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The [Monday] Papers

The mayor's media team got exactly what they wanted this weekend by putting a warmer, fuzzier Richard M. Daley on The Crazy Howard McGee Morning Show on WGCI-FM on Friday and inviting local TV "news" crews into the studio to film the breaking "news" for their "newscasts."

McGee proved to be the friendly "interviewer" they sought and the station dutifully screened out controversial questions from callers so as to not upset the mayor. And the local news shows ran with it - great video!

Nice job. After 17 years in office, the tough Chicago media finally found out the mayor's favorite cereal is Cheerios and his favorite cartoon character is Bugs Bunny.

What a bunch of chumps.

The Tribune and the Sun-Times went along for the ride too - although, in a reversal of the usual cluelessness, the Sun-Times at least buried its story. The Tribune put theirs on its front page.

That's not to say the attempt by the mayor's team to do some damage control isn't newsworthy. It's to say the media missed the real story, which might have read something like this:

"In the wake of the conviction of his former patronage chief, rebellious aldermen bucking his wishes on the big-box ordinance, and a special prosecutor's report that raised more questions than it answered about the mayor's knowledge of systematic police torture of African-Americans while he was state's attorney, Richard M. Daley's media team tried to placate angry voters - particularly blacks - and get fawning local TV coverage by putting the mayor on the Crazy Howard McGee show, where controversial questions were apparently screened out by the show's producers.

"The mayor's message team refused to answer questions, but the decision to go on McGee's show was likely the result of discussions about reversing the spate of bad news that could damage the mayor's re-election effort.

"With a radio host uninterested in challenging the mayor and local TV news directors eager to play the mayor's 'revelations' of his favorite cereal and favorite cartoon character into a feel-good story that wouldn't bum out viewers or wipe the smiles of their anchors, the mayor's political team once again hit the sweet spot of a compliant and naive media.

"Meanwhile, a list of just the most recent questions the mayor still refuses to answer include:

1. Who hired and promoted Angelo Torres?

2. Why didn't the mayor seek the truth about police torture during his two terms as state's attorney and 17 years as mayor when its occurence was an open secret?

3. Who directed convicted former patronage chief Robert Sorich?

4. What was the mayor's personal role in creating the independent political machine revealed in the Sorich trial?

5. Why does the mayor think Todd Stroger should be Cook County Board president, and should voters be offended by the way he was installed on the ticket?

"Listeners and viewers did learn, though, that mayor's favorite beer is Miller Lite."

Next time, make him buy an ad.

Crying Game
The governor uses his three-year-old as a shield, complains that the press made her cry, then wonders why they don't ask questions about how great his administration is.

Expats Act
On WTTW's The Week In Review on Friday, Channel 2 political editor Mike Flannery mentioned that conservative bloggers and right-wing pundits are crediting the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance with helping to foil the terrorist plot broken up by M15 and Scotland Yard, without explaining just how those tools apply to Britain's security agencies.

Party Line
On those dodgy stats that the Sun-Times screamed on its front page last week that CTA ridership was up and crime down, the Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch said: "I'm always suspicious about these numbers, and that's why I didn't write this story."

Meanwhile, Sun-Times business editor Dan Miller stated that because he hasn't personally seen crime on the Red, Purple, and Brown lines in the last three years, it must not exist.

Security Issue
"Several handguns have been stolen from bags checked by police officers, military personnel and others on United Airlines flights departing O'Hare International Airport, sparking concern that the weapons are loose in what is supposed to be a secure part of the airport," the Tribune reports.

Little League Lemont
Lemont makes the 16-team Little League World Series tournament.

Pretty Flowers
"The number of homeless Chicago Public Schools students has skyrocketed in the last six years, jumping from 3,500 in 2000 to 10,500 this year," the Sun-Times reports. "Chicago's homeless numbers top even New York City's and Los Angeles'."

Frankly Speaking
University of Chicago alum and Baffler founder Tom Frank, author of What's the Matter With Kansas?, one of the most-talked about recent books analyzing current American political culture, is guest columning on The New York Times op-ed page this month.

Number of commentaries Frank has written for the Tribune and Sun-Times, including before he left town for Washington, D.C.?: 0.

Likelihood that's because they never asked: Very high.

"In a Real Fight, You Pick Sides," the Tribune's Michael Tackett says, in his smart analysis of Joe Lieberman and the Democrats.

Wiki Simon Says
When Simon Pulsifer was in the eighth grade, he dressed himself up as Stalin and re-enacted the Yalta conference with his friends. Instead of getting a job after graduating from college, he spent 8 to 10 hours a day writing Wikipedia entries. Now Simon Pulsifer is the Wikipedia gold standard.

Planet Paige
"Fashion, fried chicken, massage cream. You see what they're doing, don't you? You know what's going on? They're trying to get me to watch. And I won't do it."

- Paige Wiser on the sports world's attempts to draw her in. Even the Lingerie Bowl, in the end, didn't work. "The referee calls were horrendous," she says. Nor did breeding soccer players with Spice Girls.

Family Guy
How Carol Marin sees the campaign for the Cook County board presidency.

Stroger: My name is Stroger.
Peraica: Your name is Stroger.

Amazing Autistics
The media is obsessed with amazing autism narratives. A parent of an autistic child objects.

Red Dawn
"Chinese punks want to show they're angry."


Posted on August 14, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - NHL: CTE Not Our Fault.

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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