Monday, January 22, 2007

Personal Aside: Are You Ready for the Crisp, Challenging “Tribune” Editorial Opinions of the Week?

Fasten Your Seat-Belts.

I know you were waiting for the evaluation of typical Chicago “Tribune” hard-hitting editorials of the week…and here we go—remembering the “Trib’s” marketing slogan: “The Chicago Tribune—What’s in it for You?” Indeed. Think about that prescient question as you read the following summaries of key editorials.

“Diet Nanny to the World?” An easy one: if some alderman have their way calories would be posted on each menu item but we are opposed.

Grade: B-. Clear, a little meandering--diners can always ask the server if there is cream or butter included—but needless, over-earnest striving to help the overweight.


“Wiping the slate clean.” Typical “Trib” editorial board gosh-all-hemlock do-goodism with over-concern about the young and not sufficient worry about the ones whose heads get cracked by gangs. In 2005 (a) the legislature ruled juvenile lawbreakers who commit sex crimes should be listed on the sex offender registry. But (b) some now have had second thoughts. The registry (c) is supposed to help protect the public but (d) on the other hand young offenders aren’t like adults who commit sex crimes. Young sex offenders are (e) largely motivated by curiosity and opportunity not deviant sexual attraction as with adult offenders, an expert says. Also (f) 36 states require juvenile registry but (g) most have some wiggle room. In conclusion, (g) Blagojevich vetoed a bill to give Illinois judges discretion over registration but (h) he would be well-served to re-think it because (i) juvenile justice is about rehabilitation so that the kids can start again with a clean slate.

Grade: F. Typical “Tribune” namby-pamby. Read it to your wife or daughter after they are either assaulted, knocked on the head or held up by a young slack-jawed thug just starting to shave.


“Doomsday creep.” The Doomsday Clock has been around 60 years and no nuclear holocaust yet which means that some suggest (a) it should be set at 9:30 p.m. rather than seven minutes to midnight. But (b) Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists thinks it should be moved up two minutes to 11:55 p.m. (C) Your decision, Ms. Benedict because it’s your clock. But (d) “one has to wonder whether mission creep has set in.” Global warming is a serious issue but (e) no one seems to care so (f) don’t change the clock because rogue nations and terror organizations worry all. So this roundelay makes a complete circle with the weakest of possible conclusions.

Grade: D. Centrist round-the-raspberry bush ambiguity.


“Mission Possible.” (A) The National Security Agency tries to balance demands of liberty with security but (b) some eavesdropping secrets are disturbing, some in Congress saying ( c) it was an assault on civil liberties and others saying (d) it isn’t. Now (e) the Justice Department says it has reached a deal with the court to oversee communications in and out of the United States—but (f) the details are slim so (g) the legal thicket is still dense but (h) from what we know it’s a good deal for the administration but (i) the attorney general said he would block any move to give further information which (j) isn’t good enough for congressional leaders or (k) the American people although to be sure (l) strengthening anti-terrorism efforts is vital but (m) it’s also vital to save civil liberties so in conclusion (n) much will be decided in the future as the deal is deciphered.

Grade: D. After reading it three times one gets the idea that the “Tribune” has fudged with a balanced menu of pros and cons but a tad pro-civil liberties than security…but then again…


“Blame the dancer.” Thirty years after his death Juan Peron (a) remains an iconic figure but (b) he sympathized with Nazi war criminals so (c) his popularity with the masses was rooted in his wife Eva who was beloved though a (d) one-time prostitute so (e) when he returned to public life Peron had a new wife Isabel a former nightclub dancer—but (f) though she served as vice president and succeeded Peron, she never measured up to Evita; anyhow (g) last week Isabel was arrested in Spain because of the disappearance of a student activist which may well mean that (h) prosecutors are going after her regime [good guess, Tribune] although (i) she says she has no idea what they’re talking about as she is a poor, ignorant woman who lacked expertise to run the government—but (j) that evidently won’t spare her because she (k) is alive to face the music and (l) Juan isn’t.

Grade: F. Hideous waste of ink and writer’s time which adds nothing to public understanding—nothing.


“Illinois, smoke-free.” Over the last few years, many Illinois cities including Chicago (a) banned smoking in public places which was a (b) relief to workers, non-smokers and (c) even some smokers with the result that (d) half the state’s population is covered but (e) millions are at risk so (f) last week legislation was introduced to ban smoking in all public places underscoring that (g) banning smoking was excellent for Chicago so (h) why not the entire state?

Grade: B. At last: A point of view albeit bland and predictable with no grist.


“2 letters, 2 enduring loves.” This is a story about (a) a dead British explorer who tried to get to the South Pole but failed who wrote a letter to his wife that became public last week—his wife following his advice and remarried underscoring “two love letters—two enduring loves.”

Grade: F. Meaningless pap which makes one wonder why this was selected as a topic for an editorial. Perhaps the former cookbook editor who’s on the editorial board picked it.


“Obama and the long run.” Barack Obama’s campaign is (a) a transformational experience but he will have to (b) change the perception that a black man cannot be elected president which is (c) a lot to change but (d) Obama has a lot of time to develop his candidacy because (e) remember that in 2002 Kenny was at 6% and Edwards at 2% and (f) they ended up as front-runners with is of some hope to Obama, yet he shouldn’t forget that (g) “New Hampshire is hard”; (h) “Nevada is hard”; (i) “South Carolina is hard”; but it is clear that requisite for winning is (j) money, exposure and phenomenal good luck yet Americans (k) look for character not color.

Grade: F. Prosaic truisms and clichés. The same grade that one of my students at Roosevelt University who took my course for credit presenting this as the end-term paper would get. Thankfully all the papers were far better than these. Seriously, I think the former cookbook editor may have written this one as well.


“Let the budget games begin.” Cook county president Todd Stroger has (a) proposed what he had promised—a $3 billion budget without a tax increase but (b) not all the economies are clear, yet (c) by giving them this budget he is forcing real priorities so, lest you think we’ll rush to judgment, (d) we’re reserving our final view but (e) we applaud his efforts because (f) the county’s elected officials have a choice to either manage the revolution [whatever that means] or step aside for others who will.

Grade: F. A recitation of facts everyone knows with absolutely no priorities or conclusions or premises which an editorial should convey. That’s three the former cookbook editor must have written since they all sound alike.


Conclusion: Do you have any doubt why the “Tribune” is losing readers by the bucketful when it serves up this unappetizing gruel?

1 comment:

  1. bill wilson and dr bob smith co founders of aa