Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Columns Left: The Sun Times: Exuberantly on the Road to Partisanship

Not long ago I wrote about the old days when newspapers were frankly and unashamedly partisan. When one picked up the Chicago Tribune under Colonel Robert R. McCormick he knew what he got; likewise with the old Chicago Sun under Marshall Field. Since then, newspapers haven’t been more objective but have engaged in the pretense of objectivity. They will dish up varying columns of opinion, some left, some right. The Washington Post is dishonestly partisan in that it pretends objectivity with some columns left, some right; the Washington Times is honestly partisan and does not pretend; all columns right.. Hurrah for it. Under the two crooks, the Sun-Times made a modest pass at presenting both sides but tilted slightly to the left. Now with the two crooks ready to stand trial, the Sun-Times is reverting to its old harshly partisan Democratic posture of pushing almost exclusively the ideas of the left in columns of the left. The paper has made great progress since the two crooks moved on.

The signage of former Alderman Dick Simpson as a regular weekly columnist crams him in to the already jammed up left loft. Simpson, a university professor, has been a featured player, demonstrating in the past against U.S. involvement in the Cold War: a hemophiliac liberal. He joins these veering left liberals of varied gradations: urban columnist Mark Brown; movie reviewer (when he isn’t pushing the left as a moonlighting political columnist) Roger Ebert; “religion” columnist Cathleen Falsani, who doesn’t know the difference between atheism and agnosticism but, like, who cares so long as I can blast Bush, huh?; religion columnist Father Andrew Greeley, the dissenter priest, venerable Bush basher who once urged that John F. Kennedy be certified a Doctor of the Church, where he would rank with Augustine, Aquinas and Theresa of Lisieux. When you think about it, he really belongs, does he not?

Continuing: Rev. Jesse Jackson, who’s there because the paper is doing penance for reporting on his big business mop-ups, a series that happened under the two crooks; Carol Marin, about whom I refer in another place; Ralph Martire who when he writes does the same column over and again, calling for higher taxes; Mary Mitchell who, when she takes on issues, tacks liberal; Debra Pickett, wafer-light who is supposed to appeal to young women who want to be cool and who has the acceptable Valley girl “like who knows? but everything’s cool so long as it’s liberal” slant; the Notre Dame professor Bob O’Rourke who hasn’t appeared in some time but is obligatorily liberal; QT, very funny, my favorite, even if it’s unabashedly anti-Bush, anti-Cheney.

Richard Roeper, the cool male counterpart of Pickett who is supposed to appeal to young guys except he’s getting a bit long in the tooth; Neil Steinberg, coolly liberal; Lynn Sweet, the Democratic maven who recognizes no distinction between straight news and commentary—the only reporter on the paper to follow this practice—tossing it all together like in a salad and Laura Washington to whom all civil rights is another mile on the Democratic excursion. That’s tacking mucho columns left so far the boat’s in danger of up-ending. But that’s the way partisan journalism ought to be: taking no prisoners and Sweet has it right: tell `em what to think in the news so they’ll not be bothered by doubt, the William Randolph Hearst dictum.

Now we get to where the paper is less than honest: the national columnists to add a dash of supposed objectivity but not enough to matter, leaving the local scene firmly in the hands of the left. There’s Bob Novak, the critic of Bush’s foreign policy but also supply side; Mark Steyn, very, very good and extraordinarily funny and George Will, the phrase-maker for the deeply learned, who writes catchy things like: without whose ameliorations life becomes a mere syllogism—but who is succumbing to the late Walter Lippmann’s disease of total dullness. Chicago now has one Democratic paper that is unapologetically Chautauqua-dated, sort of William Randolph Hearst reborn for the party that is out of power. And which will stay out of power through its lefty ballyhooing.

1 comment:

  1. A hungry fox passed below a fine bunch of grapes hanging high from a vine.

    After trying in vain to jump and reach them he gave up, saying to himself as he walked off, "the grapes looked ripe, but I see now they are quite sour."