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The [Thursday] Papers

You can't say the Sun-Times, which features a photo of Drew Peterson on its front page today above the headline "He Can't Hide Anymore," is violating the age-old principle of not reporting on suspects before they are actually charged, because it turns out Peterson is not, at least officially, a suspect at all.

"Illinois State Police investigating the disappearance of 23-year-old Stacy Peterson have repeatedly said that her husband is not a suspect and declined to say whether they think she was a victim of foul play," the paper reports.

I'm not going to bat for the guy, but the trial of falsely accused Kevin Fox began on Wednesday. Given the irresponsible nature of the media and its misplaced priorities, it's inevitable that another slimed suspect will turn out to be innocent. Didn't Richard Jewell teach these people anything?

Meanwhile, remember the screaming front-page headlines of terrorists planning to blow up the Sears Tower? Their trial is underway in Miami and there's nary a word in the Sun-Times and only a buried story in the Tribune - no doubt because of how shaky that case has turned out to be.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are right: It's about judgement and experience. And learning lessons. Unless, like the Sun-Times, you have no interest in anything other than exploiting other people's tragedy for commercial gain.

Black Thumb
"Another former governor of Illinois stands disgraced today," Eric Zorn writes in the Tribune this morning. "I don't mean George Ryan (though him, too, of course), but Big Jim Thompson."

As I've written before . . . did you ever notice that everything Big Jim touches turns to poo? I mean, Zorn doesn't even mention Thompson's putrid role on the board of Hollinger International where Conrad Black was convicted of looting his own company under audit committee chairman Thompson's nose.

Thompson, in fact, has a track record of backing losers. Remember the Wirtz bill? The crappy new Comiskey he got built by holding taxpayers hostage? The monstrosity bearing his name once known as the State of Illinois Building?

And don't forget, Ryan was one of Thompson's lieutenant governors and the co-chair of Rod Blagojevich's transition team.

Geez, if you see Thompson walking down the street, cross to the other side!

Don't Tase Me, Bro
"The Chicago Police Department's decision to Taser an 82-year-old woman - suffering from dementia and wielding a hammer to protect herself - 'bothers everyone,' Mayor Daley said Wednesday," the Sun-Times reports.

"Tasers are there to not use any other force. That's the issue you look at," Daley said. "But again, this is someone's mother and grandmother, [82] years old. That's why it's a very, very, very difficult job, the police department."


Did no reporter ask, "Why does that make it difficult, Mr. Mayor? Wasn't this an easy call for just the reasons you've outlined? The police can't subdue a crazy 82-year-old with a hammer without tasing her?"

"It's very unfortunate that it had to result to that, but I certainly, understand," said Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th), chairman of the city council's police committee.

"I'm pleased that they decided not to shoot her and they decided not to tackle her and that they didn't use the night stick, which may have been options if someone is swinging a hammer at you."

So the chairman of the city council's police committee thinks shooting the 82-year-old woman was an option?

She's not the only one suffering from dementia.

Loopy Tax
"Daley Rips Loop Business Tax."

Suggest tasing downtown business owners instead.

Child's Play
Only three of 33 paragraphs in the Tribune's front-page story today about the CHA rewarding redeemable "points" to residents for "good behavior" like attending a PTA meeting or kids cleaning their rooms were allotted to criticism of the program.

That means the Tribune likes it. Because, of course, the story could have been approached from the exact opposite angle.

"Other critics have charged that the idea that paying the poor to 'do the right thing' is crass and demeaning," one of those critical paragraphs says.

Who are these other critics? Perhaps their points could be elucidated. Or you could just rewrite the CHA press release. And we all know the CHA is filled with geniuses! Maybe they're the ones who should be on merit pay.

Here's what Janet Smith of UIC had to say:

"I bristle at anything tha deals with behavior change. That assumes that behavior is the problem."

If behavior was the problem, poor people would come from all sorts of backgrounds; screw-ups from Wilmette and Winnetka would wind up in projects too.

We still don't want to confront the blinding fact that poverty is an economic issue. Until we do, it will always be with us.

Character Issue
For quite a long time, after all, George Ryan and Conrad Black were rewarded for their bad behavior. The character issue is funny that way.

The Daley Show
"Standing in an intersection in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Wednesday, Mayor Richard Daley reprimanded the community for not identifying the shooters who killed a pregnant woman in front of her three young children on Halloween," the Tribune reports.

"You know who did it," Daley said. "Don't be blaming the police. Look in the mirror and say, 'I can do better.'"

Then the mayor returned to City Hall and espoused the same message to his administration: "You know who hired Angelo Torres. Don't be blaming federal prosecutors. Look in the mirror and say, 'I can do better.'"

Then he went to police headquarters and told officers: "You know who the torturers and abusers are. Don't be blaming the media. Look in the mirror and say, 'I can do better.'"

Didn't he?

Equal Opportunity
Then the mayor went to the Sun-Times and said: "You knew what David Radler and Conrad Black were doing to your paper . . . "

Protest Chic
"Teenagers today seem to care more about their iPods and Xboxes than what's happening in the world," the Sun-Times opines this morning.

Yes. Adults, too. Just look at the content of your own newspaper.

"One informal survey at a local college found that half couldn't name the country where Saddam Hussein ruled."

Yes. And serious editorial pages rely on informal surveys for their data. But what about the more rigorous surveys showing how many adults believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11? News illiteracy has never been bound by generation.

"We're all about practicing our constitutional rights at this newspaper and certainly believe that students should be encouraged to voice their opinion."

We do it every day! Just not, um, inside the newsroom when we see wrongdoing because, well, you know. Office politics. And we have mortgages to pay. But it's so cute when you do it!

"It's too easy today for kids to be apathetic and self-centered, so we applaud those who express any interest in our government's foreign policy.'

Of course, one look at the content of our newspaper show how little we're interested in foreign policy, hey, good for you!

The editorial goes on to mention that the paper is against the Iraq War without mentioning that it is retroactively against the war - after being one of its biggest media cheerleaders - and only has been for a few months.

So lessons a plenty on the Sun-Times editorial page today, young students. Learn well.

The Beachwood Tip Line: You will not be graded.


Posted on November 8, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Bad News About Human Nature.

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