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The [Wednesday] Papers

Compare and contrast.

It's almost as if the Sun-Times is suddenly on a suicide mission.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, the previous Tribune "contrast" link for today's paper actually shows a year-old paper. I've replaced that link with the usual source link, but the page isn't showing up there either, at least not of this posting. A description of the Trib's front page follows below though.

(The best-looking tab in the city, by the way, is this one.)

Tab Tittle
RedEye breaks new ground! Later this week, men who leave the toilet seat up.

Tab Tattle
If you can find any news in the Sun-Times today, let me know. Editor-in-Chief Michael Cooke put the Hastert story on front page prematurely on Monday, when he still had the Bears and Cubs to play around with. Now the paper has just given up, relying on short wire pieces to cover the biggest story in the country right now, and one that could bring down Illinois's very own Speaker of the House.

The paper did assign a reporter, though, to cover the local "star" who has a bit part in an upcoming movie but hasn't gone Hollywood. And another to sit with a bunch of high school kids to watch Friday Night Lights. And it was impressed enough with a Star Newspapers story out of Richton Park about a dentist's office that also offers spa services to give it a full page.

It just goes to show you that tracking how many young people read newspapers is no measure of how many young people are interested in news.

Meanwhile, on the Tribune's front page: Hastert under fire, North Korea planning a nuclear test, the Dow Jones hitting a record high (and the Tribune admirably pointing out the "many left behind" in the economic surge, a proposed private express rail from the Loop to the airports, and a proposed $100 million performing arts center at the University of Chicago.

Great week for the Trib, terrible week for the Sun-Times. And as losers, they aren't even lovable.

Daley Dose
The mayor has come out in favor of covering up for politicians who have online sex with teens while sponsoring legislation to prevent predators from having online sex with teens.

"If you took the impropriety of every congressman and senator in Washington, D.C. [as an excuse to demand resignations], I don't think anybody would be left," Daley said. "[Hastert]'s been very fair to the city of Chicago."

Junior Mint
John Kass seems impressed with Jesse Jackson Jr. today.

"Jackson's litany continues: The high cost of maintenance contracts at the ridiculously expensive Millennium Park; City Hall's costly midnight destruction of Meigs Field; the $40 million per year Hired Truck scandal; the $100 million in taxpayer money in affirmative-action contracts to the mayor's white drinking buddies, the Duffs. And that doesn't even begin to cover what the federal grand juries are working on these days.

"'I think the city's broke,' Jackson said. 'And it's hidden behind the myth of what the mayor has done to beautify the city.'

"He wonders whether the Chicago media - so stern in spanking the Stroger family for political patronage abuse in Cook County government - will treat Daley with the same vigor during his re-election drive.

"'The answer we consistently hear is: But the city is beautiful. So it's Mr. Stroger's own fault that the county doesn't look beautiful,' Jackson said with a sarcastic smile. 'He should have planted more flowers and more trees, and then [the media] should ignore what's happening in the county.'

"What about Daley lately sounding like a black preacher, voice rising, finger pointing, a Mayor Soul Man if you will?

"'On one level, it's laughable,' Jackson said. 'On another level, it's smart politics.'

"Jackson's smart too. We might even get to see how smart he really is."

From the Desk of Neil Steinberg
The deep and politically astute Steinberg, on the other hand, doesn't think Jackson is very smart. But then, today he writes about how untroubled he is by his lazy political ignorance.

Trib Tech Trouble
From the latest edition (not yet linkable) of The May Report, a tech e-mail newsletter written and published by Ron May:

"Eric Gwinn ( called me last Friday and he is working on an article for this Thursday's Tempo section. He is the personal computer tech reporter the Trib. 45 years old. 16 years there. He and I had a great conversation for almost an hour and he dropped a bombshell on me. After discussing all the usual stuff and I educated him on the lay of the land in the tech world, he told me that the thinks one of the main reasons Chicago lags other cities in technology is The Chicago Tribune! He told me that I can print that. His point is that the business section is not focused on the local scene. I agree, of course. The Sun-Times, to its credit, does much more on the local scene. Eric wants to wage a war within the Trib on this issue. He wants to start writing about the tech scene (and he knows about things like BARCamp and TechCocktail) and in so doing he wants the business section folks to get ticked off, and start getting territorial. He wants them to come in and try to take it away from him. That is a real insight into how corporations really work: it is all about turf."

Hello, Noonan
"We are talking past each other, the left and the right in America," Peggy Noonan writes, in a Wall Street Journal passage approvingly excerpted on the Tribune editorial page today. "Which is odd, since all half the country does is talk. (The other half puts roofs on houses.)"

Because blue-collar workers have no political thoughts.

Numbers Games
Both papers report today that the denial of a sidewalk cafe permit for the Congress Hotel to allow outdoor dining for the next two months will force the layoffs of 25 workers. Neither paper questioned this figure, helpfully supplied by hotel management.

Both papers report today that reported "criminal incidents" are down 30 percent and "narcotics-related crime" is down 60 percent in neighborhoods with blue-light surveillance cameras. Neither paper questioned these figures, helpfully supplied by the police department.

Both papers continue to report lost prestige and credibility amidst hemorraghing circulation. Neither paper questions these figures, helpfully supplied by the public.

Hustlin' Hastert
Dennis Hastert has time for Rush Limbaugh, but not Carol Marin.

Cub Flub
The Florida Marlins fired Joe Girardi on Tuesday and hired Atlanta Braves third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez. "We knew Fredi was our guy, and we wanted to beat our competition to him," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said at a news conference. "Interviewing while you have a sitting manager probably isn't the greatest thing, but we went through proper channels with the commissioner's office and the Braves."

Meanwhile, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is just starting his managerial search because he thought it would've been disrespectful to Dusty Baker to a) have fired him in mid-season and begun planning for next year instead of perpetrating a charade and to b) hurt his feelings by starting to interview candidates while he was still here.

Hendry could have already interviewed Lou Piniella, Bob Brenly, and even Joe Girardi, given Beinfest's position, and made his hire.

But the Marlins had a plan. They were ready to go. That's why they have won two World Series' despite being a crappy organization. The Cubs just have a crappy organization.

Beachwood Poll
The biggest laughingstock in town is . . .

A) The Sun-Times
B) The City Council
C) The Cubs

Send in your vote through the Tip Line.

The Beachwood Tip Line: A diamond star halo.


Posted on October 4, 2006

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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