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The [Thursday] Papers

"Five years ago today, a group of looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq, stealing artifacts thousands of years old - evidence of some of man's earliest civilization. Photos of broken sculptures and busted vases made international news," the Sun-Times reports.

"But lesser known is the damage looters are doing outside Baghdad. Elsewhere in Iraq, craters reveal illegal digs where thieves have stolen remnants of the culture that invented the wheel.

"'Holes are 10 feet deep,' said Geoff Emberling, curator of the Oriental Institute. 'It's like the surface of the moon.'

"The University of Chicago's museum today opens a new exhibit, Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq's Past to mark the damage. Photographs and objects tell the story of 'history erased.'"

Programming Note
Sun-Times broadcast columnist Robert Feder wrote this today (second item):

"We'll be keeping a closer eye on Steve Rhodes, the acerbic media critic who writes The Beachwood Reporter blog now that he's on the payroll of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

"Channel 5 officials declined to say how much they're paying Rhodes to write Division Street, a political blog linked off the station's Web site.

"Regardless of the sum, it sets up exactly the type of potential conflict of interest that Rhodes has been known to rail against on his Beachwood blog."


This is the response I sent to Feder in an e-mail, and I think it's important for readers to know:


I appreciate the mention in your column today and I'd be happy to tell you anything you want to know. A few things.

1. On March 25, 2008, I wrote this in my Beachwood column:

Beachwood Update A while back I wrote about trying to complete some deals to put the Beachwood on financial footing. Those deals are still, um, afoot with only a smidgen of movement, but I do have an announcement to make: I have begun a political blog on the side for NBC5 called Division Street.

This will offer greater exposure for the Beachwood through cross-promotion, and bring a small bit of needed revenue into the company. At the same time, I'll get to work with some of the Internet and politics folks over there, which hopefully will produce exciting results.

Please visit, but please be gentle. It's still in the early-going and many improvements are coming. In short order, the blog will find a voice and character of its own.

I'll keep everyone posted on other developments as warranted.


I suppose this means an ethical disclosure is in order: I am under no obligation, nor would I agree to one, to praise Channel 5 or criticize its competitors. I rarely comment about TV in this space, and as you can see today, I gave major props to Fox Chicago's Placko, as I have in the past. Regular readers know that I am a big Carol Marin fan, and she is affiliated with NBC5, though I almost always reference her here in relation to her work at Chicago Tonight and the Sun-Times. But I'm more than happy to field questions or concerns about this.

2. I will soon post a permanent ethics disclosure statement on my site. I have spoken to Robert Steele at the Poynter Institute about this because of this very thing: How to address the inevitable appearance of conflict even when there is no impact in reality. This includes advertisers, potential advertisers, investors and potential investors as well.

3. Readers familiar with my work at Chicago magazine know that I certainly did not hold my fire in my media column there when the Tribune Co. bought us (and the Tribune Co. never tried to interfere with my work). In fact, if someone wants to send me a story about why they think NBC5 sucks, go for it!

4. Not to nitpick, but I am not on Channel 5's payroll per se. I have signed a freelance contract with NBC in New York; it was a person there who hired me. I just want to be clear that I am not a full-time employee of Channel 5 or NBC.

5. Nonetheless, you are right: I should be under the same type of scrutiny as those I write about. That's sort of my point - that the media should get the same scrutiny it gives others. So scrutinize away! I welcome it, and again, I appreciate the mention.

Junk Pile
* That whole chicken and waffle thing got resolved.

* That whole O'Hare and Circle Interchange thing did not.

* Smokey, The Horse That Paints.

* "Canadians really shouldn't envy us. Like all truly cool people, they know not how much cooler they already are."

* Cubbie Cover?

* Reading With Scissors rules!

Park Place
"Apparently money does grow on trees, because there's no other way the Park District can justify the $22 million it's spending on Streeterville offices," Ben Joravsky writes in the Reader.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Linked in.


Posted on April 10, 2008

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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