Editorial summary: Missouri | Missouri News


Saint-Louis post-expedition. 23 August 2021.

Editorial: Trust is wasted when county pandemic message turns into manipulation

The $ 2 million contract that St. Louis County executive administration Sam Page signed with New York-based public relations firm Fenton Communications is the subject of a well-deserved review by the Commission. part of the county council, but members of the public should also be concerned. In the laudable effort to educate the public about the supreme importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, Page and Fenton’s office have engaged in what appear to be deceptive and manipulative practices.

Political cartoons

There are several issues with the Fenton contract. First, it was planned and executed without the prior approval of the county council – all because the council recklessly decided in April 2020 to cede spending power to Page for $ 173.5 million in funds. Federal Pandemic Safe Act. While the board’s decision helped streamline procedures during a health emergency, it allowed Page to spend as he pleased without prior oversight.

Another problem is that Page has been in a state of perpetual campaigning for office since taking over from disgraced former county executive Steve Stenger. As Page speaks with the authority of the county executive to mobilize public support for the fight against the coronavirus, he is also busy introducing himself as “Dr. Sam Page”, an anesthesiologist speaking with a medical authority. on important health problems. Page sends out weekly emails touting his efforts to fight the pandemic. But only attentive readers will notice the fine print at the bottom: “Paid Per Page for Missouri” – his political campaign.

When a New York PR firm suddenly gets a really high contract for echoing the content of Page’s campaign emails, the public and the county council have every reason to start asking questions. This should be doubly concerning if Fenton and the Page staff members agree to hide Fenton’s role in framing the message and presenting the work of New York professionals as being written by good old, ordinary people here at St. Louis.

So an editorial appeared on our July 6 page under the signature “Kate McLaughlin,” identified as a graduate of Webster Groves High School heading to Loyola University in Chicago. She spoke about all the challenges of being a student during the pandemic, expressing fears of getting sick and relief when the vaccine became available. It ended with his recommendation “that all my friends, classmates and whoever” get vaccinated – the precise message Fenton was hired to deliver.

Exactly a week after the publication, Fenton sent an invoice to the county listing what he called “won media” under the contract. Fenton claimed to have “drafted” (written) various local editorials. One bulleted item says the company “interviewed St. Louis high school student Kate McLaughlin to expand on their story and wrote an op-ed.”

Christopher Ave, communications director for the county health department, submitted it to us without any mention of Fenton’s role, although Page and Fenton’s office were keenly aware that we would not accept so-called written editorials. locally submitted from New York. We had no reason to suspect that Ave, a former Post-Dispatch publisher, would be part of such a deceptive workaround. We have asked him for a debriefing and are awaiting a response.

Unfortunately, we were duped, as apparently other local media outlets. Such manipulative practices only serve to undermine public trust at a time when credibility is paramount in the effort to fight ignorance and defeat the coronavirus.

Jefferson City News-Tribune. August 21, 2021.

Editorial: State must speed up screening program

The federally supported program to provide schools with COVID-19 testing is being touted as an important resource for schools to safely open up to in-person instruction this fall.

The federally supported program to provide schools with COVID-19 testing is being touted as an important resource for schools to safely open up to in-person instruction this fall.

However, the Missouri departments of health and elementary and secondary education need to redouble their efforts to have the program run by next week, when many schools begin in the fall.

The Missouri Independent reported that it is not clear if the program will be ready by then.

The Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services offers the program to public, private, and K-12 charter schools. He works with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Participating students, staff and teachers would undergo regular weekly testing – whether or not showing symptoms of COVID-19 – as a way to help schools identify positive cases early, according to a Missouri Independent article. . These tests would then be processed as a batch by a lab, rather than individually. If the result is positive, each person will be tested individually to identify the positive case.

The state health department and DESE are “very close” to finalizing an emergency contract for a supplier to operate the program for the first half of the year, a spokesperson for the health department told the ‘Press Agency.

A DHSS spokesperson also said the ministry expects the program to be launched shortly after the contract is executed.

The Missouri Independent reported that schools would apply to participate in the program.

The program would facilitate bulk testing and offer a test manager, supplies, software platform to track results, etc. Examples of its use in the DHSS program guide include testing classrooms as a cohort, regularly testing children under 12 who are not yet eligible to receive Pfizer’s vaccine or help facilitate safe participation in extracurricular activities like sports or group, the news agency reported.

The CDC said the program was central to its directions for reopening schools.

We also believe that the program could be a valuable tool in tackling this pandemic. As a nation, we have spent significant amounts of money on programs that only indirectly target COVID-19. Programs like this will have a direct impact on the fight against this pandemic.

We urge DESE and DHSS to expedite the contract so that the program can begin. We also urge schools to consider participating.

Kansas City Star. August 24, 2021.

Editorial: 2-year-old kidnapped in Kansas City. Why was the statewide Amber Alert not issued?

Two-year-old Khalecia Richards is fortunate enough to be alive after being kidnapped – by accident, as it turned out – by a car thief who apparently didn’t know she was in the back seat when ‘he left from a convenience store near Linwood. Boulevard and Indiana Avenue in Kansas City.

But a week later, law enforcement officials still can’t explain why no Amber Alerts were issued last Tuesday, and that’s a problem.

By the Kansas City Police Department itself, Khalecia’s disappearance met all the criteria for such an alert. These include having detailed information about the victim and suspect, a reasonable belief that an abduction has taken place, and a credible threat of serious bodily harm or death to someone 17 years of age or younger.

Kansas City Police officials were in communication with the Missouri Highway Patrol when the child was located so the alert was no longer needed, a Highway Patrol spokesperson said. But she had been missing for 90 minutes, so why the delay in relaying the information to the public?

A child is most likely to be killed within three hours of an abduction, according to a United States Department of Justice study on child abduction homicides.

Amber Alerts exist for a reason, and unnecessary delays in exchanging information put missing children at additional risk.

His abduction was reported at around 5:40 p.m. on August 17. Kansas City Police were still requesting an Amber statewide alert when the child was found around 7:20 p.m. in a backyard near North Fifth Street and Walker Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

New information was coming in every minute, Kansas City Police officials said. But almost an hour passed between the time the girl was reported missing and even a local media alert was triggered.

Although the police were lucky this time around, the KCPD must resolve any communication issues that have prevented critical information from being released to the public about Khalecia’s disappearance.

That the police just didn’t do it is a fact, but it’s not the explanation her family deserves.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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