The [Tuesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Just as news organizations face the question of whether to allow free advertising into their news reports by referring to the U.S. Cellular Fields and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowls of our world, the Chicago media in particular faces a question when referring to the Independent Police Review Authority.
The Independent Police Review Authority used to be called the Office of Professional Standards, until Mayor Richard M. Daley reconstituted the office after complaints about OPS became too much to politically bear.
But there is nothing "independent" about IPRA. The mayor hires its chief administrator.
Rather, the name is a concoction borne of a political strategy; it's a piece of propaganda.
Every time, though, the media refers to the Independent Police Review Authority, readers and viewers get the impression that some sort of outside agency is at work.
The media might be transmitting the fact of the authority's name, but it's also transmitting a falsehood about what it is.
IPRA's own website is straight out of Soviet annals.
"The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is an independent department of the City of Chicago staffed with the civilian investigators."
I understand that this is supposed to mean independent of the police department, but it's not independent of the City of Chicago, i.e., the mayor's office.
"IPRA was created by the Chicago Police Department in 1974 in response to public and internal concerns about the integrity of excessive force investigations."
Is this an admission that IPRA is the same thing as OPS, or an attempt to erase IPRA's previous incarnation?
"In 2007, by ordinance, the City of Chicago re-structured IPRA creating an independent City department."
Okay, maybe I'm nitpicking about the website, but it's all of a piece. So whenever I see Independent Police Review Authority in the press, I bristle.
David Axelrod came up with the "Urban Health Initiative" to help sell the University of Chicago Hospital's patient-dumping. I wonder if he came up with Independent Police Review Authority too.
This isn't to cast aspersions on current IPRA chief Ilana Rosenzweig. It's to once again ask the media to not allow itself to be outmanuevered by the people they cover.
Why yes, Danny, we do!
You made an ass of yourself hawking polls purportedly showing you leading all candidates in the county board race while simultaneously passing petitions to keep your old job. And then, having supposedly failed in a breakfast meeting to persuade Todd Stroger and his 10 percent approval rating to drop out of the race, you up and quit yourself.
I understand the concern that multiple black candidates could open a path to victory for white sewage district honcho Terry O'Brien in the Democratic primary, but you've already stated very clearly that you don't think Stroger can win.
The reporter asked a reasonable question.
More nepotism? Isn't this going backwards? It's like instituting legacies.
Imagine if your brainy kid lost one of those hard-to-come-by spots in a magnet school to an inferior student because the numbskull had a really smart older sister. Fair?
I understand the benefits of having kids from the same family attend the same school, but once again we see how magnet schools are solutions that ignore the real problem. Kids should go to neighborhood schools. Brothers and sisters can attend together. Many wouldn't even have to take a bus. Communities would be strengthened. And we could rid ourselves of magnet madness in all its incarnations.
But if we only had neighborhood schools, we'd have a segregation problem - though not necessarily one that much worse than what we already have. And apparently upstanding white families would flee the city. Neither problem is really the fault of the school system, though, so I humbly suggest we stop trying using the school system - children - to solve them.
I wonder which messages they are using. "Cheryle Jackson rules! Would you vote for her now?"
"In short, polling shows that Cheryle Jackson is a frontrunner in the race for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat."
Isn't everyone "a" frontrunner in a small field - except maybe whoever is running last? And maybe even then?
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Posted on November 10, 2009
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