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The [Monday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

"Anne Kavanagh - the enterprising Fox News TV reporter - not only snagged an exclusive interview with Loren-Maltese, she and photographer Jeff Sutker drove her from California to Las Vegas!" Michael Sneed wrote on Sunday.

"We barely made it on time - arriving at the halfway house with three minutes to spare," Kavanagh said.

She not only "snagged" an exclusive interview with Loren-Maltese - the first of many, I'm sure - but drove her to her halfway house? Is there something wrong with this picture?

"Kavanagh, who will air her entire Loren-Maltese exclusive Tuesday, said her relationship with the former Cicero politician began with an unexpected bathroom encounter at the Federal building right after Loren-Maltese was sentenced on corruption charges in 2002," Sneed writes.

"I felt the feds were unfair and wrong insinuating Betty adopted Ashleigh to get a lower sentence or encourage sympathy . . . and I told her she needed to create her own record for Ashleigh to read, other than what was reported; to let Ashleigh know how she felt. There was no doubt in my mind Betty loved her daughter."

With friends like Kavanaugh, who needs reporters . . .


You've got to hand it to Kavanaugh and/or the Fox marketing folks; she or they dropped a dime to Bill Zwecker too.

"Before savvy Fox News reporter Anne Kavanagh headed west to snare that first post-prison interview with Betty Loren-Maltese (airing Tuesday on WFLD-Channel 32), she dropped by Custom Wigs/Fantasy Headquarters on Milwaukee to buy a wig for Loren-Maltese, fulfilling a request from the ex-Cicero town president," Zwecker writes today.


And what now to make of this story?

Stats Class
"A third of Chicago public high school teachers say they were pressured to change grades last school year," the Sun-Times reported on Sunday.

Not exactly.

The Sun-Times - in conjunction with the Chicago Teachers Union - e-mailed surveys to all union teachers for whom the CTU had addresses for, according to the paper's own explanation of its methodology.

Of the teachers who were reached, just 18 percent - 1,437 - filled out the survey and returned it by the deadline. Of those, 1,205 were used because they identified themselves as teaching first-through-12th grades.

Now, in a political poll or some other such survey, 1,205 people would be thought of as acceptably representative.

But in this case, respondents were self-selected. It's not like the Sun-Times randomly called a cross-section of teachers weighted to represent the whole.

The Sun-Times did recognize this, quoting the dean of Stanford's education school making this point.

The "one-third" interpretation is highly suspect.

I don't doubt many teachers face pressure to change grades. It's a worthy story. But the methodology is a mess; why approach the story this way? You might as well run a click poll.

Real surveys are expensive. And anecdotes are just anecdotes. I see what the paper was trying to do. But there's got to be a better way.

Poor Sport
I would never hold it against someone if they didn't follow sports. I do, but I really don't care if others choose not to. It's not a litmus test for me; far from it.

And so I don't care if Neil Steinberg doesn't follow sports - though journalists ought to at least have a certain level of literacy when it comes to popular culture, regardless of their interest level.

I wish, though, that Steinberg would just say that he doesn't like sports and leave it at that. Because his explanation makes no sense whatsoever.

"To me - and I'm going to keep repeating this until it ends up in Bartlett's - sports is the same thing happening over and over again, Swan Lake performed 162 times a year," Steinberg wrote on Sunday. "Beautiful. Athletic. But it gets old."


The beauty of sports is just the opposite. It is live drama with no script. Nobody knows how a game will end. Nobody knows how a game will begin, for that matter. Every moment is unique, no matter how similar many moments may be to moments past.

The players change, franchises move, rivalries peak and ebb; and the drama includes money, drugs, scandal, honor, moral dilemmas - all the stuff that life is made up of, writ large.

Each season, in fact, carries its own narrative arc. Each team - each player - travels on narrative arcs of their own.

Sports in some ways are very much like, say, live theater - or Swan Lake if you must - except for the fact that it isn't the same thing each time out.

That's why it's so magical.


"When I interviewed Michael Jordan in the Bulls locker room - true story - I did not know who he was until I read his name on the back of his shirt."

That's just wrong.

Student Uprising
"Barrington Fifth-Graders Win Fight To Bring Back Chocolate Milk."

20 Tweets
Today's installment: Jeremy Piven.

Our Award
With photos.

Beachwood Sports
* "The fact is that in the aftermath of the announcement of [the Jay Cutler trade], no one has been able to find a comparable move in the last 30, 40 or 50 years," writes our very own Jim Coffman in SportsMonday. "In fact, there hasn't ever been one."

* Yeah, but is Devin Hester really this team's MVP? George Ofman makes the argument.

* The Cubs aren't the only poorly constructed creation of Jim Hendry. We visit his home to find more horrors. In The Cub Factor.

* One week, two deplorable stadiums, three wretched fan bases. By our very own Andrew Reilly in The White Sox Report.

Trusting Quinn
Four guys learn their lesson.

Cross Checked
According to one Dem legislator, the votes for an income tax hike were there before House Republican leader Tom Cross stepped in.

Chicago State's Political Science
How to get $40 million without ever asking.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Glorious and bastardly.


Posted on August 31, 2009

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BOOKS - Against Ramp Meters.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Elk Grove Village Empanadas.

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