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The [Thursday] Papers

"When the makers of the da Vinci surgical robot asked University of Illinois doctors to appear in a national advertising campaign, their Chicago hospital saw an opportunity to promote its expertise with the device," the Tribune reports.

"But the plan backfired. Instead of gaining national publicity for being leaders in robotic surgery, the doctors and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System are under scrutiny for endorsing a commercial product, a possible violation of U. of I. policy."


On Tuesday, I posted ProPublica's investigation into the affair.

If I'm not mistaken, the Trib has advanced the reporting with this in particular:

"The Tribune also found that some doctors pictured in the ad did not initially disclose their financial ties to the company that makes the robot, Intuitive Surgical Inc., as required by the university's policies on conflicts of interest."

Here's a word of advice: If you're going to violate the ethics of your profession, don't do it in a national ad campaign - especially one that includes your photo.


"University spokesman Thomas Hardy acknowledged in a statement that the university's participation may have been a mistake."

May have been? How could it not have been a mistake?

(The statement was not available for an interview. Again: Just because a public institution or official provides a statement doesn't mean you have to publish it. I wouldn't. Why would anyone anymore ever submit to an interview when they know they can get away with getting their exact words unchallenged into an article?)

"The university is committed to correcting any flaws the review may uncover related to the way it polices conflicts of interest, he said."

Content-free. Again: Just because someone provides a statement doesn't mean you have to publish it. Even if Hardy actually said this, instead of typed it, it wouldn't be worth quoting.

"As a large and complex organization that adheres to high standards, the U of I is compelled to tell its public this fact: the University is run by fallible human beings," the statement said. "It is operated by people trying their best. We regret when those efforts fall short."

It was simply a mistake by fallible human beings who might be brilliant doctors but somehow never learned that shilling for a medical device company with which you have an undisclosed stake violates a basic ethical canon. Oops!


Alternate: Not sure you want to advertise that your doctors are fallible.


I wonder if Hardy would have accepted such nonsense when he worked at the Trib as David Axelrod's successor. Seriously; 50-50.


"In a statement provided by Hardy, [Dr. Pier] Giulianotti said he received $2,000 last year in honorariums from the company, which he properly disclosed in reports to the Illinois secretary of state's office. Any failure to report outside income to the university was a 'misinterpretation' on his part, he said."

A misinterpretation? Of what?

Giulanotti's statement wasn't available to comment.

"Other doctors referred questions to a university spokesman."

What, they didn't even supply a statement for Hardy to e-mail to reporters?

City Mice
"City Workers Owe $3.4 million In Fees, Fines."

I've always wondered about this perennial. If I'm a sewer inspector or a secretary or even a teacher, should I be expected to have my parking tickets paid any more than the next mope?

I mean, if I'm Forrest Claypool, sure. If I'm an alderman, sure. But otherwise, I would suggest that city workers are fallible human beings - just like doctors.


War Games



The political class's favorite patsy is at it again with an "exclusive" interview with Elzie Higginbottom, eager to "distance" himself from Mel Reynolds.

Sneed predictably gives Higginbottom the most generous interpretation of their relationship, but my read on it is that Higginbottom was quite happy to align himself with Reynolds when he thought he could be an asset, and equally happy to drop him when he became a liability.

Worse, though, is Sneed's (predictable) utter failure to do her homework in order to ask Higginbottom the kind of questions a real journalist would ask.


Quite coincidentally, Higginbottom's name comes up in the first (video) item in today's Random Food Report.


The Reader's Michael Miner makes a good point about the sourcing of the Reynolds story, but there were other sources available.

For example, I chose to cite a Reuters report because Reuters had actually seen the charge sheet, which didn't contain the more lurid allegations that went viral without verification yesterday. Yay, me!

Robeson Recommends
The kids I work with at Robeson High School in the Urban Youth Journalism Program kinda mocked me for liking Sasha Go Hard and Katie Got Bandz, both of whom I still think have prodigious talent that separates them from the Chicago drill pack. So I asked them for recommendations. They named the artists; I picked the videos.

Bronzeville's Clout Dogs
Plus: Graceless In Chicago, Northbrook's Food Patriots, The Chinese Aren't Eating Enough Oreos, Shrimp Inflation Is Killing Red Lobster & Seattle Has A Hot Dog Style. In our Random Food Report.

Starlin Castro vs. Alexei Ramirez . . .
. . . vs. Javier Baez? In Fantasy Fix.


* Public Access To Mental Health Care In Chicago Dealt Another Blow.

* GAO: Data On Intelligence Contractors Not Reliable.

* Google Fiber Passes Over Chicago For Super-Fast Internet.

* Claas - Wrekonize War Within Tour: Chicago.










The Beachwood Tip Line: Hypodermic.


Posted on February 20, 2014

MUSIC - Chicago Drill vs. Brooklyn Drill vs. UK Drill.
TV - Jonathan Pie On Lockdown Pt 3.
POLITICS - Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting.
SPORTS - The Truth About Ed Farmer.

BOOKS - A First: Comics Industry Shut Down.


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