A KSDK-TV "Cover Story" on the closing of Homer G. Phillips Hospital misses the point; the Shroud of Turin creates a flap

For a KSDK "Cover Story," Mike Owens' Aug. 9 effort was typical: an overview of the obvious that missed the point. Passing off the anniversary of its closing as a news hook, Owens dealt with the shuttering of Homer G. Phillips Hospital in North St. Louis. (Was Owens trying to look empathetic to African-Americans? Maybe he should start with the security guards at the Casino Queen.) The point he missed was the motivation of Mayor Jim Conway, who closed it, and Mayor Vince Schoemehl, who never reopened it, despite his campaign promises: cut the padded payroll at Homer G. and City Hospital and thereby defoliate the city's employment rolls. Once, in the 1970s, the city employed about 10,000. By the end of Schoemehl's term, there were 4,500 city employees.... People, people — cool down. Last week's cheap joke at the expense of the Shroud of Turin was just that, a cheap joke. No harm or media criticism was intended. For the e-mailers to "Short Cuts" who complained that shots were taken at "Christian zealots" or, worse yet, that we claimed that the Post-Dispatch had been inaccurate, let's state this: The Post's article about the study of pollen on the shroud, as far as we can tell, is accurate, and we never said any different. Nor was any ridicule intended for Christians in general; the "zealot" term only referred to those who believe that Jesus was wrapped in this particular piece of cloth. Let's face it — that's a bit of a leap, no matter how old the pollen is. When it comes to cheap jokes, guess it's best to steer clear of the Son of God. Mea culpa.

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