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The [Wednesday] Papers

The presidential debates have really been the best part of this year's campaign, but the newspapers sure don't have much interest in them. The stories they provide readers offer very little; it's like editors only publish them out of duty or to prove that they know they took place. It's baffling. All this preaching journalists do about the public's lack of interest in serious issues . . . could it be that it's the press that isn't interested?

Take last night's Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Watch John Edwards regret his entire Senate record! That's good stuff, people. Watch Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama reverse themselves on gun registration and licensing. Squeal in delight as Hillary lashes into Barack Obama for supporting an energy bill she says was written by Dick Cheney and his oil lobby pals.

This is important stuff. You learn a lot about these candidates in these settings. At least we do.

And if you crack open a beer, you can even have some fun. At least we do.

Former Tribune editorial page editor Don Wycliff discovers the sorry truth about our mediocre media in today's must-read. Clip it, save it, show it to the children.

Gold Nugget
Download Chicago's Olympic bid book for yourself!

Worst Person of the Day
"We need to stay as lean as we can to put out a great publication," Time Out Chicago Publisher David Garland said after announcing layoffs.

Then why not get leaner and put out an even greater publication?


I'm currently considering making my blog leaner by laying myself off. This should transform my blog into Chicagoland's Greatest Publication.
- So-Called Austin Mayor

Media Madness
For God's sake, the New York Times had me actually believing this one, too.

Chop Shop
"A backlog of excessive-force complaints against Chicago police officers has grown so large that the agency charged with investigating cops is planning to hire outside investigators to help catch up," the Tribune reports today.

"The majority of the backlog is made up of cases from 2006 and 2007 and tied to vacancies that have gone unfilled on the investigative staff over the last few years."

Meanwhile . . .

"City officials endorsed a plan to give Grossinger Auto Group $8.5 million in tax-increment financing to build a dealership at the bustling intersection of North and Clybourn avenues on the North Side," Crain's reports this week. "The site isn't in a TIF district, but the officials were kind enough to create one just for the building Grossinger plans to convert into a four-level auto mall.

Trib's Lip
Carol Marin writes today about Dan Lipinski, the Chicago congressman installed in his job by his father's political jujitsu whom the Tribune just endorsed:

"It was 3 1/2 years ago that Bill [Lipinski] ran and won in the spring primary, and only that summer when he felt the sudden urge to retire. Ward committeemen friends, familiar dynastic names like Daley, Hynes and Madigan, quickly marshaled the best man for the job.

"Boom, there came Dan Lipinski, a college political science professor who had been working out of state for years, anointed to replace his dad on the November Democratic ballot. The opponent on the Republican side, a 25-year-old bar owner from Cicero, posed no threat. He was a plant previously recruited by the Lipinski forces to guarantee the general election was a gentle ride for Dan. And indeed it was.

"Then in 2006, the Lipinski machine found a new ringer to help ensure Dan's re-election. But in one of the crazy ironies of our twisted political history, the ringer was actually a better candidate than one of Dan's real opponents. Still, the net effect was the same. The vote got divided up and dad's political organization conquered again, delivering the vote for the kid."

Should this behavior ever be rewarded? Apparently the Tribune thinks so, even though Lipinski's chief rival this time around, Mark Pera, "has most aggressively raised the ethical questions that Dan Lipinski has long needed to answer but apparently just can't," Marin writes.

"Questions like how in the world can he justify having had his father, now a lobbyist for the transportation industry, on his payroll as a consultant?"

And . . .

"How can he comfortably take campaign contributions from the airline and rail companies that also pay his dad's salary?"

Questions the Tribune editorial board should answer, too.

Last Call
What with the holidays and all, I missed my chance to comment on Andre Garner. Let me give it a shot - I know all the best jokes are already taken.

"Andre Garner, Stroger's $100,000-a-year director of media relations, slightly disguised his voice and posed as 'Jonathan from Chicago' while calling in Thursday to the John Williams show on WGN radio, where Stroger was being interviewed," the Sun-Times reported.

"Garner, who is responsible for shaping Stroger's 'message' and media 'strategy,' also lied on the air by saying his wife works for county government. He then rattled off intricate details of county government budgeting before defending Stroger's push to increase the sales tax."

A) Then he complained about Kenny Williams' lackluster off-season.
B) I'd do his job for $50,000 - and not get caught.
C) Message: We suck. Strategy: Prove it every day.

Fear of Voting
"Bush was considered a good ole boy and Gore was a considered a nerd," Erica Jong writes. "Now Edwards cares too much about his hair, Hillary 'cried' in the press - though she didn't cry in reality. But we live in this parallel universe where there is no reality. Obama? Who knows who he is? A brilliant writer, yes, a cute young guy, yes, a progressive, we think. But who really knows? I give him the benefit of the doubt. Why not? But what a stupid way to choose a President!"

The Beachwood Tip Line: Strategic media.


Posted on January 16, 2008

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - Another Week Of Trubisky Analysis.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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