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The [Thursday] Papers

Here's a Beachwood Reporter exclusive: Mayor Richard M. Daley is running for re-election.

The Sun-Times and now the Tribune both seem afraid to say it, though they feel confident enough in their sources to publish the fact that Chicago Housing Authority chief executive Terry Peterson is leaving that post to run Daley's campaign - the campaign the papers won't acknowledge exists.

Why won't they acknowledge the existence of a campaign whose manager they are naming?

Because the mayor hasn't told them it's okay to say so.

The mayor traditionally doesn't make his re-election announcements until December. So even if a re-election campaign exists, the papers won't acknowledge it until the mayor holds what historian Daniel Boorstin used to call a "pseudo event" and says so. Even though it's already true.

In other words, the media is waiting for an artificial event to report as true what it knows already exists in reality.

In the meantime, the mayor gets a couple of days of good press to lay out his case for re-election without "officially" being a candidate, like about how courageous he was to selflessly take on the city's schools and public housing against all political consideration, even as he continues to politically exploit the fact that he took on the city's schools and public housing. Without, by the way, anyone questioning what he has done in either realm - or whether he really selflessly took on the city's schools and public housing or had both thrust upon him.

"When I make a decision, I will look for Terry," Daley said yesterday, sidestepping "confirmation" that he is running for re-election.

But the Sun-Times reported on Wednesday that Daley had already chosen Peterson to manage his re-election campaign. In today's paper, a photo caption says "Mayor Daley has chosen Peterson to head his re-election campaign."

In today's story says, "CHA chairwoman Sharon Gist-Gilliam, who will replace Terry Peterson as CEO, made no bones about why Peterson is leaving. 'Terry can't be leading the campaign from this office, so he will go over there and do that and I'll move across the hall to the CEO seat."

So there is a campaign. Yet, the Sun-Times reports in the same story that Daley "insisted he has not decided whether to seek a sixth term, and won't until after the November election," leading the paper to pretend there isn't a campaign even as it reports sideways that there is one.

It's not as if the mayor asked for a correction to the Sun-Times's story on Wednesday. Did the mayor say the paper had gotten its story wrong? Did he say it wasn't true that, as reported on Wednesday, he switched Peterson's assignment only after being convinced that there would be a "seamless transition" at CHA?

The Tribune joined the silliness this morning. In the lead to its story, the paper stated the Daley was "sounding more than ever like a candidate for re-election," leaving open the possibility that he wasn't yet a candidate.

Three paragraphs later, the paper cited City Hall sources in whom it had enough confidence to publish saying that Peterson will serve as Daley's campaign manager.

In what universe is that not confirmation that there is indeed a campaign?

Meanwhile, Peterson says he "has not been asked to take any immediate tasks on [Daley's] behalf." No immediate tasks. Except to resign as head of the CHA.

Or maybe he did that to spend more time with his family.

Mayor Soul Man . . .
. . . is John Kass's new moniker for our main man. Kass also says Peterson's real job "is to pretend to be the campaign manager while mayoral brains Billy Daley, Tim Degnan and Jeremiah Joyce do the plotting."

With rage particularly high among African Americans upset about the recent whitewash of decades of police torture, the mayor also hopes to gain politically by naming an African American as the ostensible campaign manager. Maybe that's why a mayoral aide afraid to use his or her real name told the Sun-Times on Wednesday such a touching tale as how personally close Rich and Terry are, how they go to ballgames together and such. It diverts the skeptical mind that might suspect the existence of the exploitation of race in Chicago politics.

Plamegate Pablum
Sun-Times editorial page editor Steve Huntley attacks Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame in light of the revelation that deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage was Robert Novak's primary source in the column that kicked off the whole brouhaha.

Huntley fails to disclose that he is Novak's editor at the Sun-Times.

He also plays fast and loose with the facts - and with his facile interpretation of events.

Huntley says Plamegate was "fueled by left-wing anger over the Bush Iraq war." The latest Newsweek poll shows 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the war. There aren't that many left-wingers in the country, so Huntley's statement is just nonsense. Not only that, but the war was vigrously opposed by many conservatives, including William F. Buckley and George Will, as well as traditional mainstream Republicans such as Brent Scowcroft and, by most accounts, the president's father. It's also news to me that the left-wing is far more concerned with outing CIA agents than the right-wing.

Yet, Huntley states that it was left-wing anger that caused the Bush administration to name Fitzgerald as special prosecutor in the case.

If that's the case, it would be the first and only time that left-wing anger ever forced the Bush administration to do anything. Second, Fitzgerald was named special prosecutor only after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the investigation because of a conflict of interest. That's just a fact.

Huntley then wonders why Fitzgerald's investigation continued for so long when he knew Armitage was a Novak source 31 months ago. Instead of shutting down the investigation, Fitzgerald kept digging, eventually charging Scooter Libby with obstruction of justice and perjury. Huntley apparently doesn't consider that Libby's alleged obstruction extended the investigation. Nor does he mention that presidential henchman Karl Rove was this/close to being similarly indicted.

Instead, Huntley speculates about Fitzgerald's political motives. If there is one person in public service in Illinois who has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to political motives, it is Fitzgerald.

The same can't be said for Huntley.

The Donald
Huntley publishes another press release on his Commentary page today, this one authored by Don Rumsfeld. Because Rumsfeld has so few ways to get his message out.

PR Offensive
In the Tribune today: "U.S. Offers $20 million For Better PR On Iraq" next to "Shootings, Blasts Kill Dozens In Iraq."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Public relations by other means.



Permalink

Posted on August 31, 2006


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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