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The [Friday] Papers

Is the Sun-Times's front-page banner headline "Are We Being Poisoned?" a scream for help from its staff?

Better, the paper should have said "Are You Being Deceived?" because the story isn't what you think it is.

Sneak Attack
"Barack Obama's presidential campaign 'scored a significant hit' against chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton 'by helping to place' a story about tainted Democratic donor Norman Hsu, according to an article about Obama in the December issue of The Atlantic," Lynn Sweet reports.

"The story, titled 'Teacher and Apprentice' by associate editor Marc Ambinder, describes how Obama campaign staffers were 'frustrated' because the press was not covering Clinton "in the way they expected it would.

"' . . . And at a campaign event in Iowa, one of Obama's aides plopped down next to me and spoke even more bluntly. He wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton's postpresidential sex life,' Ambinder writes."

Still filled with hope?

"Hsu also was a donor to Obama's senate campaign and his HOPEFUND political action committee. If Obama's operatives had a hand in 'helping to place' the Hsu story, it would be counter to the claim that Obama was running a different and unconventional campaign," Sweet writes.

Is that claim still operational?

"Asked for comment on whether the campaign had a hand in 'helping to place' the Hsu story, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said 'We had no knowledge of Norman Hsu's past criminal activity, fugitive status or potential straw donor scheme until reading it in the newspaper.'"

See "This Week in Obama: He's a Mudder" for reasons not to believe LaBolt.

Just Say No
The Daily Herald, under editor John Lampinen, who also resisted (briefly at least) in the Richard Jewell case (see 1997), gets it right again. As the Herald's Jim Slusher writes:

"This [Peterson] story out of Bolingbrook, like a similar case involving the disappearance of Lisa Stebic in Plainfield, is slightly outside the Daily Herald's circulation area, so we have relied mostly on Associated Press for coverage. Of course, we realize that we have an important role in serving the legitimate interest in both cases, and thankfully, AP has generally approached them with the kind of restraint we seek. Even so, our copy editors have at times had to edit out comments or phrases that go too far in suggesting the men had a role in their wives' disappearances. That assessment, is for the legal authorities to make. It is entirely natural for family members and even curious onlookers to conceive theories about missing loved ones and to discuss those theories with each other. But when we start making those discussions part of the public record, we come dangerously close to misconstruing them as actual investigation.

"Editor John Lampinen reflects that the Daily Herald must avoid 'pseudo-detective reporting that is blatantly unfair to the people involved' and adds, 'For those who would question the need for restraint in cases like this, all they need to explore is the case of JonBenet Ramsey, who was slain in the basement of her home in Boulder, Colo., in 1996. The news media and police spent almost 10 years vilifying and disparaging the parents, only to finally exonerate them - after the mother had died.'"

Sweeps Week?
"Is Your Pet Trying To Tell You Something?"

Only if his name is Brian.

"Learn How To Speak Its Language! The Dog Listeners. A special report with LeeAnn Trotter."

Tonight, on NBC5 "News."

The Daley Show
Not reported but seen on the video shown on Chicago Tonight last night was the mayor's smirk after pretending he didn't know what reporters were talking about. Why not write that into the story - it's observably true.

"The same Mayor Daley who constantly harps on the bad headlines he thinks reporters want to stick him with professed ignorance on Thursday to a front-page Tribune story about - and a federal investigation into - allegations that City Hall played politics in a Bridgeport land deal to benefit his allies.

"Then he suppressed a smirk as he once again ended a press conference by evading reporters' questions about yet another allegation of corruption in his administration."

Because that's what really happened.

Beachwood HQ
We have a very functional new desk.

How in the world do Brian Urlacher's visitation squabbles qualify as news? I'm not even going to link.

Monster Mash
"I remember fumbling to get the door of the emergency room open. Within ten minutes I was on life support and, subsequently, in a coma for three days. I was completely paralyzed from the head down. I was on a ventilator and had already been administered my last rites. And then I started healing - inexplicably. When I regained my voice, the first question they asked me was 'Do you know who the President of the United States is?' and I said, 'Yes - and he's a monster.'"

- Michael Patrick Thornton, interview, program for Steppenwolf's production of The Elephant Man (Thornton plays John Merrick).

Ride the TTA!
Tehran public transportation vs. the CTA.

The Lip
"Fake Democrat Dan Lipinski is now lying about his Iraq War record. His claim: Lipinski said he has sided with Bush on only two out of 13 Iraq votes. Plenty of other Democrats did too, he said. The reality (near bottom)."

Doll House
"Mall Threats Downplayed By Officials."

But the recent death of an American Girl doll suddenly looks suspicious; doll reportedly said her demise would look like an accident.

Sweet and Lo
Your media at work.

"I honestly don't understand why it's even necessary to point this out, but [I've found that] it absolutely is," Glenn Greenwald writes on Salon. "Saying something positive about a specific candidate does not mean that one: (a) is voting for that candidate; (b) is encouraging others to support that candidate; (c) believes the candidate espouses every correct view on every issue, (d) sees the candidate as flawless and god-like and the embodiment of political salvation, or (e) hates all the other candidates."

Also from Greenwald: "While Barack Obama toys with the rhetoric of challenging conventional wisdom, [Ron] Paul's campaign - for better or worse - actually does so, and does so in an extremely serious, thoughtful and coherent way."

My City Is Crumbling
The Big Horse mural is gone. I loved that mural. The horse was continually in the process of breaking through that wall.

Says Tim: "He broke on through to the other side. The other side was a glue factory."

We Are Not Men, Jerry
"Jerry [Seinfeld] had once pitched a way for the show to end - it would be a regular episode, and we would be in the coffee shop afterward talking and talking and talking until we ran out of things to say . . . and Jerry would say, 'That's enough.'"

- Jason Alexander, to the Trib's Lou Carlozo

Fantasy Management
"The New England Patriots have achieved sustained dominance since 2001, winning three Super Bowls and 76 percent of their games, including the postseason," Dan Pompei writes in the Trib.

But here's the thing:

"Only seven players remain from the Patriots' 2001 roster, and only two of them . . . were starters on both teams. So the Patriots have done a lot of roster churning, and they have done it effectively."

Reminds me of the Atlanta Braves.

Sports these days is a general manager's game. It's fantasy sports. With salary caps added to free agency, it's about churning and burning but winning immediately at the same time. Managers are left to do what they can with what they're given year in and year out.

At The Inn
Beachwood drawings.

My Favorite Thing
Kot and DeRo dissect The Replacements' "Let It Be," one of the great rock albums of all-time. I'll put it up against any Beatles, Rolling Stones or Who record.

Chicago Rock Vault
Annoying video, but I always dug this band.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Unsatisfied.


Posted on November 9, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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