Media Keep Missing The Point

Media Keep Missing The Point

To say that the Chicago News Media is conflicted on whether to report the news or spin it has always been a concern with me. Both Chicago Newspapers, the Tribune and Sun-Times go to some length in exposing political corruption. Each paper has an “investigative” or “watchdog” series. And for the most part, their reporters do a fine job of informing the public of certain politicians and their transgressions. But do they do enough? Or do they even go after the ones that they should be going after? As for the editorial side of the paper, well, that definitely leaves a lot to be desired. They often leave their customers scratching their heads whenever they endorse a candidate that had been trashed in their pages prior to an election.

The news media also misses the point in other ways. For instance, last Sunday the Chicago Tribune printed an article on Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett, who is President and Michelle Obama’s most trusted friend and adviser, was written about in totally complimentary terms, yet the paper completely ignored her series of real estate scandals involving Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Then, in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, there was another complimentary article written about, none other than, Valerie Jarrett. If I didn’t know better, after reading both articles, I would swear that both articles were written by the same person because they were so eerily similar. The Sun-Times, just as the Tribune did, ignored any mention of Jarrett’s affiliation, or being a product of Chicago’s Machine Politics. Exactly why both papers chose to highlight Valerie Jarrett a week apart is anyone’s guess.

Sure, Valerie Jarrett, is highly influential in her White House role, but, we already knew that didn’t we? We also know that Valerie Jarrett is thisclose to the First Family on a personal level. So here we are, two article in two newspapers, but there was nothing new offered. No new revelations, just two generic articles about her loyalty and level of level of presidential influence. Big deal.

However, given the fact that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be going to court soon with his retrial, there could have been some mention or tie-in of Jarrett’s political ties and past controversies. But, nothing was offered as to how she developed her clout. What either paper should have talked about was her involvement in Tony Rezko’s real estate schemes. They could have written in depth that President Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett are thisclose because of their questionable political involvements.

But, Chicago’s media has all but ignored Obama and his inner circle’s ties to scandal since he ascended to the White House. I am sure part of it is because President Barack Obama is Chicago’s favorite adopted son and the news media wants to paint a positive light on the City of Chicago. But, the media does have the responsibility to constantly pursue and report the truth. Sure, political corruption is a way of life here. Some call it the Chicago Way, however you can call it whatever you like. The fact is, whatever we choose to call it, it is pervasive¬† and seemingly never-ending.

Aside from the two Jarrett pieces, I have to reflect back on the media coverage surrounding the Chicago mayoral election. Why did the media never dig deep into why all those outsiders, with no apparent business ties to Chicago, donate so generously? It seems to me that that was a story really worth digging into. Instead the media often glossed over the donor list. What the Chicago media did do, though, in the months leading up to Rahm Emanuel’s sweeping victory, was all but anoint Emanuel the new Boss of Chicago. However, did that action produce a lack of public interest and participation? Well, I think it had some kind of effect. Exactly how much is open to debate. Whatever the amount, the low turnout was nothing short of shameful.

Much of the post-election analysis has been centered around the reasons for such a low turnout given the fact that for the first time in two decades, a Daley wasn’t running. Besides, there were many aldermanic elections as well and citizens had a golden opportunity to drastically change the City Council. Yet, when the media makes pronouncements that the election is all but over, it is no wonder that people were saying “Why should I go out and vote? Emanuel already has it all locked up already.”

Instead of the news media jumping on the Emanuel bandwagon, they should have renewed questions about why President Obama’s Attorney General, William Holder hasn’t proceeded on an investigation regarding Rahm Emanuel’s, and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina’s, interference in Federal Elections. They should have been asking why that scandal, as well as any involving Obama’s inner circle, keeps hitting a hit a brick wall. Instead the media acted like the “three evils” monkey’s.

The newspapers, as well as the TV News Media, must decide whose side they are really on. The politicians or the peoples? Then again, does it surprise anyone. The news media, both locally and nationally, have been trying to influence the outcome of elections over the years.

There is something else that bothers me. Our media outlets have this tendency to grab a good story but then letting it fade away on someones whim. I am sure that that whim is always originated internally either. Still, most are and those types of news decisions are always made by the senior editors, programming directors or owners. Unfortunately, most of them have their own political agendas.

One thing is certain, Chicago’s media has a hard time doing their due diligence when it comes to reporting the news. Then again, the mainstream mass media, conservative or liberal leaning, has lost much of its credibility because they have deviated to far from their core mission of reporting the news accurately and fairly. So I guess I will just have to believe that the Media Keep Missing The Point.

And as such we must ask if they are part of the political problem?


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  • Michael, Valerie Jarrett? Really? A questionable relationship with Tony Rezco (who I'm still not sure what he did that was wrong). What is he some political pariah who's touch turns everything to dust? If they want to look at something they should be looking at road building contracts. How much money is wasted every year on roads? Or the fact that there is little or no judicial transparency, but we are required to vote judges on and off the bench, based on nothing that means anything to me.
    Why don't you advocate for cleaning up the republican side of the political aisle. And when that is all nice and squeaky clean, then and only then can you point at people on this side of the political divide.

  • In reply to Wiz:

    Hey Wiz Long Time,
    Well - I'll work both sides of the crap aisles thank you. Valerie Jarrett came to mind because of the wasted print, first in the Trib last Sunday and the Times this Sunday.

    Now to answer the most important question Tony Rezko - yes everything he touches turns to absolute and utter shit. Considering I once ran a firm for Joe Cari's brother, that had Cari, Levine and Loren and by extension Rezko and others involved I will talk about it till the cows come home since I was the guy who had to fire everyone because of the fucking money laundering the Democrats were running through there. Whenever I see any connection to those scumbags I will write about it. Don't tell when and what I can write about at any time.

  • In reply to Wiz:

    p.s. who runs Chicago and Illinois? It Ain't the damn Republicans pal.

  • In reply to Wiz:

    poor Mr. Ray, you can't ignore facts. Mr. rezco has left his federally funded and chicago pol connected projects in ruin or are these statements untrue? The outrage of g w bush with his inner circle,conpirecies(sp) all over the place but yet not one eyebrow raised when it comes to this administration?? Take the rose collored glasses off and see what your shoveling. valerie jarrett? She's just a crony that is all. What makes her qualified to run anything in the white house? We know why she's there and be honest about it. I could care less, that's the white house's decision...As we see with gas $ sky high and no jobs in sight, no programs or anything else coming down the pike. george bush's fault??? v j is just window dressing and that is fine with me,just don't make her out to be something other than that.

  • In reply to waterbill:

    Ray forgets that I attack both sides but somehow thinks I am a hard core Republican. But of course I am not since my beliefs center around Democratic values. But I do believe in fiscal restraint and traditional marriage but that don't add up as far right to me. I oppose Reaganomics and deficit spending. Oh well. Ray likes to be contrary whenever it suits him. Rose colored glasses is about right.

    The fact that I had to lay everyone off and then lost my livelihood gives me the all the right to speak about the criminal enterprise known as Machine Politics. Rezko and all those who benefited from his schemes, including Valerie Jarrett. can kiss my ass.

    Check this site out - it outs corruption:

  • In reply to waterbill:

    I'm not going to be claiming the inside on any of the scandals.

    As far as both papers having about the same thing on Jarrett, I took a PR class where the adjunct prof. said that newspaper reporters have become lazy and if you feed them a press release, they will go for it.* I have the feeling that if both papers print the same thing, someone had a press release. After all, it isn't coincidence that the same celebs make all the talk shows and "just happen" to be plugging a book or movie.

    Also, it seems like both the S-T and Tribune are very limited in the types of scandals they want to cover. At least S-T had Hired Trucks. The only big Tribune one was U of I, but we knew that politicians were exercising clout, and the only outcome of that investigation was an entirely Quinn appointed board. I'm not sure that's a good idea, either.

    I discussed endorsements a couple of weeks ago; no need to repeat that.

    I'm starting to think that the real problem was disclosed when I saw a print Trib. at a bagel place yesterday. About 10 years back, the Trib. said that all of its profit was from the Sunday classifieds. With a jobs section of only 5 pages, whether due to the lack of jobs or that the classifieds have migrated to Monster and Craigslist, there is no way now that the Tribune can make money. Hence, the real cutback in any type of reporting, and reliance on press releases, candidates' websites, and the rest. For instance, I doubt that Hilkevitch has had an original column in eons.

    *Probably proved when he said that his real job was working for some medical products company in Lake County, and I asked him is that why every TV news program has a health segment about 1/3 in, and he said probably yes.

  • In reply to jack:

    You make a darn good point. Profits are down and as such mining other sources is probably a matter of survival. I'll be honest here, the only person I enjoy reading regularly is Mary Schmich. The S-T I think tries to expose more, but like the Trib are seeing sagging profits. I often wonder if it would be in their better interests to dump some of their columnists. Mary Mitchell and Roeper are useless, as is Michael Sneed the mouthpiece of the corrupt. Of course the Trib has its ughs like Kass too.

    Oh for the days of yore when it comes to journalism. But I'll take the S-T for its sports section.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I am sure the only reason Zorn is around is to be so illogical as to demand a response, then he has the "ZORN RESPONSE" that is even more illogical. However, I've quit his click count game, after having shot him down on his "Sign Jesse Sign" campaign.

    There was also Trice at the Trib., who was essentially the Trib.'s Mary Mitchell. However, then she said that she didn't read the comments because they were hateful, which ended the comments, and somehow her topics have seemed to veer from race.

    Basically, though, I've come around to your point that most of the columnists aren't worth the time.

    My more essential point was that the "factual" reporting itself isn't worth anything. I've said that innumerable times with regard to legal topics, sometimes about transit, as I did above, and figure that is also the same with most everything else.

    One test that worked elsewhere might also work here. In one forum where people were citing secondary sources, I Googled the the key words and found the original press releases.

  • In reply to jack:

    I will agree with you. As for the "click game" that is all that any of the sites are. The Tribune has gone full steam ahead on that one as have the TV News sites. Clicks translate to money and so long as they have that being factual doesn't matter, does it?

    Zorn isn't even worth mentioning and I called him out a few times - at least he has the decency to respond personally which is more than I can say for say Lynn Sweet who heavily moderates her site and only allows comments that agree with her viewpoint.

    My first rule is say what you want and your comment stays, if it gets into personal profane attacks then I'll pull the comment (or if you are selling something - that is immediate). Good debate must have a pro and con, unfortunately the syndicated columnists don't abide by that rule.

    The S-T offered up this RJ Vaneko story today - did clout cover-up murder? How about helping me find some 1st source info on this one? The S-T went for an FOIA and got back a heavily redacted police report. But it is time to really look at the nephew who mindlessly manipulates the system high and low.

    The ST at least tries at times - but like I said too. Factual is sports scores? That is my main motivation for reading print.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Vaneko is easy picking for the S-T. However, with regard to FOIA, you aren't going to get any more, since there is usually an exemption for ongoing law enforcement activities. The Illinois provision 5 ILCS 140/2.15 is more detailed on what you can get than most. How ongoing this one is is anyone's guess.

    Anyway, from what I read, this sounds more like a conventional bar fight, although, as usual, the S-T found an apparent conflict of interest.

  • In reply to jack:

    The way I read it it didn't seem like a bar fight as much as a sucker punch. The fact that the records "disappeared" and Dan Devine is involved makes it even more suspicious given the ties to the Daley Clan. Sounds more like Clout covering up a murder?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Could be, but I find it hard to see J-Fed getting involved in that. Dan Devine could be, in that he never prosecuted any corruption, but he's out, and Alvarez seems cleaner. Of course, the statute of limitations comes up at some point, unless the charge is murder, which you imply it should be.

    That's why I italicized apparent.

  • In reply to jack:

    I haven't read the web edition of this story - but the print edition was rather long and detailed. Sure smells like a cover-up. Of course, it seems that everything involving Vaneko is shrouded in mystery. Dan Devine was a joke and a Daley crony / family friend. So none of this would surprise me and reinforces my belief that the mob is a better deal than the politicians in some ways. At least they had a code of honor - our politicians apparently don't.

  • In reply to waterbill:

    These talking heads in Chicago want to be entertainers more so than journalists. You'll have better luck finding one at an imrpov class than in front of a computer.

  • In reply to gwill:

    I believe you are right gwill - you know I am also beginning to think that the improv class would offer more clarity than the wankers we have in Chicago masquerading as journalists.

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