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The [Friday] Papers

A very revealing discussion on Chicago Tonight last night about Jesse Jackson wanting to rip out Barack Obama's nuts.

Delmarie Cobb, an African-American woman and longtime political insider who supported Hillary Clinton, said Obama's Father's Day speech was "demeaning" and aimed at the traveling press, not the folks in the church that day.

Laura Washington said that Jackson genuinely supported Obama "but he's had a discomfort with his campaign all along."

Washington didn't put it exactly this way, but I will: It's because Obama seems to blame black people for their problems the same way conservatives do, as if blacks are inherently morally inferior. Jackson is more apt to blame an economic structure that keeps the poor not only down, but preyed upon by payday lenders, unscrupulous landlords, tobacco and alcohol companies and so on, while ignored by government and left to rot without health insurance, employment opportunities, decent schools or basic public safety.

White people growing up in similar circumstances would not somehow show more character than blacks do, but that seems to be the flip side of the Obama message.

Cobb also questioned how describing Obama as another Jesse Jackson would be an epithet, as was inherent in the criticism of Bill Clinton's remarks in South Carolina.

The implication that Jackson is a poverty pimp or blacks-only leader is incorrect, she said. After all, when he freed hostages or stood with farmers, they were white.

"It's a rewriting of history throughout the campaign," Cobb said, "throwing African American leaders under the bus."

Host Eddie Arruza asked Washington if Obama was throwing African American leaders under the bus.

"That's what Barack Obama's doing, absolutely," she said.

North on North
In a preview of John Callaway's interview with Mike North, to be broadcast tonight on WTTW, North mentioned that he stopped drinking last year when he realized he was in for a fight to save his job and needed to be ready for the battle.

Callaway pressed North, finally asking him if he was an alcoholic.

Addiction specialists will recognize - and be disturbed by - North's answer.

"No. They go to meetings. Alcoholics go to meetings. I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunk."

If North wasn't publicly discussing this I wouldn't be either, but when North says he's not an alcoholic because he doesn't go to meetings, that's obviously backwards in reverse. And stopping on his own, as he says he did, only makes him a dry drunk if he doesn't go through some sort of treatment program.

"I never missed a day of work," he added. "I was able to function that way."

As many drunks are able to do. They are called functioning alcoholics.

UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention by a faithful reader that this is an old joke. If you watch the interview tonight, though, I'm sure you'll see that North did not appear to be joking.

Obama's Message
The Sun-Times editorial page argues that Obama's message is "on target, and he should stick to it," rejecting Jackson's counter-message, which they describe thusly:

"He knows of kids who have gone a whole year without a full-time teacher. He knows of families who are on their third move since leaving public housing, each subsidized apartment more run-down than the next."

But, the Sun-Times says, "that doesn't absolve anyone from taking charge of their life."

Those are just flesh wounds!


Funny how we expect the poor to show a moral backbone far greater than that which we demand of the rich and powerful.

The Daley Show
So, in other words, Mayor Daley lied to reporters and the public about Taste of Chicago violence and police chief Jody Weis. After all, Daley lambasted the media for its coverage and, in his view, acting as if the Taste was chaos. (One of the local TV stations immediately cut from Daley's words to video from the night in question that clearly showed chaos.)

But the real takeaway is that Daley wants the public to know, through well-deployed sources, that he dressed down Weis in private. Nice.

Ask Amy
Phil Rosenthal nicely summarizes the craziness that is Amy Jacobson's lawsuit against Channel 2, but my favorite part of his column today is when he calls her for comment and she says "Isn't there something else to write about?"

Please don't cover my lawsuit!

Here are my favorite parts of the lawsuit (which you can read for yourself here, thanks to the wonders of the Internet) itself, some items of which Rosenthal also mentioned:

* "She was a well-respected television investigative journalist; some would say the best in the business."

Name three!

* "Defendant CBS, with the sole motive of boosting its sagging ratings, first aired an edited videotape and story portraying Plaintiff Jacobson as an adultress and disreputable reporter."

If that was the sole motive, it didn't work!

* "CBS collaborated with a Northwestern journalism professor to suggest that Plaintiff Jacobson's actions were criminally and blatantly unethical."

By "collaborated," she means "asked for comment."

* Jacobson claims the videotape wasn't newsworthy.

After complaining about how many news stories about it followed!

* After graduating from the University of Iowa with a 3.94 GPA, "she progressed from needing food stamps to earning more than $100,000 a year as an award-winning-Chicago reporter."

I'm not sure what bothers me more, wondering if she was really on food stamps or how terribly unfair it was that she was making more than a hundred grand a year.

* "Defendant Weldon is an assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University who does not specialize in ethics."

Neither does Jacobson!

"Defendant Weldon's statements and opinions were directly contrary to those of journalism ethics professors around the country."

Name three!

* "Plaintiff has made many attempts to gain employment in the news industry. The search has led her from Tampa, FL; to Washington D.C.; to Phoenix, AZ, to Los Angeles, CA and many places in between. Stations have refused to even interview her because of the videotape and the false light Defendants placed her in."

Maybe tell the food stamps story.

* "As a direct result of the conduct of Defendants CBS, Ahern, Fowler, Puccinelli, Johnson, Weldon and Reardon, set forth above, Plaintiff, Jaime Anglada [Jacobson's husband], was deprived of the financial support of Amy Jacobson, her companionship, her felicity, sexual relations and related losses."

Um, what?


Jacobson will have a very difficult time proving invasion of privacy; her defamation claim is very thin, but her suit does raise questions about the origins of the videotape and the way Channel 2 edited it. If Jacobson can show that Channel 2 reporters/editors/producers ever uttered comments like "Let's get her!" than she might have a fleeting chance. But this lawsuit is extremely thin on legal argument and doesn't seem designed with the objective of actually winning a court case. Whatever the objective, Jacobson didn't do herself any favors with this.


And as an antidote to Eric Zorn's odd defense of Jacobson (and his usual, screeching attacks on his commenters), remember that 1) Jacobson herself told Spike O'Dell that "I know that I made a horrible mistake; 2) Jacobson was also sharing her reporting with the police, as was her habit and which is a cardinal journalistic sin, and; 3) Channel 5 considered not just the Stebic incident in dismissing her but, according to Rosenthal's reporting, an accumulation of incidents.


See also:
- Did fired Channel 5 reporter Amy Jacobson really deliver "scoops"? Soap opera voyeurism should never be mistaken for journalism.

- When Geraldo Rivera is laughing at your loose journalistic standards, you know you've screwed up. Unless you're Eric Zorn.

- Amy Jacobson's behavior is even worse than we thought. She was also too close to the police.

- The track record of a disgraced reporter.

The Beachwood Tip Line: More than a social call.


Posted on July 11, 2008

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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