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The [Wednesday] Papers

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin' . . .

"Video footage from the Martini Ranch Bar showed the officer downing shots just minutes before the crash between [Chicago police officer John] Ardelean's SUV and a sedan carrying [Miguel] Flores and [Erick] Lagunas at the intersection of Damen and Wellington in Roscoe Village," the Sun-Times reports.

"But Ardelean's attorney, Tom Needham, challenged his arrest because two fellow officers and a sergeant from the Belmont district station where he works and a paramedic said he didn't appear intoxicated at the accident scene.

"Prosecutors implied that the officers turned a blind eye.

"Ardelean wasn't arrested or given a Breathalyzer test until seven hours after the crash, when the officers' supervisor, Lt. John Magruder, said he noticed Ardelean had bloodshot eyes, smelled of booze and 'was walking kind of funny with a limp or something.'''

He appeared intoxicated to his supervisor seven hours after the crash - which killed Flores and Lagunas - but somehow had not appeared intoxicated to fellow officers at the time of the accident.


"There was too little time and too many witnesses for a police conspiracy to protect Ardelean to have 'gelled,'" Judge Thomas Gainer Jr. wrote in his ruling in throwing out key evidence in the case.

A "conspiracy" doesn't need time to gel when it's just the way things are done.

"Gainer also acquitted three Chicago cops accused of attacking a group of businessmen in the Jefferson Tap bar beating case last year."

I'm not sayin' . . .

"Prosecutors are reviewing the judge's ruling in the Ardelean case and will decide whether to continue by the next hearing on May 25, Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jim Byrne said.

"But victims' relatives fear a conviction may now be impossible."

"Reporters say the White House is thin-skinned, controlling, eager to go over their heads and stingy with even basic information," Politico reports. "All White Houses try to control the message. But this White House has pledged to be more open than its predecessors, and reporters feel it doesn't live up to that pledge in several key areas:

"* Day-to-day interaction with Obama is almost nonexistent, and he talks to the press corps far less often than Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush did. Clinton took questions nearly every weekday, on average. Obama barely does it once a week.

"* The ferocity of pushback is intense. A routine press query can draw a string of vitriolic e-mails. A negative story can draw a profane high-decibel phone call or worse. Some reporters feel like they've been frozen out after crossing the White House.

"*Except toward a few reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs can be distant and difficult to reach - even though his job is to be one of the main conduits from president to press. 'It's an odd White House where it's easier to get the White House chief of staff on the phone than the White House press secretary,' one top reporter said.

"* And at the very moment many reporters feel shut out, one paper - The New York Times - enjoys a favoritism from Obama and his staff that makes competitors fume, with gift-wrapped scoops and loads of presidential face time."

If you don't respect yourself, no one else will. The highest levels of the Obama campaign laughed their heads off at how easy it was to manipulate the media to its favor. Now that they're in the White House, they're not going to change - and that doesn't mean being open and transparent, because that's not what was going on during the campaign, though many press fools thought it was.

"And this attitude, many believe, starts with the man at the top. Obama rarely lets a chance go by to make a critical or sarcastic comment about the press, its superficiality or its short-term mentality. He also hasn't done a full-blown news conference for 10 months."

Hypocrisy run amok. If Obama seems overexposed, it's because he spends so much time in baseball broadcast booths and filling out NCAA brackets on ESPN. That's media access of a sort, but not a journalistic sort.

"If you cover City Hall, you talk to the mayor. If you cover the Yankees, you'll hang around Derek Jeter's locker. The White House is no different, and aides past routinely filled that need by letting the press pool toss the president a couple of questions every so often, usually at one of the various events that fill his calendar every day.

"Not Obama. He has severely cut back the informal exchanges with the press pool, marking a new low in presidential access.

"The numbers speak for themselves: during his first year in office, President Bill Clinton did 252 such Q&A sessions - an average of one every weekday. Bush did 147. Obama did 46, according to Towson University Professor Martha Kumar.

"'Too many of the president's meetings are 'no coverage' for my taste,' said ABC's Ann Compton. 'That is a stark reduction in access for us.'"

And that doesn't even count the time he ditched the press entirely. That might not seem like a big deal but if something had happened, who would have been there to report it? Some things go along with being the president, and being a living historical figure is one of them.

"One of the most irritating practices of the Obama White House is when aides ignore inquiries or explicitly refuse to cooperate with an unwelcome story - only to come out with both guns blazing when it takes a skeptical view of their motives or success."

This is a classic we see practiced here often - by Michael Madigan most recently, who couldn't find time to answer the Tribune's questions during 11 months of reporting on his conflicts of interest but quickly released an 11-page response in the aftermath of the Trib's story.

"You will give them ample opportunity on a story. They will then say, 'We don't have anything for you on this.' Then, when you write an analytical graf that could be interpreted as implying a political motive by the White House, or something that makes them look like anything but geniuses, you will get a flurry of off the record angry e-mails after you publish," one national reporter said."

Hey, it's the Chicago Way. What's depressing is that the media is just catching on now.

Alexi Vs. Everyday People
How the banking scion is just like us - sort of.

Poker Dreams & Gambling Machines
The Midland Authors Awards show once again that non-fiction's distinct advantage over fiction is that this stuff really happened!

Big Z: Fantasy Value?
And the best second baseman you've never heard of. In Fantasy Fix.

The Clown Prince of Chicago Kiddie TV: Part 2!
"Kiddie TV as you remember it from your childhood indeed did disappear, and the reason ultimately leads to the industry being a business, which means that the best way for a station manager to stay a station manager is to fill the coffers," Bill Jackson told our very own Scott Buckner.

"Providing you can maintain ratings, cutting costs builds profits. If a station's bottom line is the bottom line as opposed to creating quality programs, you eliminate the cost of producing your own shows and buy syndicated off-network reruns that long ago paid their creators' fortunes. The toughest competition I ever faced was when WGN threw reruns of Batman and The Flintstones against me. Today, most stations create a few 'keep the hounds at bay' community service programs, but otherwise limit their production to bare bones standbys, meaning News, Weather, and Sports."


The Beachwood Tip Line: Kiddie friendly.


Posted on April 28, 2010

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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