — at the time. There were many questionable claims made by sales tax proponents. In hindsight, we are even more certain of that.

Tubs of ink the Wichita Eagle could be using to tell us what we need to know.
Tubs of ink the Wichita Eagle could be using to tell us what we need to know.
The Eagle has plenty of reporting capacity, barrels of ink, and lots of online bandwith to report and editorialize on issues like who gets free parking at the Wichita airport. That’s important, perhaps, but trivial in terms of financial impact. But on this issue involving over $100 million in savings, there is silence.

The state’s largest newspaper has no good reason to avoid reporting and editorializing on an important issue. But that’s what the Wichita Eagle has done. We wonder why.


6 responses to “Wichita Eagle, where are you?”

  1. Fat Man

    The Buzzard’s circulation is so low they now are having the paper printed in another city to save money. hahahaha The Buzzard is a totally worthless news organization. I haven’t bought a paper in several years and refuse to visit their website. They are slowly dying and it will be a great day when they are gone.

  2. AP Besser, Jr.

    If I had a bird, I would still not use the Wichita Eagle Beacon to line it’s cage. Also, it is not even if sufficient grade to be used as butt wipe. I find I t amazing that the fact that people would read it IF ONLY they reported the news…not spin it; lean it or create it. Perhaps liberalism degrades the cognitive processes.

  3. Nice Mike Howerter in Parsons

    At least it’s not the Parson Sun, Chanute Tribune or Iola
    Register. Things could be worse.

  4. ictator

    The owners are California lefties and it is now going to be published in Missouri. This is a sad commentary on the state of what is supposed the largest daily circulation newspaper operating in Kansas.

  5. Sunflower

    When you consider all the socialist history of Kansas it’s a miracle we get an occasional unbiased bit of news. 1855, I’d hazard a guess that those abolitionists (John Brown) that made sure we became a free territory were Christian socialists. 1889 Christian Socialist Society based in Independence, Ks. Percy Daniels Christian socialist Lt Governor of Kansas 1892, from Girard KS. 1896 Appeal to Reason largest American socialist newspaper by Wayland in Girard KS.

  6. Chris from Mactown

    You can forgive the early socialists. They truly believed socialism was the way to a more equitable society. No such excuse for today’s toady neo-socialists after one hundred million people were exterminated in the last century directly due to socialism.

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