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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Instead of bearing witness to President Barack Obama 's second inauguration in prime seats in Washington, D.C., Father Michael Pfleger went to an Aurora High School Monday night with a Martin Luther King Day warning: The slain civil rights leader's message must not be watered down, and he should not be treated like a history lesson," the Sun-Times reports.

"Let me make it clear. If you've studied Dr. King, his message was prophetic, and his message was radical," the pastor from Chicago's South Side said.

And then the Sun-Times proceeds to water down King's message with empty quotes instead of daring to explore what he really said about race, economics and American militarism.

*

For example.

*

Let us add: A Chance To Revisit The Real Dr. King.

It speaks eloquently to the problem with demonizing political opponents. The result of such a political discourse - which Obama could have changed if he ordered his campaign and political staffs to engage in a different kind of rhetoric - is the kind of polarization we see now, along with the worst kind of hypocrisy.

To wit:

*

You would think that the coincidence of Barack Obama's second inauguration with the King holiday would spur some hard thinking in the media instead of the most simple, surface narrative - if you lived in an alternate universe.

In this universe, local news organizations sent reporters to Washington to cover a speech, a parade and a handful of (corporate-sponsored) balls. For what? So each reporter could see for themselves which designer Michelle wore?

If only that much attention was paid to the decimation of the South and West Sides that happened right under our noses in the last decade. But then, that kind of coverage never makes it into the marketing plan.

*

"As he was ceremonially sworn in for a second term on Monday, President Barack Obama made it clear he would embrace a progressive agenda that would likely push for further reforms in immigration, gun safety, climate change and gay rights," the Sun-Times reports.

Did he really? He made it clear he would embrace a progressive agenda? Why would he do that now when he's never done it before? One thing he has done before, however, is mouth the words. That's not the same as embracing.

Besides that, his agenda on immigration, gun safety, climate change and gay rights hardly qualifies as "progressive," unless we are now using that word interchangeably with "standard centrism."

And what's missing from that agenda? JOBS.

Maybe that's your lead.

*

"He pushed for unity, repeating 'We, the people,' his voice echoing to the back of the National Mall. 'My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment,' the president said."

What does that even mean? In what way are we "made for this moment." What moment? A moment of economic crisis and political polarization? Is that the moment we are made for? We were made by, um, God, to, you know, meet this moment?

We can read the transcript and watch the video. We don't need public relations stenography.

*

The Tribune used a Los Angeles Times/Tribune Company report, as is its habit, for its standard inauguration story - which also neglected to point out the president's apparent omission of the economy in his speech.

"Just over 18 minutes - relatively short by historical standards - the address hit several major policy priorities that Obama hopes to pursue," David Lauter writes.

First up is gay rights. Of course, reports in neither paper mention that not only was Obama once against gay marriage on religious grounds, but that his "evolution" stops short of federal action and instead endorses states' rights on the issue.

Next is action on climate change, which at least Lauter notes was ignored by the president in his first term.

Then comes immigration reform. Reports fail to note that Obama has overseen more deportations by far than under the George W. Bush administration - and they've risen each year Obama has been in office. Reform thyself!

(The Tribune at least reported on this in its pre-inauguration coverage.)

Finally, gun control legislation. To paraphrase Sydney Ellen Wade: Congratulations, it will only have taken you five years to put together gun control legislation which has no hope of controlling guns.

Now, I haven't yet read through all of the inauguration coverage, so if I'm missing something, let me know. But I've seen enough to know it's a wank.

*

What Gary Larson said.

*

A small, tiny, infinitesimal piece of credit: At least CBS2 Chicago asked the question.

Cancelled out in spades, however, by How To Get Michelle Obama's New Look.

*

The Sun-Times, representing the vast majority of the Chicago media contingent:



vs. Esquire, which asks "Is President Obama Evil?":

vs. the Atlantic:

vs. me:

*

MID-MORNING UPDATE:

*

For more inaugural coverage, see @BeachwoodReport.

Sneak Preview
Hoarders in Humboldt Park.

Keef, Lupe & Ludacris
From jail, the inauguration and Markham.

Poetry Off The Shelf . . .
. . . And Out Loud. Plan accordingly.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: What Larson said.



Permalink

Posted on January 22, 2013


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