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?