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The [Tuesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

Let's just state it plainly: The mayor is a liar.

But he plays dumb with the best of 'em.

*

Journalist convention somehow prevents traditional reporters from calling the mayor a liar. Maybe he "misleads" at best, or makes "conflicting" statements, or is not just "not entirely accurate."

But if you believe in objectivity, you have to report that the mayor is not just a liar, but a serial liar because that's what the objective facts show. To say otherwise is to subjectively spin - out of cowardice.

Power Grab
By Ron Huberman. Wow.

More MSM Madness
Oh for godsakes! They should be playing the spread with house dollars!

*

But what do I know. I'm clearly no Jim O'Shea. Next year Greg Moore will get MacArthur funding to build a news cooperative without a sustainable business model.

Illinois-Style Reform
"When the U.S. health care debate began last spring, the insurance industry and its congressional defenders fretted over the prospect that 119 million Americans might defect from private insurance to a public option, thus devastating the business model of wealthy insurance companies," Robert Parry writes.

"Since then, however, the industry has won so many concessions that the threat from the surviving public option has shrunk to about five percent of its feared effect. In assessing the House leadership's health reform bill, the Congressional Budget Office projects that only six million Americans could or would sign up for the bill's version of the public option.

"And, to make the picture even prettier for the insurance industry, many of those six million would be the chronically ill, customers that the private insurers don't want anyway."

Economic Indicator
(201): She's NOT homeless...she graduated early.

Target Markets
* "Although the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times both looked at property tax increases across the city on Tuesday, neither paper mentioned that across Chicago, black and Latino neighborhoods will see the highest percentage hikes in their bills," the Chicago Reporter notes.

"Four out of the five community areas with the highest percentage increase - West Garfield Park, Fuller Park, Englewood and North Lawndale - are predominantly black, according to The Chicago Reporter's analysis."

* "The morass of mortgage foreclosures continues to climb its way up the Chicago area's socioeconomic ladder," the Tribune reports.

"Once commonly viewed as a problem affecting low-income urban neighborhoods, new data show the greatest percentage increases in foreclosures are occurring not within the city of Chicago, where they declined during the third quarter, but in the suburban collar counties, which are using their limited means to help residents."

* "Homeowners make the best of life in unfinished subdivisions," the Daily Herald reports.

-

Okay, so it's tough all over. But no one channels yuppie angst like the MSM. My God, how to cope? Cut back on that Starbucks! And if you lose your job, remember: It's not your fault. Not like the poor people who are unemployed. Not like the blue-collar workers who lost their jobs when this country's manufacturing base disintegrated. That was just economics. That was for the greater good. But my God, what's wrong when people don't want to pay for crappy news?! Can't they see they need irrelevant reports of random crime in order to know what's going on?!

-

I'm confused. Are we supposed to be sad that - as David Carr writes in the New York Times - "while the business of business may be back, the business of covering it with heroic narratives and upbeat glossy spreads most certainly is not."

I mean, isn't that great news? Isn't that kind of business coverage part of the problem?

"Business coverage has been, at its heart, aspirational, a brand promise that suggests that if you clip the right articles, internalize the right rhetoric, then you too will end up as one of the shiny, happy people striding boldly across the pages of magazines with names like Fortune, Money, Fast Company and Wired."

In other words, business "journalists" have been the handmaidens to shysters and sharks, criminals and charlatans.

"But nobody is going to read, let alone aspire to, magazines called Middled, Outsourced, Left Behind and Clobbered."

Really? Put a dot-com behind each of those titles and try not to attract a readership.

"It's as if American business has lost custody of its own story."

If only!

But isn't that the point of journalism? You wouldn't want government in custody of its own story, would you?

Stop the madness, folks. Please. I can't take much more of this.

Aaaaaargh!
"[C]ompare how Wikipedia and Britannica treat writer Jack Kerouac," the Tribune's John Keilman writes. "Wikipedia's entry was written and tweaked by more than 1,000 users. Although the text includes 44 footnotes, you mostly have to take it on faith that Irishguy, RasputinAXP and the rest of the pseudonymous contributors know what they're talking about.

"Britannica's take was written by college professor Regina Weinreich, author of Kerouac's Spontaneous Poetics. It was edited and fact-checked by six company employees, three of whom are named in the entry.

"Which version is more accurate? Beats me. But if I were a high school English teacher, I know which one I'd accept as a source in a term paper."

1. So you'd take six Brittanica employees over 44 footnotes?

2. As an editor, would you accept a one-source story in which the source was, say, Regina Weinreich?

3. Has Weinreich ever had anyone in the academy disagree with her? Or is she the voice of God?

4. You don't know which version is more accurate so you'd accept a student who just cribbed from a corporately-scrubbed encyclopedia entry instead of someone who read through a richer, deeper Wikipedia entry?

5. "Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Brittanica."

Beachwood Relief
* "You tried to wear your Jesus costume into Family Christian stores and say it was a book signing" and other great texts from Halloween.

* "We put the word 'drunkard' into the search bar on Amazon and came up with 67,967 results. Here are the top 20."

* America's dirtiest college football player. And contrary to what we pretend we tell our children, he'll be rewarded handsomely.

* "Watching the Bears is very tough for anyone to swallow, particularly, the brain trust whose brains can't be trusted," George Ofman writes in Dead Man Throwing. "Jerry Angelo pulled off one of the most important transactions in Chicago Sports History by obtaining Cutler but soon, there will be three letters after his the quarterback's name: R.I.P."

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Texty.



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Posted on November 3, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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