Monthly Archives: June 2005

Dead horse beating, concluded

So the Trice-told Chi Trib story of the woman raped as a 12–year-old by her stepfather, disbelieved by mother and everyone else, ended happily.  That is to say, justice was served, and the son of a b-tch got eight years.  Trice supplied no more verve to the telling than in part one, which ran yesterday, however.  Look, sere writing has its place, but there’s a difference between clean and flat copy.  Maddening.

Reader J. agreed, asking if Trice would tell a friend this story “in similar fashion.”  She doesn’t think so and blames it on lack of reader-consciousness.  “The day of gentle reader, dear reader, kind reader went out with ink wells,” she moans.  “It’s authorial narcissism. The story’s not the thing. The teller is.”

Reader N., on the other hand, made a plea for forbearance.  “It was a rare D.T. Trice column I actually finished, much to my surprise.” 

For him the story came through.  It was the thing.  But for differences like that, where would horse races be?

Dead horse beating, concluded

So the Trice-told Chi Trib story of the woman raped as a 12–year-old by her stepfather, disbelieved by mother and everyone else, ended happily.  That is to say, justice was served, and the son of a b-tch got eight years.  Trice supplied no more verve to the telling than in part one, which ran yesterday, however.  Look, sere writing has its place, but there’s a difference between clean and flat copy.  Maddening.

Reader J. agreed, asking if Trice would tell a friend this story “in similar fashion.”  She doesn’t think so and blames it on lack of reader-consciousness.  “The day of gentle reader, dear reader, kind reader went out with ink wells,” she moans.  “It’s authorial narcissism. The story’s not the thing. The teller is.”

Reader N., on the other hand, made a plea for forbearance.  “It was a rare D.T. Trice column I actually finished, much to my surprise.” 

For him the story came through.  It was the thing.  But for differences like that, where would horse races be?

Roars of approval

SecDef Rumsfeld blames media for anti-Iraq-occupation feelings among the polled, implies they don’t know the half of it because bad news has driven out good (like bad money).  That can’t be, in view of the drum fire of content that emanates daily from Main streamers.  Take today’s page one head (below the fold, admittedly) of Chi Trib:

A treacherous year since Iraq transfer: `This is not a democracy. This is chaos.’

4th paragraph has man who was optimistic a year ago when U.S. transferred authority to Iraqis, now having “lost all hope for his country after living through a treacherous year in the new Iraq.”  He “no longer has confidence that the U.S. military can effectively fight the insurgency,” he tells Trib staffer Aamer Madhani and/or his (probably Iraqi helpers) Nadeem Majeed and Zaid Sabah.

“Nothing will change until the Americans leave,” said al-Deen, 33, at his home in Baghdad’s Saydiyah neighborhood. “The resistance will not stop until the Americans go away. Once they leave, we can then only figure out if there is any hope of the Sunnis and Shiites coming together.”

Al-Deen’s troubles are “greater than most,” but his “pessimism reflects a growing despondence among Iraqis” in Baghdad.”  Madhani really believes this, we may assume; but we are asked to take his word for it, are we not?  That al-Deen “reflects” what (many? most? how many?) people feel?  This reminds Chi Trib readers of the Michael Tackett page-one analyses out of Washington — columns given quasi-story (article) status, latter-day Carey Orr cartoons that never failed to depict FDR with a long cigarette-holder in his mouth.  Old habits die not easily at the once World’s Greatest Newspaper (WGN, as in radio and TV even now).

We read further of  “dour mood” in Baghdad and “frustration” in the U.S., including among “lawmakers” calling for an “exit strategy.”  Bush “is expected to point to examples of progress” in his speech tonight, “[b]ut in the streets of Baghdad, sovereignty is still a nebulous idea,” says Madhani, who clearly knows better, having discussed the matter with upwards of two people, including Sarah Abdul Kareem, 21, a Shiite, who says, “This is not a democracy.  This is chaos.”  And that’s the story’s pull quote for sub head, as you noted above.

However, five paragraphs down, Sarah Kareem says Americans should not leave yet!  Well!  Gen. Abizaid is quoted, ditto Rumsfeld, as confusing Iraqis with “mixed messages.” One paragraph (one!) in the middle of the story allows:

[W]hile violence has overwhelmed hot spots such as Baghdad, Mosul and most of western Anbar province, much of the Kurdish north and Shiite south remain relatively peaceful. In those areas, there were high levels of participation in the national elections in January and greater strides have been made with reconstruction.

The story (analysis? column in article drag?) quotes two (two!) more Iraqis to make its point — “treacherous year . . . not a democracy.  . . . chaos,” says the page-one sub head, remember — including a barber whose fellow barber was shot down by Islamic fascists (such a term! I must mean insurgents) who object to certain kinds of haircuts as “anti-Islamic.”

Ah but the corker is the obligatory Chi Trib frantic-victim four-color picture on the jump-page (front section back page), showing two brothers mourning their slain father.  Sad, sad, sad.  Could moveon.org ask for anything more?

Roars of approval

SecDef Rumsfeld blames media for anti-Iraq-occupation feelings among the polled, implies they don’t know the half of it because bad news has driven out good (like bad money).  That can’t be, in view of the drum fire of content that emanates daily from Main streamers.  Take today’s page one head (below the fold, admittedly) of Chi Trib:

A treacherous year since Iraq transfer: `This is not a democracy. This is chaos.’

4th paragraph has man who was optimistic a year ago when U.S. transferred authority to Iraqis, now having “lost all hope for his country after living through a treacherous year in the new Iraq.”  He “no longer has confidence that the U.S. military can effectively fight the insurgency,” he tells Trib staffer Aamer Madhani and/or his (probably Iraqi helpers) Nadeem Majeed and Zaid Sabah.

“Nothing will change until the Americans leave,” said al-Deen, 33, at his home in Baghdad’s Saydiyah neighborhood. “The resistance will not stop until the Americans go away. Once they leave, we can then only figure out if there is any hope of the Sunnis and Shiites coming together.”

Al-Deen’s troubles are “greater than most,” but his “pessimism reflects a growing despondence among Iraqis” in Baghdad.”  Madhani really believes this, we may assume; but we are asked to take his word for it, are we not?  That al-Deen “reflects” what (many? most? how many?) people feel?  This reminds Chi Trib readers of the Michael Tackett page-one analyses out of Washington — columns given quasi-story (article) status, latter-day Carey Orr cartoons that never failed to depict FDR with a long cigarette-holder in his mouth.  Old habits die not easily at the once World’s Greatest Newspaper (WGN, as in radio and TV even now).

We read further of  “dour mood” in Baghdad and “frustration” in the U.S., including among “lawmakers” calling for an “exit strategy.”  Bush “is expected to point to examples of progress” in his speech tonight, “[b]ut in the streets of Baghdad, sovereignty is still a nebulous idea,” says Madhani, who clearly knows better, having discussed the matter with upwards of two people, including Sarah Abdul Kareem, 21, a Shiite, who says, “This is not a democracy.  This is chaos.”  And that’s the story’s pull quote for sub head, as you noted above.

However, five paragraphs down, Sarah Kareem says Americans should not leave yet!  Well!  Gen. Abizaid is quoted, ditto Rumsfeld, as confusing Iraqis with “mixed messages.” One paragraph (one!) in the middle of the story allows:

[W]hile violence has overwhelmed hot spots such as Baghdad, Mosul and most of western Anbar province, much of the Kurdish north and Shiite south remain relatively peaceful. In those areas, there were high levels of participation in the national elections in January and greater strides have been made with reconstruction.

The story (analysis? column in article drag?) quotes two (two!) more Iraqis to make its point — “treacherous year . . . not a democracy.  . . . chaos,” says the page-one sub head, remember — including a barber whose fellow barber was shot down by Islamic fascists (such a term! I must mean insurgents) who object to certain kinds of haircuts as “anti-Islamic.”

Ah but the corker is the obligatory Chi Trib frantic-victim four-color picture on the jump-page (front section back page), showing two brothers mourning their slain father.  Sad, sad, sad.  Could moveon.org ask for anything more?

D’Agostino murder

Wed. Journal online has OP cops looking for person of interest — a black guy pictured in a mockup — who was seen walking on the block at the time, having apparently just parked his car, then hopping back in the car and driving away.  Which is consistent with the beaten-elsewhere-dumped-on-Harvey theory floated by a man named Michael Sellers, who lives in the Harvey Ave. house, on Channel 5 in that the homeowner, Blake Hayner (?), heard “No!  Son of a bitch!” out front, then the slamming of a car door followed by car pulling away.  If the black guy found the body laid out on the lawn, he might well have gotten the hell out of there immediately. 

Later: for a very good telling of the story, see AP.

Later, in Sun-Times:

Police also disclosed they think D’Agostino was killed near where he was found. Witnesses who found D’Agostino had said he was lying on the lawn, his arms at his side, as if he had been dumped there. His briefcase was nearby.

Later, on Linden Avenue near Erie, Tuesday 6/28, early afternoon: Two police recruits handing out pix of the person of interest say look out for sledgehammer he would be carrying. 

First, do no dead-horse-beating

With all respect to the seriousness of the problem, what do we think of this headline —  “Sexual assault in childhood haunts woman” — as promising a column that will tell us something we do not already know?

What follows, by Chi Trib’s Dawn T. Trice, is an anonymous morality tale (nothing more), told in the simplest of terms and — bless us! — ending with a to-be-continued:

“I loved my mother [who had not believed her story about being raped by the stepfather] and it hurt my feelings that I had to see this man and nobody did anything about it [says the raped woman]. It was like what happened to me meant nothing. So, I did what I did for my two kids.”

On Tuesday, I’ll tell you what she did.

If she sneaked up one day and shot the son of a b-tch, I’m interested.  Otherwise, we have a tale of horror recounted bloodlessly, which is maddening to most readers, definitely to this one.

First, do no dead-horse-beating

With all respect to the seriousness of the problem, what do we think of this headline —  “Sexual assault in childhood haunts woman” — as promising a column that will tell us something we do not already know?

What follows, by Chi Trib’s Dawn T. Trice, is an anonymous morality tale (nothing more), told in the simplest of terms and — bless us! — ending with a to-be-continued:

“I loved my mother [who had not believed her story about being raped by the stepfather] and it hurt my feelings that I had to see this man and nobody did anything about it [says the raped woman]. It was like what happened to me meant nothing. So, I did what I did for my two kids.”

On Tuesday, I’ll tell you what she did.

If she sneaked up one day and shot the son of a b-tch, I’m interested.  Otherwise, we have a tale of horror recounted bloodlessly, which is maddening to most readers, definitely to this one.

Media Monitor – Journalism \Systems\ Go Critical – June 24, 2005

Sherie Gossett at Accuracy in Media (AIM), 6/24/05:

Veteran journalists are speaking out boldly and courageously [about bias and loss of credibility]. “No more conning the public,” wrote award-winning journalist and author Bonnie M. Anderson in her groundbreaking book “Newsflash.” “We must begin with honesty,” she says. “…No more pretending to be fair and balanced when there is a political agenda.”

May I add no more pretending to be sure about things that we can’t be sure of or that the writer is not sure of.  This is Journalism 101, I presume (never had the course); so I say what’s presumed taken for granted (for granite?).  But it’s at the heart of the bad-story problem, is it not?

Media Monitor – Journalism \Systems\ Go Critical – June 24, 2005

Sherie Gossett at Accuracy in Media (AIM), 6/24/05:

Veteran journalists are speaking out boldly and courageously [about bias and loss of credibility]. “No more conning the public,” wrote award-winning journalist and author Bonnie M. Anderson in her groundbreaking book “Newsflash.” “We must begin with honesty,” she says. “…No more pretending to be fair and balanced when there is a political agenda.”

May I add no more pretending to be sure about things that we can’t be sure of or that the writer is not sure of.  This is Journalism 101, I presume (never had the course); so I say what’s presumed taken for granted (for granite?).  But it’s at the heart of the bad-story problem, is it not?

Blogger: Chicago Newspapers :: Edit Post ‘ Chicago Newspapers ‘

Blogger: Chicago Newspapers :: Edit Post ‘ Chicago Newspapers ‘

The top (latest) posting on this blog is coming up with a long black space between title and text. Don’t know why, except that it happened after I Blogjet’ed direct from Firefox browser. Will have to quiz a guru about it. Meanwhile, down you go to the truly latest posting.

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