Monthly Archives: November 2005

Charles Madigan on news gathering, etc.

Chi Trib’s Charles Madigan says let’s hear it for “old media,” which gives us thought-based information.

In the glory days [pre-electronic], reporters could whittle away for five, six, seven hours at an event, parse it out, look for the contradictions and try to present an accurate, compelling account that would be published the next day.

The electronic world has now seized the turf of news immediacy.

Now it’s “breaking news” that carries the day.  But what you see and hear “may not be very well developed.”  Watching and listening,

you might well lose the crucial context or be left with a set of “facts” that are, ultimately, not facts at all, but changeable parts of an ongoing story.

“[T]raditional newspaper family values,” on the other hand, give or try to give the whole story.  But this is an old story.  Long before blogs was radio (which Madigan mentions), where it was “rip ‘n read” for the latest. 

Nor did newspaper people like radio reporters, as the late Len O’Connor recounted in A Reporter in Sweet Chicago (Contemporary, 1983).  He represented something new and threatening, which sounds familiar in today’s context.

Charles Madigan on news gathering, etc.

Chi Trib’s Charles Madigan says let’s hear it for “old media,” which gives us thought-based information.

In the glory days [pre-electronic], reporters could whittle away for five, six, seven hours at an event, parse it out, look for the contradictions and try to present an accurate, compelling account that would be published the next day.

The electronic world has now seized the turf of news immediacy.

Now it’s “breaking news” that carries the day.  But what you see and hear “may not be very well developed.”  Watching and listening,

you might well lose the crucial context or be left with a set of “facts” that are, ultimately, not facts at all, but changeable parts of an ongoing story.

“[T]raditional newspaper family values,” on the other hand, give or try to give the whole story.  But this is an old story.  Long before blogs was radio (which Madigan mentions), where it was “rip ‘n read” for the latest. 

Nor did newspaper people like radio reporters, as the late Len O’Connor recounted in A Reporter in Sweet Chicago (Contemporary, 1983).  He represented something new and threatening, which sounds familiar in today’s context.

Topinka is coming! Topinka is coming!

Renew Illinois does not like Judy Baar Topinka, a presumed anti-Blago candidate for governor, and has this to say today:

What would a Topinka Administration look like?  How Republican would it be?  

Answer: about as Republican as her operation is now – that is to say – not very Republican, and not even very “moderate.”  Let’s have some honesty in our IL GOP for a change.  Topinka is no moderate – she’s a liberal extremist – and a rather wacky one at that. 

She’s a good huckster and she’s conned a lot of good people, granted.  But she’s never tried-out for the Big Leagues before now.  Few have really been paying attention.  Once folks in Illinois do, they won’t like what they see. 

One of Topinka’s closest allies and most loyal supporters is Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights group Equality Illinois.  Just this past week, Garcia personally attacked the organizers of the Protect Marriage petition drive, calling them “rank bigots” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 24, 2005).

Now that Garcia quote is sure provocative.  It’s always nice discussing politics with Rick, apparently.  (Excuse me, I have a pressing engagement.)  This time it’s a petition for signatures to put an advisory Marriage Protection Referendum on the ballot in November 2006, when Judy B. would oppose Blago. 

In the referendum voters would say whether they want to amend the state constitution to define marriage in Illinois as between a man and a woman.  Garcia would rather snap at it than argue against it, unless you count this:

“These people no more care about families than the man on the moon. If they wanted to protect families, why aren’t they pushing a ban on divorce? Divorce ruins more families than any gay person ever has.”

But eating away at the very concept, Rick — what about that?

Topinka is coming! Topinka is coming!

Renew Illinois does not like Judy Baar Topinka, a presumed anti-Blago candidate for governor, and has this to say today:

What would a Topinka Administration look like?  How Republican would it be?  

Answer: about as Republican as her operation is now – that is to say – not very Republican, and not even very “moderate.”  Let’s have some honesty in our IL GOP for a change.  Topinka is no moderate – she’s a liberal extremist – and a rather wacky one at that. 

She’s a good huckster and she’s conned a lot of good people, granted.  But she’s never tried-out for the Big Leagues before now.  Few have really been paying attention.  Once folks in Illinois do, they won’t like what they see. 

One of Topinka’s closest allies and most loyal supporters is Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights group Equality Illinois.  Just this past week, Garcia personally attacked the organizers of the Protect Marriage petition drive, calling them “rank bigots” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 24, 2005).

Now that Garcia quote is sure provocative.  It’s always nice discussing politics with Rick, apparently.  (Excuse me, I have a pressing engagement.)  This time it’s a petition for signatures to put an advisory Marriage Protection Referendum on the ballot in November 2006, when Judy B. would oppose Blago. 

In the referendum voters would say whether they want to amend the state constitution to define marriage in Illinois as between a man and a woman.  Garcia would rather snap at it than argue against it, unless you count this:

“These people no more care about families than the man on the moon. If they wanted to protect families, why aren’t they pushing a ban on divorce? Divorce ruins more families than any gay person ever has.”

But eating away at the very concept, Rick — what about that?

A comfy place

What a blessing is Chi Trib’s Perspective section for liberals wandering lonely as a cloud in pursuit of stuff they feel comfortable with in this day of Fox News, blogs, and talk radio.  Take today’s three essays on their high-ranking bete noir Intelligent Design, the approach to the universe that says it was not accidental.

There’s one by a biology teacher at Olivet Nazarene University — defending ID?  No, telling us, “Christians can’t afford to oppose evolution: Not such intelligent design.”  There’s another by Trib reporter-intellectual Ron Grossman, “ID dilutes the drive to discover, invent: Survival of the smartest.”  And a third by another Trib reporter: “Teachers can walk a creative middle road: An open discussion.”

Oh?  ID is “a newfangled term for creationism,” says this reporter, dishing liberal patois as if there’s nothing new under the sun.  However, his middle road is basically what ID promoters ask for.  However again, his old biology teacher did roll his eyes when he discussed creationism 17 years ago, we are told.  So not to worry, lefty friends, Perspective is still a friendly place.

But of course, read for yourself.  No blog, fair and balanced though it be, can — ahem — decide for you. 

A comfy place

What a blessing is Chi Trib’s Perspective section for liberals wandering lonely as a cloud in pursuit of stuff they feel comfortable with in this day of Fox News, blogs, and talk radio.  Take today’s three essays on their high-ranking bete noir Intelligent Design, the approach to the universe that says it was not accidental.

There’s one by a biology teacher at Olivet Nazarene University — defending ID?  No, telling us, “Christians can’t afford to oppose evolution: Not such intelligent design.”  There’s another by Trib reporter-intellectual Ron Grossman, “ID dilutes the drive to discover, invent: Survival of the smartest.”  And a third by another Trib reporter: “Teachers can walk a creative middle road: An open discussion.”

Oh?  ID is “a newfangled term for creationism,” says this reporter, dishing liberal patois as if there’s nothing new under the sun.  However, his middle road is basically what ID promoters ask for.  However again, his old biology teacher did roll his eyes when he discussed creationism 17 years ago, we are told.  So not to worry, lefty friends, Perspective is still a friendly place.

But of course, read for yourself.  No blog, fair and balanced though it be, can — ahem — decide for you. 

It’s agreed, then

On “Standing up and falling down (on the job),” Reader Dolores:

Ah, would that all Chgo Trib readers were as astute and tuned in to Wilkerson’s betrayal . . . .

Along similar lines, did you hear Hugh Hewitt the other night (or was it Rush?? [it was Rush]) on Mary Ann Wright — was that her name? [It is]  “Former” [yes, resigned, 3/21/03] US diplomat now protesting near the ranch in Crawford with the Cindy Sheehan crowd. Wild woman diplomat! It was she who heckled Condi Rice [10/19/05, at a Senate hearing] with: “Stop this woman from killing].”

[S]he . . .  decided to publicly resign because of all kinds of noble reasons, mostly disgust with the cabal again. She is part of the Wilkerson, Plame, etc. and anti-Able Danger bunch who might as well be pinkos from the 40s-50s in the State Department, undermining our country and any chance at Victory over worldwide terrorism.

Happy day after Thanksgiving??? I’ll step down off my soap box now.

And Reader Jennifer, with astute churchly twist:

Interesting dissection. Thanks. . . . In homily on day after Thanksgiving, our pastor compared Cindy Sheehan favorably to St. Catherine of Alexandria. In prayer of petitions, we were asked to pray for better attendance at Mass. Does this sort of thing have anything to do with declining attendance? [italics added]

It’s agreed, then

On “Standing up and falling down (on the job),” Reader Dolores:

Ah, would that all Chgo Trib readers were as astute and tuned in to Wilkerson’s betrayal . . . .

Along similar lines, did you hear Hugh Hewitt the other night (or was it Rush?? [it was Rush]) on Mary Ann Wright — was that her name? [It is]  “Former” [yes, resigned, 3/21/03] US diplomat now protesting near the ranch in Crawford with the Cindy Sheehan crowd. Wild woman diplomat! It was she who heckled Condi Rice [10/19/05, at a Senate hearing] with: “Stop this woman from killing].”

[S]he . . .  decided to publicly resign because of all kinds of noble reasons, mostly disgust with the cabal again. She is part of the Wilkerson, Plame, etc. and anti-Able Danger bunch who might as well be pinkos from the 40s-50s in the State Department, undermining our country and any chance at Victory over worldwide terrorism.

Happy day after Thanksgiving??? I’ll step down off my soap box now.

And Reader Jennifer, with astute churchly twist:

Interesting dissection. Thanks. . . . In homily on day after Thanksgiving, our pastor compared Cindy Sheehan favorably to St. Catherine of Alexandria. In prayer of petitions, we were asked to pray for better attendance at Mass. Does this sort of thing have anything to do with declining attendance? [italics added]

Standing up and falling down (on job)

“As Cheney stands up, his polling goes down” is the clever, provocative head to a page-one Chi Trib story 11/24/05, Thanksgiving Day.  Mark Silva and Stephen J. Hedges almost-lead (third ‘graph-sentence} with their interview with Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, billing him as among “early proponents of the Iraq invasion” who now question Cheney’s “stern, unbending activism” on behalf of administration policy, which activism was “once seen as an advantage.”

But they write, and their editors go along with it, as if most readers won’t know about Wilkerson as recent slam-bang critic of Iraq policy.  They quote him as tough-talkingly placing Cheney among a “cabal ‘of extreme nationalistic . . . and messianic'” war proponents.  It’s not new that Wilkerson feels this way.  He uses “cabal” in his 10/25/05 LA Times op-ed.  Nor does his criticism have anything to do with Cheney’s no longer being an advantage to Bush, as Silva-Hedges clumsily aver.  They interviewed Wilkerson — we assume since his 10/19/05 speech at the New America Foundation — teasing out of him some quotes they can claim as Chi Trib’s, making no mention of either speech or op-ed.  Why not?

Any Washington Post reader http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101902246.html might know about the speech.  But Silva and Hedges and editors package Wilkerson as page-one stuff in a piece citing “early proponents of the Iraq invasion” — standard gotcha stuff, by the way.

They got this and more out of Wilkerson, but nothing out of Cheney or his aides, which is not surprising.  But “a senior administration official” said Cheney will continue his activism.  This is apparently Alan Simpson, identified as “a former Republican senator from Wyoming” but not as current official; if he’s anything current, besides a Harvard chair-holder, he’s co-chairman of the Continuity in Government Commission [sic].  Apparently, because without connecting word or phrase, Simpson’s comment follows immediately.  Silva and Hedges must have been heading home for the holiday, and nobody reads the paper Thanksgiving anyway, so they and the editors dished this one up. 

There’s more to the story, but one does tire when ease of reading and credibility limp so.  Does this sort of thing have anything to do with declining newspaper circulation?

Standing up and falling down (on job)

“As Cheney stands up, his polling goes down” is the clever, provocative head to a page-one Chi Trib story 11/24/05, Thanksgiving Day.  Mark Silva and Stephen J. Hedges almost-lead (third ‘graph-sentence} with their interview with Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, billing him as among “early proponents of the Iraq invasion” who now question Cheney’s “stern, unbending activism” on behalf of administration policy, which activism was “once seen as an advantage.”

But they write, and their editors go along with it, as if most readers won’t know about Wilkerson as recent slam-bang critic of Iraq policy.  They quote him as tough-talkingly placing Cheney among a “cabal ‘of extreme nationalistic . . . and messianic'” war proponents.  It’s not new that Wilkerson feels this way.  He uses “cabal” in his 10/25/05 LA Times op-ed.  Nor does his criticism have anything to do with Cheney’s no longer being an advantage to Bush, as Silva-Hedges clumsily aver.  They interviewed Wilkerson — we assume since his 10/19/05 speech at the New America Foundation — teasing out of him some quotes they can claim as Chi Trib’s, making no mention of either speech or op-ed.  Why not?

Any Washington Post reader http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101902246.html might know about the speech.  But Silva and Hedges and editors package Wilkerson as page-one stuff in a piece citing “early proponents of the Iraq invasion” — standard gotcha stuff, by the way.

They got this and more out of Wilkerson, but nothing out of Cheney or his aides, which is not surprising.  But “a senior administration official” said Cheney will continue his activism.  This is apparently Alan Simpson, identified as “a former Republican senator from Wyoming” but not as current official; if he’s anything current, besides a Harvard chair-holder, he’s co-chairman of the Continuity in Government Commission [sic].  Apparently, because without connecting word or phrase, Simpson’s comment follows immediately.  Silva and Hedges must have been heading home for the holiday, and nobody reads the paper Thanksgiving anyway, so they and the editors dished this one up. 

There’s more to the story, but one does tire when ease of reading and credibility limp so.  Does this sort of thing have anything to do with declining newspaper circulation?

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