The [Tuesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Todd Stroger just keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper.
Last night, in a combative interview with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight about the Tony Cole-Donna Dunnings fiasco, Stroger said "I'm sure employees get arrested all the time."
That prompted Stroger's office to issue a statement this morning essentially blaming the planet's pesky human population for misinterpreting what Stroger meant - which still isn't entirely clear.
I don't want to repeat myself so you can read more over at NBCChicago.com in a post titled "Stroger: Worst. Hack. Ever." The subhead is: "Cook County Board President's incompetence is unrivaled."
But wait - there's more. This morning on Good Day Chicago - and I saw this after I wrote the NBCChicago.com post - Stroger dug even deeper into his own doo-doo.
First, he said that firing Dunnings had nothing to do with Tony Cole. Instead, he said that Dunnings had long been planning to find another job anyway and this was just "a good time."
Of course, Stroger has already said that he fired Dunnings because he didn't think she'd be effective in her job given the media's insistence on asking about Tony Cole. I guess he never thought to apply the same standard to himself.
Stroger also blamed the Illinois State Police for not completing a background check on Cole. I don't know if Stroger has a valid point here - I doubt it - but he said that the ISP does background checks for the county, but the county's requests often fall to the bottom of the line behind requests from other governmental units.
Then Stroger complained that his plan to roll back the county sales by a quarter for every $100 spent wasn't getting sufficient media coverage.
And then that he and the county took way more flak over their sales tax increase than state legislators over transportation tax hikes, and that "something is askew in media and politics in this city."
I think that's code for "Paging Bobby Rush!"
COMMENT 12:38 P.M.: From Michael O'Connor:
Stroger made an even more idiotic presentation on WGN radio's morning show. He made deliberate reference to the North Side, as in the four commissioners who continually oppose his lunacy. The connotation being the the commissioners from the South Side and South Suburbs (who, open secret, are black) don't oppose him.
He dodged the question about most of his hiring choices, saying he just had three relatives on the county payroll and most had been there 15 to 20 years. But he did not address the hiring of friends, acquaintances, or tenuous political connections to others.
BREAKING BLAGO: Judge denies Blago "reality" trip.
See also "Is Blago A Flight Risk?"
This is the case that landed on 60 Minutes when two attorneys admitted they knew the conviction was wrong but didn't speak up in order to protect attorney-client privilege.
"Is Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about to be impeached on grounds of loopiness, obnoxiousness and a bad haircut? Apparently so. In defense of the Illinois state senators who seem to have already decided the governor's fate, however, the haircut really does border on the criminal.
"But it is unclear to me what else Blagojevich has done that a duly constituted jury would find illegal. Even in the matter of his menacing mop, at worst he's a co-conspirator in a dastardly act committed by his barber."
Even if you want to give everyone a mulligan - and that's an awfully big one - Robinson deserves no such pass. For years Robinson has been one of the worst offenders of peddling half-truths, outright falsehoods and mythical narratives with no relation to reality from both is perch at the Post and as one of the gang on MSNBC, and his award-winning 2008 was no exception.
The Pulitzer committee ended up not awarding any prizes in its online-only category. I guess there wasn't an online operation in all the land that produced anything as unknowingly telling as Robinson's work.
Really, I just wanted Andrew Kingsford and Tim Willette to be able to tell their parents they were nominated for a Pulitzer.
But we really did have the best debate coverage and commentary on the planet.
Mainstream media folks who praise the Beachwood often use the word "authentic" when talking to me. I find this curious. Isn't "authentic" kind of the point of journalism - as opposed to the inauthentic we are supposed to expose?
Sometimes I think about the way alt-country was described in its early days as "too country for country." Sometimes I think the Beachwood - and other new forms out there - is too journalism for journalism.
We can't really call ourselves alt-journalism because that's taken and has a different connotation. But maybe we can call ourselves anti-journalism because we're so, um, authentic.
Or as I told the folks at the annual convention of the International Newspaper Marketing Association, you say you want authenticity, but you can't handle authenticity.
Lost In Translation
The Beachwood Tip Line: In flames.
Posted on April 21, 2009
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