The [Wednesday] Papers
Another day, another farce of a front-page at the Sun-Times.
The big news of the day, of course, is the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision upholding former Gov. George Ryan's conviction on corruption charges - and its subsequent stay allowing Ryan to remain free while another appeal is filed.
For a time on Tuesday, we thought Ryan was headed to prison as soon as Friday.
So a pretty big day.
The Sun-Times's front page angle?
"ANOTHER SNEED EXCLUSIVE."
And just what was that exclusive?
"I still believe," Ryan tells her. "We are staying strong."
Stop the presses!
Sneed is a pal of the Ryan family, and her apple-polishing is so predictable that the Tribune's John Kass wrote in his column this morning that we'd be "sure to read gushing tidbits on George and Lura Lynn" this morning in the tabloid across town.
"They might hug each other and make homemade soups together, perhaps vegetable or chicken noodle, as they skim various photo albums of vacations."
"This summer, Ryan weeded the garden at his modest home, planted hostas in the yard, took small Illinois road trips with Lura Lynn, hung out with his children and his grandkids and kept a close ear on his squeaky porch swing," Sneed "reports."
A governor who many hold responsible for the deaths of a van of small kids is this/close to going to jail. There's no sense in asking the Sun-Times newsroom to get its head in the game; it doesn't have the right heads.
But hasn't Cy Freidheim had enough?
Now, if Sneed would tell us what she and the Ryans really talk about, we might have something.
I still don't get it.
"Arellano," another illegal immigrant told Schmich, "was hurting immigrants like her. Making people like her too visible. Making too many people mad."
So Arellano should have just shut her mouth and accepted deportation to keep the heat off of other illegals? Isn't the point to publicize the plight of illegals in order to help shape the raging reform debate?
Schmich then talks with WRTO-AM (1200) radio host Javier Salas, who in 1989 moved to Chicago "and deliberately overstayed his visa" and "bought phony work papers off the street."
After he married in 1998, Schmich writes, he was "forced back to Mexico for two years before he got on an American citizenship track. His parents, too, arrived illegally."
But Arellano's case, he says, is not the best to promote reform.
"Better would be the undocumented soldiers dying in Iraq," Schmich explains. "The undocumented sick who can't find decent care. The undocumented college students who came here as kids and can't get financial aid."
Okay, those soldiers aren't exactly available right now. I'm sympathetic to those lacking health care and financial aid for college. But how is the case of Arellano - a single mother who was working as janitor at O'Hare - any less appealing?
"The media coverage hurt the cause," Salas says.
And by taking refuge in a Methodist church instead of a Catholic church, she lost support, he says.
Schmich goes right along.
"So, I asked, what is the perfect face to symbolize the cause?"
Because the media needs a perfect face to symbolize a cause, rather than the complications of a real human being who is a real human being, not a symbol that fits a neat, fictional narrative.
"There's not one, he said," Schmich writes. "There are 12 million faces.
"That's a convincing argument. We need to find practical, fair immigration reform to deal with 12 million people. Let's stop being distracted by one."
How in the world can we deal with 12 million people without understanding even one?
Arellano is suitable enough as a face of illegal immigration, no matter where you stand on the issue. The distraction is debating whether she is the perfect face.
With a straight face?
* "Before raising property taxes - or any other tax or fee - Mayor Daley wants to convince Chicago taxpayers that he's done all he can to tighten the bureaucratic belt."
A) Even if he hasn't.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Fertile ground.
Posted on August 22, 2007
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