Monthly Archives: January 2006

Yes, Virginia . . .

Chi Trib has come through with another in its series on hard times in America, rubbing raw the sores of discontent in Saul Alinsky style — hey, why be a newsman if you can’t rub sores?

Today’s is Mark Silva’s “Bush touts it, jobless doubt it: President’s talk of strong economy hard for some in St. Louis to believe.”  This is hard-copy page-one stuff, though run as a business story on-line.  It’s a nice prep for listening to Bush’s State of Union speech tomorrow, meaning don’t believe the s.o.b. when he reports on the economy:

The president will trumpet the nation’s economic successes, with unemployment down and productivity up, crediting his tax cuts and calling on Congress to make them permanent. But the gap between the president’s view and that of many working Americans is a yawning one and quite apparent in this once proud but dramatically shrunken middle-American city where good-paying work is hard to find,

says Silva, who has a nose for bad news.  Is this not what Dems and other leftists want to hear?  Does not Chi Trib deliver it neatly and on time?  Hey, Bush lied, what’s a mainstream newsie to do?  Rather, “Bush touts.”  “Tout” is a favorite here.  It used to refer to the guy at the track tipping you to a winner.

Bush and his chief economic advisor are quoted with simple statements, no arguing their case.  Touts.  A Democrat state senator complained?  No, she just “said.”  No colorful language here.  Why would there be?  Trib takes her seriously.  A St. Louis U. political science (not even economics) professor gets a paragraph, supporting Trib’s angle — which no man dare call slant.  Another, who teaches “American studies” (?), agrees. 

And, of course, so does Angie Totten, who just got laid off.  This is a business story?  It’s Job Losses Under Bush for Dummies.  That’s us, who read Chi Trib and others of the antique media to find out what’s happening.

========================

All is not leftist in Trib news coverage, however.  Its 2/2/04 article, part of a series, on Bridgeview Islamicists — “Struggle for the soul of Islam,” has star billing at Power Line, where Scott Johnson calls it “outstanding” and quotes it at length, including this:

Among the leaders at the Bridgeview mosque are men who have condemned Western culture, praised Palestinian suicide bombers and encouraged members to view society in stark terms: Muslims against the world. Federal authorities for years have investigated some mosque officials for possible links to terrorism financing, but no criminal charges have been filed.

The issue is not dead, says Johnson, referring to Friday’s Wall Street Journal piece by Joel Mowbray, “Reign of the Radicals: One man fights to take back his mosque from Islamists” — in light of which “the Tribune article deserves a second look,” says Johnson.  Mowbray writes about Omar Najib’s 20–plus-year fight to save the Bridgeview mosque from fundamentalists, concluding that

Notwithstanding Mr. Najib’s protests, the current leadership seems quite popular. An estimated 2,000 people attend Friday prayers, a 20-fold increase from 1983. The ever-expanding contingent of mosque-goers appears to consist largely of fundamentalists in sync with the leadership’s worldview, which seeks a return to “pure Islam” and preaches withdrawal from secular society. By Mr. Najib’s count, the overwhelming majority of men at the mosque have religious beards and almost every woman is covered from head-to-toe. Stepping foot through the door, he says, “is like walking inside the Taliban.”

While most Americans believe–or, at least, hope–that all but a handful of their Muslim countrymen find radical Islam noxious, Mr. Najib’s tale is not encouraging. Not only has no one at the mosque publicly backed his reform efforts but “you can count on less than two hands the number of people who have supported me privately,” Mr. Najib laments. “It’s been a lonely fight.”

Since the Spanish Civil War, such people have been called Fifth Columnists.  Or as Bobby Kennedy titled his book about labor-union corruption, the enemy within.  Is that too strong?

Analyzing main stream

Power Line’s Paul Hinderaker strikes again with his account of Stephanopoulos’ assuming that leftist blogs “won’t let” MSM outlets go all objective with their newsgathering.  He argues that to save themselves they should do just that but won’t, he fears, because they lack “a strong desire to be objective, and perhaps [harbor] post-modern doubts about the concept of objectivity itself.”  Read it here.

What hurts is good for us

Is bad news, like money, driving out good as regards the economy?  Republicans think so, as the gopusa.com site has it.

Despite the fact that the economy continues to grow at a healthy rate and the country has had thirty-one straight months of positive job growth, you wouldn’t know it from watching your network nightly news. The economic picture, according to the spin from ABC, NBC, and CBS, is more about job losses and outsourcing than it is about real economic growth and job gains.

This complaint unfortunately gains credibility from last Sunday’s Chi Trib page-one story about hard times in Decatur, though admittedly the Trib flies under the radar of most mainstream media criticism.

While returning to this story, however, it’s good to repeat the question, maybe to be answered in future stories, about how many jobs are lost to China vs. those lost to Tennessee and other low-taxes states.  Jobs, the answer to welfare problems, flee taxes, we must remember.

They also flee Chicago city council’s anti-Wal-Mart bias, to nearby Evergreen Park, Sun-Times tells us today.  Wal-Mart, the free-enterprise success that liberals love to hate, was rejected for 83rd & Stewart with its 325 jobs and tax revenues for the city.  So it got itself to a suburb a block away from Western Ave. city limits with its 325 jobs and tax revenues for Evergreen Park.  Too bad, aldermen, with your allegiance to labor unions, who, Samson-like, blinded but with a good grip on the pillars, would rather screw things up than give an inch.

What hurts is good for us

Is bad news, like money, driving out good as regards the economy?  Republicans think so, as the gopusa.com site has it.

Despite the fact that the economy continues to grow at a healthy rate and the country has had thirty-one straight months of positive job growth, you wouldn’t know it from watching your network nightly news. The economic picture, according to the spin from ABC, NBC, and CBS, is more about job losses and outsourcing than it is about real economic growth and job gains.

This complaint unfortunately gains credibility from last Sunday’s Chi Trib page-one story about hard times in Decatur, though admittedly the Trib flies under the radar of most mainstream media criticism.

While returning to this story, however, it’s good to repeat the question, maybe to be answered in future stories, about how many jobs are lost to China vs. those lost to Tennessee and other low-taxes states.  Jobs, the answer to welfare problems, flee taxes, we must remember.

They also flee Chicago city council’s anti-Wal-Mart bias, to nearby Evergreen Park, Sun-Times tells us today.  Wal-Mart, the free-enterprise success that liberals love to hate, was rejected for 83rd & Stewart with its 325 jobs and tax revenues for the city.  So it got itself to a suburb a block away from Western Ave. city limits with its 325 jobs and tax revenues for Evergreen Park.  Too bad, aldermen, with your allegiance to labor unions, who, Samson-like, blinded but with a good grip on the pillars, would rather screw things up than give an inch.

So? Then where’s Oak Park?

You were wondering where Greek Town is, you thought on Halsted south of Eisenhower or thereabouts?  You should have asked Chi Trib’s Pamela Sherrod, who locates “Chicago’s predominantly Greek neighborhood near Oak Park.”  Kidding you not, am I.  It’s in an article, “Living lean in a ‘stuffaholic’ world” as it ran in the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times 1/21/06.

Later, from Len:

Well, it’s only 10 minutes on the Ike..

and then there’s papaspiros… a neighborhood in itself.
(Not to mention George’s, Thyme and Honey, Maple Leaf…)

OR maybe she is thinking about the neighborhood around Assumption Greek Orthodox
Church on [Central] next to Loretto Hospital.., must have been a Greek
neighborhood onceuponatime.

True.

What the . . . ?

If you were reading Michael Sneed this morning in Sun-Times — “It’s over . . .” — with her scoop about the friendly deal struck by Antonio Davis, wife Kendra, and Michael Axelrod — “Sneed is told” etc. — you would have looked again to see what day’s paper you had, because if you had watched WGN-TV News at Nine last night, you would have known all about it.

If you were reading Rev. Richard McBrien’s column in the Los Angeles Catholic paper about a pro-life protest of the Boston mayor’s being welcomed to a Catholic Charities dinner in December and were a regular reader of the Boston Globe, you also would have checked dates to see who copied whom.  You would have seen right quick that the Globe’s Eileen McNamara got there first by a month, which is why McBrien’s employer, U. of Notre Dame, is doing its own checking.

“These folks do not just miss the Latin Mass; they miss Cardinal Bernard Law. … There’s Bill Cotter, pining for the good old days when Law would allow Operation Rescue to use Catholic churches as staging areas for illegal blockades of abortion clinics,”

wrote McNamara.

“These ultraconservative activists, for whom abortion is the only moral and political issue that counts, not only miss the Latin Mass but also the former archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, who allowed Operation Rescue, a militant anti-abortion organization, to use Catholic churches as staging areas of illegal blockades of abortion clinics,”

wrote McBrien, who may be trying to do to much and may have wandered down the primrose path to column-writing.

What the . . . ?

If you were reading Michael Sneed this morning in Sun-Times — “It’s over . . .” — with her scoop about the friendly deal struck by Antonio Davis, wife Kendra, and Michael Axelrod — “Sneed is told” etc. — you would have looked again to see what day’s paper you had, because if you had watched WGN-TV News at Nine last night, you would have known all about it.

If you were reading Rev. Richard McBrien’s column in the Los Angeles Catholic paper about a pro-life protest of the Boston mayor’s being welcomed to a Catholic Charities dinner in December and were a regular reader of the Boston Globe, you also would have checked dates to see who copied whom.  You would have seen right quick that the Globe’s Eileen McNamara got there first by a month, which is why McBrien’s employer, U. of Notre Dame, is doing its own checking.

“These folks do not just miss the Latin Mass; they miss Cardinal Bernard Law. … There’s Bill Cotter, pining for the good old days when Law would allow Operation Rescue to use Catholic churches as staging areas for illegal blockades of abortion clinics,”

wrote McNamara.

“These ultraconservative activists, for whom abortion is the only moral and political issue that counts, not only miss the Latin Mass but also the former archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, who allowed Operation Rescue, a militant anti-abortion organization, to use Catholic churches as staging areas of illegal blockades of abortion clinics,”

wrote McBrien, who may be trying to do to much and may have wandered down the primrose path to column-writing.

Unaccustomed as I am . . .

. . . viewing WGN-TV news at 9 p.m. in anticipation of a story tomorrow night on senior(-citizen) bloggers in which I figure, I have found the show’s first 15 or 20 minutes the fastest-moving. clickety-click-produced news show on TV.  They move along briskly, with good pick of Chi-area stories.  Can’t help but notice, however, that:

* The on-scene reporter about young Axelrod and the Antonio Davises coming to terms, that A. “has the luxury of returning to private life,” apparently in reference to Davis serving a five-game suspension (near $70G worth!).  Flip slip of lip maybe, but it sounds as if A. got off easy.  Anyhow, D. has private life for five games with his family in Naperville.

* The Washington reporter saying Bush “claims” the NSA “spying” was legal — “says” would do — and Bush’s mounting “a PR campaign” to convince people.  “Campaign” would do.  It’s odd to characterize a government’s trying to justify itself as “PR,” which is usually considered private-sector stuff.  It also denigrates the effort.

* The anchor man’s story on chips that tell Someone Out There about us, imbedded in things we buy, was a pretty obvious playing to fears about privacy violations — complete with people on street saying they don’t like it: we were to expect they would like it?  It had Tom Cruise clips to go with it, from the sci-fi movie “Minority Report.”  WGN does not help its credibility with such a ploy.  The story had that old bias smell.

Some more on woe for us

Picking up on Chi Trib’s story of Working for Less in Decatur, it should be noted that Illinois taxes have a role to play in Illinois’ job picture.  If Decatur is doing badly compared to 10 years ago, can that have something to do with high taxes in Illinois vs. in, say, Tennessee or Florida.  Or any other state that is not doing as badly.  This is presuming that jobs have left Illinois not only for China but also for Tennessee and Florida.  I ask this not knowing the answer but wanting to know it and finding nothing to help me in the story at hand.

Another point has to do with what Nicholas Lemann is trying to do at Columbia Journalism, as explained by Hugh Hewitt in Weekly Standard, namely teach

a capacity to discover and analyze data.  . . . more sophisticated research and analytical skills than most journalists bring to the table. 

“‘Regression analysis is the best example,’ [Lemann] tells me [Hewitt]. ‘Every social science study in the United States depends upon regression analysis, but almost no reporters understand it. You can’t read and understand these studies if you don’t know how regression analysis works. I taught myself how to do it, and we are going to teach the M.A. students, equipping them to go beyond their ordinary reliance on dueling experts interpreting studies.'”

Mark Tapscott, who is quoting the Hewitt article, says he’s been trying to do just that at the Heritage Foundation, where he went in 1999 from his daily-paper job.  It’s Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR).  He runs one– and two-day CARR “boot camps” at the foundation.  Nine are scheduled for 2006.  It’s the 7th year for the camps, which have graduated 200–plus newsies.  This year they are partnering with the Media Bloggers Association for a two-day camp in Nashville as part of the association’s annual meeting.  This is more than checking and verifying, copy-desk style.  They work on “computer modelling.”  One of their models is the

U.S. economic model described by The New York Times as among “the most frequently used” in Washington. Investor’s Business Daily used [Heritage’s] U.S. economic model to compare the 2000 presidential candidates tax proposals. Other available models include the Heritage World Trade Model that measures things like the economic impacts of changing trade trends and tariffs and the Social Security Rate of Return Model, the first to project returns by ethnicity and geography.

There’s more, more, more in all this, and it takes us far beyond the tried and still true checking it out when your mother says she loves you, of City News lore.

Some more on woe for us

Picking up on Chi Trib’s story of Working for Less in Decatur, it should be noted that Illinois taxes have a role to play in Illinois’ job picture.  If Decatur is doing badly compared to 10 years ago, can that have something to do with high taxes in Illinois vs. in, say, Tennessee or Florida.  Or any other state that is not doing as badly.  This is presuming that jobs have left Illinois not only for China but also for Tennessee and Florida.  I ask this not knowing the answer but wanting to know it and finding nothing to help me in the story at hand.

Another point has to do with what Nicholas Lemann is trying to do at Columbia Journalism, as explained by Hugh Hewitt in Weekly Standard, namely teach

a capacity to discover and analyze data.  . . . more sophisticated research and analytical skills than most journalists bring to the table. 

“‘Regression analysis is the best example,’ [Lemann] tells me [Hewitt]. ‘Every social science study in the United States depends upon regression analysis, but almost no reporters understand it. You can’t read and understand these studies if you don’t know how regression analysis works. I taught myself how to do it, and we are going to teach the M.A. students, equipping them to go beyond their ordinary reliance on dueling experts interpreting studies.'”

Mark Tapscott, who is quoting the Hewitt article, says he’s been trying to do just that at the Heritage Foundation, where he went in 1999 from his daily-paper job.  It’s Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting (CARR).  He runs one– and two-day CARR “boot camps” at the foundation.  Nine are scheduled for 2006.  It’s the 7th year for the camps, which have graduated 200–plus newsies.  This year they are partnering with the Media Bloggers Association for a two-day camp in Nashville as part of the association’s annual meeting.  This is more than checking and verifying, copy-desk style.  They work on “computer modelling.”  One of their models is the

U.S. economic model described by The New York Times as among “the most frequently used” in Washington. Investor’s Business Daily used [Heritage’s] U.S. economic model to compare the 2000 presidential candidates tax proposals. Other available models include the Heritage World Trade Model that measures things like the economic impacts of changing trade trends and tariffs and the Social Security Rate of Return Model, the first to project returns by ethnicity and geography.

There’s more, more, more in all this, and it takes us far beyond the tried and still true checking it out when your mother says she loves you, of City News lore.

%d bloggers like this: