Yesterday morning the under-staffed, miserably under-paid and job-insecure Sun-Times staff trounced that over-staffed, over-paid and corporate-sized Tribune on the major political story of the day
not withstanding that the Trib should, by virtue of its size, control the citys political coverage hands-down. The Sun-Times broke the story that the Cook county board will shortly move to install Bobbie Steele as interim president. The sleepy Trib was AWOL on the story. This hasnt happened just once, its a regular phenomenon. Whats the reason? One of the reasons is the Tribs screwy relativistic view of itself. A good long time ago, Jim-Bob aka Jim Squires the Tennessee liberal who served as editor, sought to give the then (as now) slumbering giant a fresh direction. He foresaw the paper giving national news total prominence in its first section, rivaling the New York Times playing a distant second or third, contained in a Metro section.
The result: what the Trib had been really good atthe local newswas downgraded which gave a real boost to the starving Sun-Times. Today while Squires is long gone, having become Ross Perots press guru and other things, but the dream of the Trib as the rival to the Times lives on. Of course, Squires had no interest in conservatism which the Trib had gained its reputation on. Basically, it was the case of replacing the old absolutism with a kind of wishy-washy relativism in which the paper floundered trying to figure out where it stood. The Tribs supposed rivalry of the New York Times never took. Say what you want about the ultra-liberal Times, it knows what it believes, in the same way the old Trib used to. Its editorials are crisp and well-written, not meandering and come to blunt conclusions. Its Washington writers are, as a conservative I hate to say it, superbly gifted in writing liberal nuance and as liberals fit with editorials perfectly.
In contrast, the Trib has editorials that never concluded anything but the obvious; the news-writers out of Washington are liberal re-treads; the regular journalists here in Chicago are out-pointed and like the rest of the paper blowsy. Columnist John Kass is the only writer worth reading in it and thats because he hearkens back to the old newspapers damn-the-political-correctness integrity.
The entire paper seems to be padded with fillstories and features that after you read them you tend to say, so what? With no definable ideology except what passes for conventional wisdom, the Trib, once a major paper in the country is just another well-padded bore. In contrast, the Sun-Times which has truly become the Democratic paper of record here, is the first one you pick up even though some of its columnists who try to be hip arent worth the bother: Debra Pickett the so-called smart girl who deals in clichés, Mary Mitchell who seems exhausted when the topic switches from race relations to issues of general concern, the prematurely orange Carol Marin who never fails to restate the left in unappetizing terms that even the left must resent. But the news staff is extraordinary: Fran Spielman who writes a third of the paper from City Hall, Abdon Pallasch the legal reporter already an expert in the field; columnist Mark Brown the punchy liberal who, unlike Marin, has something to say.
One indication of the many that tell you about the Tribs horrible inner-insecurity is its inability to find an editorial cartoonist which has taken it some seven or so years to search for. The Sun-Times has an excellent one, Jack Higgins, who disagrees with the papers editorial thrust often (violating this Blogs credo that a newspaper should be uniform ideologically) but who is a stunningly effective artist and political thinkerbut the Tribune cant find one for this simple reason: unlike its wavering, uncertain editorial writers who usually end their articles with time will tell, a cartoonist is by nature polemical.
Ergo: No cartoonist can draw a commentary by leaving a conclusion undrawn. You cant draw a cartoon that says time will tell as the vapid papers editorials continually say. Since the entire paper is a psychological screw-up with most liberals trying to write pap that will appeal to Hinsdale and Oak Brook
and conservatives all but non-existant
with the business side unaware of what a paper should really be
and with the entire institutional side ashamed of the papers legendary history under McCormick
no cartoonist can be found because cartoonists are, by their very nature, polemical. That same vapidity has failed to give regular reporters in the paper the incentive to beat the Sun-Times because of the intellectual nirvana that besets the paper: similar to Pontius Pilates question to Christ that betrayed the true relativist: What is truth? When you have to ask it
when you see the torrential intellectual self-doubts of Zorn and
whats her name, Schmich? (who is a kind of nihilistic intellectual soul-mate)...you know whats happened to the Tribune.
The Hideous Truth.
What in the world is the reason why sensible journalists of both papers are talking up a junior United States Senator
who has accomplished nothing thus far in the Senate (and is not expected to until he gets his moorings) for President of the United States? That is whats happening to Barack Obama, which is good news for him but bad news for people who would like to take public policy seriously. The only thing Obama has done is to accept the role Harry Reid has given him which is to be the ethics lodestar. Unfortunately back home in Illinois, Obama single-handedly caused the nomination of the one Democrat on the state ticket who is foreordained to lose because of serious misapplication of duty as a private banker. Still the mindless drum-beat goes on, most notably on the front-page of last weeks Sunday Tribune, the paper that doesnt know what it stands for. At the same time, Carol Moseley Braun even before she put her foot into the Senate, was never reckoned as a presidential contender, even potentially. Why not?
The answer is Obamas near Caucasian good looks which makes racists out of the fawning white-dominated major press. Were he to be an African American with looks like a younger John Stroger: a paunch, much darker skin and a less aquiline nose, would he be in the running? Of course not. Were he to look like Stroger, he could still pose with a forefinger to his cheek in deep thought as he does now, and not be in the running for president. Even before her mishaps in the Senate, Moseley Braun couldnt either: she is a representative black woman with an eye-catching smile albeit but not presidential.
A younger Stroger look-alike could pontificate with vague clichés, as Obama did at the Democratic convention, telling us that Americans should be regarded as Americans and not by hyphenates but would not register. Obama, a mulatto, has a white mother and black father: thus he looks vaguely more representatively white than black and as such is white liberal Americas idea as the first black president. He could play one on West Wing. Edward Brooke, the liberal Republican Senator from Massachusetts, who had far more experience than Obama (having been state attorney general and a two-term Senator) was never regarded as a presidential contender: reason, he could not be mistaken for a white man. He was also Republican but that was of less importance than his looks. This article will be cited as horrendous by the political correctionistsbut the writer is too old to be dismayed by the cosmetician obfuscators. You read it here first: The reason Obama is mentioned so often by the media for president is that he is half white and visibly so-- and liberals who are nothing if not hypocritical, deem him easier to accept and elect than were he fulsomely black.