Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Reading the Fine Print: Reviewing Uncle Tommy’s 7 Lessons

Okay, children, Uncle Tommy will review his trash-ery of political wisdom to show how Illinois can leave the land of the blue to the home of the red. #1: The job will never be done without a favorable newspaper climate to conservatism and there is none in Illinois at this time. Just as modern conservatism in the U.S. began in 1955 with formation of “National Review” by Bill Buckley, conservatism here must depend on a major print source in addition to talk radio and blogs. #2: It is not possible to produce an objective presentation of the news in reportage. Those who make the claim are duplicitous. #3: The best course is to initiate a third newspaper in Chicago that will be conservative, ala the two conservative newspapers that exist in of all places New York city—The Post and The Sun. The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch (unlikely to come here). The Sun was begun by conservative entrepreneurs.

#4: The third newspaper for Chicago should be as straightforwardly conservative and Republican as the Sun-Times is straightforwardly liberal and Democratic. That means a fusion of reportage and editorial as it is with the Sun-Times, as it is with The New York Times. This is called Interpretative Journalism. The only difference between a conservative newspaper using interpretative journalism and the aforementioned is that the aforementioned don’t admit they do it. #5: There is a basic conservative mood in the country that can sell newspapers.

#6: There are a number of newspapers which mix the menu. But this produces confusion in the reader which is one of several reasons why newspaper reading is down, cable TV and talk radio up. The Tribune is one: it’s editorials have endorsed every Republican candidate for president since 1872 (with one exception: Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 as the Bull Mooser over William Howard Taft). But since the old Colonel’s death on April 1, 1955 it has presented a steadily leftward trend in its interpretative news coverage. The Wall Street Journal, one of the great newspapers, has a steadfast editorial policy but whose news columns generally pursue a leftward direction (including “Washington Wire” run by liberal John Harwood). Mixing menus isn’t good for the reader or journalism. But you must remember that those who control the Pulitzer Prizes are liberals—so although the Washington Times has outstanding Pentagon and State Department coverage, garnering many scoops, it cannot constitutionally receive a Pulitzer.

#7: The Washington Times deserves to be listed among the great newspapers in the country but is not because--? Because it’s owned by the Moonies which is savaged by the liberals as being a cult. But tell me, The Christian Science Monitor, one of the so-called great liberal Democratic newspapers is the official organ of a religion that preaches illness can be overcome by pious reading and prayer: a paper that does not report deaths in quantity except when they have national impact.

Now an exercise: This is from the Hot Type column by Michael Miner in The Reader, the city’s free, throw-away paper that subsists entirely on ads. Those who say I have it in for Miner are wrong; it’s the best column on media written in Chicago but is written by a consummate relativist to whom doubt is seemingly sanctified—but I digress. Miner argues that the Tribune is losing readers by citing two items: One is an Op Ed by James Warren, the paper’s deputy managing editor teamed with Tom Geoghegan. Geoghegan is a favorite of mine because he is a captivating writer—though wrong. He is a young lawyer who yearns for the days when unions were strong. Warren is an elitist liberal who has the wanna-be Beltway trendy attitudes. He is a former Washington bureau chief whose central criticism was that famous D. C. columnists were making money on the side as lecturers, e.g. Cokie Roberts and her husband Steve; once Warren got his face on TV and became a rather well-known personality, that criticism evaporated: why? Well speculate…either he’s getting his or he’s friends with those who are getting theirs. (Another digression).

Miner cites the Geoghegan-Warren column which laments young people not reading newspapers and contrasts it with a light-hearted Trib editorial which acknowledged the paper has endorsed all Republican candidates for president since 1872. He then cites two letters to the editor. One is by a woman who says because the paper has endorsed these Republicans and only them, “you should start waking up now.” Is that the reason the Trib is losing young readers? No connection. Indeed, judging which party was favored by the voters since 1872—the Republican—there is no need to imagine the Trib, on this score alone, is nodding. Sixteen Republican presidents versus eight Democrats. There’s no logic to it but relativist Miner just wants to make a liberal point. The real reason readers are slumping in Chicago is that there is no philosophical choice between the newspapers—and they’re “b-o-r-i-n-g.” Your comments invited.

1 comment:

  1. I took the train a lot to and from Springfield in the 1970's. One Friday who was on Amtrak but the second Tribune reporter stationed in the Capitol.

    I asked him why he was going to Chicago.

    The answer:

    "I'm going to Milwaukee. The Socialist Convention is this weekend."

    I never saw his political views enter his articles, however.