Former Kansas budget director rips media for selective reporting

Courtesy Kansas Watchdog.

By Travis Perry, Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE — Former state budget director Steven Anderson ripped into Kansas mainstream media outlets Friday, accusing them of distorting the truth and harboring a hidden slant in reporting the state’s fiscal decisions.

Speaking to a gathering of conservatives at the Wichita Pachyderm Club’s meeting Friday, Anderson lashed out at the editorial staffs of the Wichita Eagle and Kansas City Star newspapers, accusing the publications of selectively reporting facts to cover a thinly-veiled bias.

“They pick and choose data sources, there’s non-reporting of relevant facts and misinformation is given legitimacy because other news entities pick up those stories as if they’re fact and report those news stories,” Anderson said.

He compared 2010 warnings about a looming revenue shortfall this year to new projections estimating a $506.7 million budget surplus for FY 2014.

“Where’s this deficit? Why isn’t this being reported? You think this should be a headline,” Anderson said.

Anderson, who stepped down as Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director earlier this year, also pointed to facts surrounding the state’s decision to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.

“It sucked so much air out of the room in Topeka the first year we tried to eliminate funding that they hardly noticed anything else we were doing,” Anderson said. “That $750,000 on the arts, you’d have thought we were shutting the whole state down.”

He noted that something often ignored in the debate was how that kind of cash could have taken 42 children off the state’s developmental disability waiting list.

“At some point we’ve got to have the argument about essential and nonessential functions of government, and to focus our money on the essential,” Anderson said.

Anderson, after leaving his position with the state, is poised to join the conservative Kansas Policy Institute as a senior adjunct fiscal policy fellow.

For video of Anderson’s address to the Wichita Pachyderm Club, see Anderson, former Kansas budget director, speaks.