Today's contribution from the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page, who also serves on the newspaper's editorial board, is "Enquirer scores— but about the aliens." Clarence frets about mainstream media credibility under attack for not pursuing John Edwards's affair:
The blogosphere is abuzz with criticism of the mainstream media for allegedly failing to pursue the story of Edwards' alleged "love child" when the National Enquirer first reported it last year. In fact, major media did try to confirm the story without using the Enquirer as a source. It appears most of us in the MSM tend to be hung up on stodgy old-fashioned virtues like facts. The Edwards bombshell became problematic when none of the main parties in the story would go on the record to confirm the allegation. If you're going to use unnamed sources, which is questionable enough as a practice, at least make them your own sources, not those of a supermarket tabloid.
Former Chicago Alderwoman Arenda Troutman pleaded guilty yesterday (8/6/08) to felony counts of mail fraud and tax fraud. She faces up to 5 years in prison. The Chicago Tribune reported the story, and the Los Angeles Times published an edited version of the Trib's report.
Can you guess the one word that you won't find in either story? "Democrat." According to Wikipedia, "In 2006, Troutman was active in fundraising for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and in 2002 was a campaign advisor for Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards."
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
You might say nothing could be more unsurprising than a panel of political pundits admitting the obvious: that Barack Obama is playing the race card when he accuses John McCain of saying the Dem candidate "doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency."
But what makes the punditry panel's unanimity notable is that no one would accuse them of being McCain backers, and what's more, that they turned up on Hardball. Surely Chris Matthews, were he not on vacation, would have found one diehard to deny reality. But with Mike Barnicle guest-hosting, a consensus of truth-telling broke out.
Barnicle began by playing a clip of McCain, interviewed by CNN's John King, saying that it is legitimate to accuse Obama of having played the race card. The video is worth viewing if only to watch McCain end the interview by shaking a surprised King's hand and walking away. Then the panel commented. Perry Bacon of the Washington Post said he would decline to answer directly, but his answer left no real doubt as to his view.
NewsBusters has learned that presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has cancelled plans to visit two U.S. military bases while in Germany, this despite having all kinds of time to speak to gushing Berliners as well as getting in a workout at the Ritz Carlton.
One of the bases, The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, "is an overseas military hospital operated by the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense...[that] serves as the nearest treatment center for wounded soldiers coming from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Yet, as Ed Morrissey's Hot Air reported a few hours ago, Spiegel Online claimed at 1:42 PM local time (picture courtesy Chicago Tribune):
Today's Chicago Tribune features "Left speechless?," by columnist Clarence Page. Page, who also serves on the Tribune's editorial board, writes:
Besides whispering to another guest on the set that he would like to de-sex the Democratic presidential candidate, Jackson also accused Obama of "talking down to black people . . . telling niggers how to behave."
Jackson has since issued two statements of apology for his self-described "trash talking." He also might issue this word of advice: If you want to whisper something that could be damaging if traced back to you, don't whisper it over a microphone.
Am I surprised by Jackson's use of the racial slur? Not really. I was more surprised to hear that so many other people are shocked, especially non-African Americans.
Ethnic etiquette has always given greater latitude to epithets expressed about one's own ethnic group, as long as they are expressed inside of one's ethnic group. That's how people talk within one's family or ethnic group, especially when you regard your ethnic group as affectionately as you regard your nuclear family.
But if we hold Jackson to a higher standard, it is because he has held us to one too.
In the wake of Barack Obama’s complaints featured in Glamour magazine about Republican attacks on his wife, “MNSBC News Live” host Tamron Hall interviewed the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Dorning on the subject.
After asking Dorning if Democrats have ever attacked Republican spouses, Hall claimed that Cindy McCain has not been a target for the Democrats in this election:
We have not seen the Democrats, uh, during this election cycle attack Cindy McCain. Do you at all believe that that will happen if these attacks from the Republicans continue? Will it be a tit-for-tat that could inevitably make voters feel very uncomfortable?
Dorning went along with the assertion and even brought up criticism of Cindy McCain in the process:
On Cindy McCain, I don’t think people are gonna attack her unless they think it will help the political cause. And the only place I could see something coming up there that would actually be politically effective would be over the whole foreign buyout of Budweiser. Her family owns a lot of stock in Anheuser-Busch and obviously she would benefit from that. But in general it doesn’t quite fit the tone that the Barack Obama campaign wants to establish that they’re supposedly getting beyond attack politics. So I don’t see how that would profit them.
Of course, Cindy McCain has already been the subject of Democratic attacks. As Jake Tapper noted in his Political Punch blog in May, the Democratic National Committee attacked Mrs. McCain for not publicly releasing her tax returns:
The July 11 Second Amendment Freedom Rally in downtown Chicago was ignored by both of Chicago's major newspapers (Tribune search on "gun rally," not in quotes, is here [HT Say Uncle]; Sun-Times search on "gun" is here).
Focusing on the Tribune: Its editorial board last month advocated repealing the Second Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's Heller ruling, holding that the amendment confers an individual right. Perhaps not coincidentally, it has frequently covered anti-gun events with a similar number, or even fewer, participants, than were at Thursday's event.
At least one Chicago TV station did cover the Second Amendment Freedom Rally. Here is part of the report filed by Leah Hope at ABC affiliate WLS (video is also at the link; bold is mine):
Appearing as a guest during the 10 a.m. hour of the July 11 “MSNBC News Live,” Chicago Tribune managing editor James Warren compared McCain adviser Phil Gramm’s recent comments on the economy’s health to those of Henry Ford during the Great Depression:
But I think in the annals of a not particularly sensitive remarks this will rank up there with a bunch of things. Somebody, a historian reminded me yesterday, the auto manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford during the Depression said something to the effect that “these really are good times, it’s just that few know it.”
Warren then went on to suggest that Gramm needs to be reminded of the current economy’s impact on average Americans:
During the noon hour of the July 8 "MSNBC News Live," host Tamron Hall discussed McCain's new TV ad with Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman and Washington Post’s Kevin Merida. The ad focused on McCain's time as a POW as demonstrative of his love of country and Hall questioned how Obama could compete with such a story.
Well, look, Senator McCain's got this great story about what he survived and what he endured and his campaign wants to tell that story as much as possible because they think that that's something voters respect and it gives them a sense of what he’s made of. But Senator Obama’s got a great American success story, too, and it’s just a different one and I think voters are equally impressed with what he’s all about.
So, the story of a man who never served in the military but was a community organizer and graduated from Harvard Law is "different" but just as impressive as the story of a man who was a prisoner of war, tortured by his Communist captors and refused special treatment in order to stay with his fellow servicemen in prison?
OK, I am wondering here if the hanging of a black Southerner by the KKK in the American south would be reported by the Chicago Tribune in the same kind of vague language of “cultural” murder as a recent Muslim murder in Georgia was treated? More likely, of course, the story would be immediately pegged to the racist, white motives that actually led to the murder. In essence that is how the Chicago Tribune mishandled their reporting of another so-called Islamic "honor killing" that occurred in Georgia this week. They wrote about the "culturally rigid Pakistani" immigrants and said that "honor killings" occur with "other South Asians" without ever once mentioning that this is more often than not a Muslin practice. Instead of pegging this murder to Muslim "culture" the Tribune makes it a vague and nondescript "culture" so that the reader is unaware of the connection with Islam.
Today's Chicago Tribune carries a front page story on the late Jesse Helms, "5-time senator 'great patriot' who held fast to his beliefs."
The piece's author, Los Angeles Times staff writer Johanna Neuman, states:
Often he was the lone voice of dissent in the Senate. He was the only senator to vote against confirming Henry Kissinger as secretary of state during the Nixon administration. And he was the only senator to vote against making Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday.
Both assertions are wrong. MSNBC reported in a 2005 article on secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that Henry Kissinger was approved by the Senate in a 78-7 vote. And the King Center notes on its Web site that the King holiday bill, sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, passed in the Senate by a vote of 78-22.
In its eagerness to portray the late Senator as an isolated, extreme extremist, the mainstream media are making up their own "facts."
He may be dead, but Jesse Helms is still driving liberals to distraction. May he rest in peace.
The Chicago Tribune has lurched to the left of Sen. Barack Obama, at least on gun rights, marking the latest point in its evolution from a historically moderate-to-conservative paper to a reliably left-wing broadsheet.
That's how MRC Director of Media Analysis characterized the Trib's decision to issue an editorial last Friday calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The editorial board's writers whined that the Constitution's Framers "could have used an editor" in writing the Bill of Rights. [audio available here]
Below is a transcript -- h/t MRC intern Peter Sasso -- from Graham's appearance on the June 30 "O'Reilly Factor" with guest host John Kasich:
Shortly after Michelle Obama’s appearance as a guest host on ABC’s the View, her choice of clothing began attracting media attention, turning political and general assignment journalists into fashion critics. NBC’s Today show claimed that "fashion icon" Obama had started a "frock frenzy." Before that, NBC's Lee Cowan, who has said covering Barack Obama makes his "knees quake," gushed that "Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile."
Well today, Chicago Tribune fashion columnist Wendy Donahue took a stab at political commentary, using Obama’s dress as her news hook.
Remember how the media claims they are fair and balanced? Remember how "journalists" say that all they do is "report the facts" and that their overwhelming lefitism is left at home when they ride their eco-friendly bikes to work? Remember how they claim that they are the "watchdogs" of politicians and don't involve themselves in politics? Apparently the Chicago Tribune didn't get that memo because an Obama supporter visited a local Chicago store to snap the picture to prove that Obama shirts are being offered in exchange for a subscription.
So on my way to Saloon Democrats, I stop by the Walgreens on Clark and Lake. And what do I see just inside the entry? A woman with a bunch of baseball hats and tee-shirts trying to sell subscriptions to the Chicago Tribune.
The deal is, if you sign up for the Chicago Tribune at one dollar a week, you can get one of the hats or teeshirts for free. And what's on the teeshirt? Why "Obama" of course. It wasn't the official campaign logo but it was his name splashed across the white cotton fabric. The only reason I noticed is because the woman called out to everyone entering the store saying they could get a free "Obama" teeshirt if they signed up for the Tribune.
So much for just being "reporters," eh? But remember, the media is NOT in the bag for Obama!
But, doesn't this cozy relationship between the Trib and the Obama campaign seem to put their objectivity in doubt?
Michelle Obama could be considered a liability to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, especially with her controversial "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country" remarks. As such, the liberal media are trying to work against the potentially negative effects of her comments by portraying Michelle as a victim of those evil conservatives and Republicans, even though a prominent Hillary Clinton blogger floated a nasty rumor about Obama using a racial slur.
A June 12 article by Chicago Tribune’s Christi Parsons entitled "Whispers Get Loud Around Michelle Obama" follows this trend. Parsons wrote: "[Michelle Obama] is emerging as an enticing target for conservative critics." So, it’s only conservatives and Republicans who would criticize Michelle Obama?
Chicago Tribune religion reporter and blogger Manya Brachear echoed a familiar liberal media meme about orthodox Christianity in her latest "The Seeker" blog post, "Have Southern Baptists lost their way?" (emphases mine):
As a number of conservative Protestant denominations now face decline, leaders have chosen to batten down the hatches, endorse orthodoxy and herald the importance of sharing their faith with others.
But if these denominations narrow their theology at the same time they widen their outreach, is anybody going to listen?
As of 11:05 p.m. EDT I found quite different play among some major newspaper Web sites regarding the verdict handed down by a Chicago jury against former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko today. Both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times gave prominent play to the story on their Web sites, and the Los Angeles Times similarly teased the story on its front page, four headlines down the left-hand column. But the New York Times downplayed the story while the Washington Post failed to tease it at all on the Web site's front page.
"Ex-Obama Fund-Raiser Is Convicted of Fraud" read a teaser headline under the "More News" menu on the NY Times Web page, about a quarter of the way down the page. A search through the Washington Post's online edition -- looking for keywords "Obama" "Rezko" and "Blagojevich" -- found no links to articles regarding Rezko's conviction, however.
Earlier this morning the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy reported that Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) is gearing up to concede the Democratic nomination contest to Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in a speech following primary election returns tonight.
Not so fast, Clinton aides said, scrambling in short order to protest that Hillary is not going to throw in the towel tonight.
No one missed the fact that Barack Obama and John Edwards looked right together. "They looked fantastic together," gushed Jill Zuckman, the Chicago Tribune's able political writer. "They looked like a ticket."
Ms. Zuckman is a Chicago Tribune national correspondent and her gushy enthusiasm may strike readers as something less than what would be be expected from an unbiased, detached reporter. Although it's not the first time Ms. Zuckman's conveyed her appreciation for the combo.
In her June 28, 2007 dispatch, "Fighting the 'Who?' factor - Candidates considered outside the top tier struggle to get even a once-over from voters," she writes of:
Obama, an electrifying orator and the most formidable African-American presidential hopeful in history; and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a handsome Southerner and his party's most recent vice presidential nominee.
The risks and benefits of so-called payday lending are certainly worthwhile of media coverage, and genuine instances of fraud or exploitation are and should be fodder for criticism in the print media. But it helps when your highlighted victim actually has good credit to start with and/or isn't consistently turning to Internet loans to supplement income.
No matter to Chicago Tribune's Stephen Franklin who presents readers of the May 11 Chicago Tribune with the tale of woe of one Rochelle Parker.
Parker, we're informed in Franklin's lead paragraph, only wanted to borrow $300 for Christmas gifts and medicine, so she took out an online loan only to get slammed with 842 percent interest.
Yet in the very next paragraph, we learn this is hardly Ms. Parker's first experience with online loans, and certainly not with abusing credit as a supplement to income:
Wal-Mart is right up there with "Big Oil" as a left-wing bogeyman, and the mainstream media are often on the side of liberal activists screaming "Boo!" as our friends at the Business & Media Institute can attest. But today's Chicago Tribune laid out how "[b]ig city politics trumps low prices" with a labor union victory over Wal-Mart's plans to erect a store within city limits.
The paper's Web site featured a teaser headline, "Why Wal-Mart's not building here," [pictured at right] complete with a photo of the still-vacant lot that's been the subject of debate for over two years.
Another journalist has gone on-the-record equating conservative concerns about the liberal Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with racism. In a May 5 blog post on the Chicago Tribune’s “The Swamp” blog, writer Frank James expressed his concern about racist white people. James wondered, “How much of Sen. Barack Obama's supposed patriotism deficit among voters has to do with his being African-American?”
Why does James think that whites view African-Americans as less patriotic? According to James’s post, it’s because there is “an assumption on the part of white Americans that a racial group whose ancestors were slaves and which still complains about racial inequalities and injustice must by definition be less patriotic.”
John Kass, a right-leaning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, asked the obvious question in a Wednesday column:
Obama can't worry about Clinton's troubles. He's got a few of his own. And he'll be thinking what every one of us would be thinking, if we were running for president as Barack Obama: How the heck will "Saturday Night Live" ridicule me and Jeremiah Wright?
Kass had a few ideas of how SNL should do it:
Wright, Obama's ridiculously controversial longtime pastor, torpedoed the Obama campaign by releasing copious amounts of natural gas in separate speeches, one at an NAACP meeting in Detroit and the other before the National Press Club this week in Washington.
Though SNL writers haven't asked me, I'd suggest a skit called "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Clapping School For White Liberal Folks."
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
In her April 24 post at The Seeker blog, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear asked readers how they would keep the peace between Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests that maintain the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Brachear also noted the concern at least one reader of the Tribune expressed as to the grammatically, historically, and theologically sloppy way in which the print edition rendered a caption describing the church (emphasis mine):
Revered by most Christians as the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sanctuary was built over the place where Jesus is said to have been buried.
It’s the latter description of the church that sparked a newsroom debate this week. Reader Marcia Smith Marzec of Joliet pointed out that a caption in the Tribune’s April 21 edition described the church as "built over the site in Jerusalem where Jesus is said to be buried."
"Even non-believers know that for Christians, Christ rose from the dead, and therefore is not ‘buried’ anywhere," Marzec wrote.
Bill Ayers, a former radical leader turned academic and school reformer, has never been hesitant to speak his mind.
Although there has been no public response from him since his ties to Barack Obama — the two neighbors served on a charity board together for three years — were brought up during last week's Democratic debate, Ayers said Wednesday that he has a good reason for his silence.
The Chicago Tribune continued today to dance around the party affiliation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in its ongoing coverage of the Tony Rezko trial. [See Lyndsi Thomas's March 18 blog post here]
While Blagojevich's party affiliation was not explicitly mentioned, writers Jeff Coen and Bob Secter did note that a former Democratic fundraiser has testified that the governor "linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash." That came 20 paragraphs deep into the 26-paragraph article:
Ali Ata, a former high-ranking Blagojevich administration official, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a separate criminal case involving Rezko. Ata admitted he bought his $127,000-a-year state job by bribing Rezko and making campaign contributions to Blagojevich.
Tuesday's plea by Ata could have significant implications for both Rezko and Blagojevich. Ata becomes the third person to testify under oath that the governor had direct knowledge of Rezko's activities. Both Stuart Levine and former national Democratic fundraiser Joe Cari testified about separate conversations with Blagojevich in which he linked state contracts, business and favors with the raising of campaign cash.