The [Thursday] Papers
First, the news from Vancouver:
But . . .
"Is it me, or does anyone else feel the terrible weight of expectation being hoisted on the backs of the Vancouver Canucks?" Pete McMartin writes for the Vancouver Sun. "And the sense of impending collapse said weight I fear will cause the Canucks to come crashing to the ground?
"Don't lie to me. Of course you do.
"And you feel this way because there is a very good reason why the Canucks might not win the Stanley Cup this year, despite their sterling regular season record.
"This reason is called 'history.'"
So it's not just Chicago sports fans with an unremitting sense of impending doom.
For example, if an ex-governor already convicted of lying to the FBI and known for using the media to try to influence future jurors calls the media to his home six days before his second trial and says absolutely nothing new - and a lot that isn't true - you basically have two good choices: don't report it or show how he's lying again.
Unfortunately, our esteemed local news operations tended to take a third tack: They gave him free reign to spew his garbage.
Here are just two examples from local broadcasts that gave Rod Blagojevich relatively valuable airtime at or near the top of their early evening shows (the only ones I saw):
"Blagojevich really didn't say anything tonight he didn't say before," said Channel 2's Vince Gerasole. "But we're covering him anyway to help him sway the jury. Next week we'll drive him in our news van to the homes of prospective jurors to make his case to them personally, and then we'll put him up in our helicopter and drop leaflets over the city with tapes of his statement."
Okay, Gerasole didn't say that second part, but he did say the first - after his station aired Blago's tired complaints that prosecutors won't let him play "all the tapes" or call all the witnesses - such as Rahm Emanuel - who could exonerate him.
Over on Channel 5, Jeff Goldblatt noted that Blagojevich did not take any questions from the media after making his statement. In other words, he could have just sent in a tape and the station would have just run it.
Reporters did catch up with Blago while he was in his car and engaged in what Goldblatt called "a little friendly Q-and-A."
Blago was asked if this was a publicity stunt, which is a question that nearly defies metaphysics.
"Did you just manipulate us?"
"Of course not!"
"Are you manipulating us now?"
"Of course not!"
"But that's just what you would say if you were manipulating us! If you weren't manipulating us, you would answer honestly and tell us that you were. But then you'd be admitting to manipulating us so you'd be manipulating us . . . "
Here's a simple question: If Blago was not trying to reach a future jury, who was he speaking to?
The print media also seemed a bit at odds as to how to handle Blago's pseudo-event.
The Sun-Times, for example, engaged in their standard stenography.
(As of 9:15 a.m., the story is the fourth-highest on their website. Get those clicks!)
On the other hand, the Tribune's Stacy St. Clair presented a more even treatment, nicely including this nugget for example:
"The remarks - given shortly after 5 p.m. so they could be broadcast at the top of local newscasts - even included a brief reference in Spanish for the Univision station that was airing it live."
But writing next that "He denied that his remarks were an attempt to influence his next jury" was unnecessary. I know that's what some reporters - or their editors - are trained to do, but not all of us were. I find this acceptable only if he had articulated what other purpose was intended by his remarks. That's a question reporters should have asked.
New Jersey Preparing New Ad Campaign
Surge Protector's Fault?
"The perch, raised through an aquaponic system of agriculture, will be served with tartar sauce as part of an hors d'oeuvre that also includes grass-fed beef tartare and lobster, to open a dinner featuring only sustainably produced food and wine from America."
Here's an idea for Change: Have the president hold fundraisers for people who need help. His campaign staff could even put the video up on YouTube and get commercials out of it.
Chicago Way State
I wonder if they have a journalism department with any openings.
Approaching The Unreal
Powers TV Almost Here
Carl's Cubs Mailbag
The Beachwood Tip Line: In the bag.
Posted on April 14, 2011
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