Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Personal Asides: A Rundown of the “Tribune’s” Editorials with “The New York Times’” and “The Economist’s.” And Finally With the “Sun-Times.’” See the Difference?


Rather than encourage you to read the hard-hitting, courageous, prescient and devil-may-care “Tribune” editorials which run one-step-forward, one-step-back, two-steps-sideways and conclude with “time will tell”…here are some summaries of recent editorials and see if you discover yet another reason why the venerable paper is slipping. Here is the straight-from-the-shoulder, blistering comment reminiscent of the days of yore under Colonel Robert R. McCormick:

“Strike One” which deals with Mark McGwire’s failed attempt for the Baseball Hall of Fame. It goes (a) the baseball writers humiliated McGwire…(b) but no one can prove that McGwire took drugs…(c) even so, he may have…(d) of course baseball has some responsibility in this, too…(e) but baseball is getting better…and, let’s remember (f) McGwire gave us a lot of thrills in his time…but (g) it looks like he will never get in the Hall of Fame…so (h) the grand conclusion: maybe what happened to him will teach all other players a lesson. Hot damn, that’s expressive courage for an editorial! Grade: D. Absolutely gutless.

“Bejing Edict” says (a) China is trying to look nice for the 2008 Olympic Games…and (b) its telling its Bejing shopkeepers to be a lot more cordial and smile…but (c) forcing people to be nice isn’t exactly very easy so…(d) by not having to be forced to be nice, Chicago ought to get the Olympics. Grade: D-. Triviality of subject and a shallow pretext for rah-rah Olympic Chicago.

“Sanitized Sopranos” points out that it could be that the “Sopranos” might have been more popular than the regular networks fare because of (a) the better writing or (b) its nudity, profanity and violence. (C) Who knows? Well, (d) here’s a chance to find out: the “Sopranos” first season will be repeated on the A&E network and (e) A&E has cleaned up the expletives so (f) find out for yourselves if the series is just as good as it was on cable. Grade F. Triviality of subject and no conclusion. Cowardly, evasive.

“Squeezing Baghdad.” President Bush is (a) sending more troops to Iraq and is (b) setting out benchmarks. But (c) his speech was disappointing because he did not state the consequences; meanwhile (d) the Iraquis may lose U. S. support which has already started happening; yet (e) setting stark deadlines and consequences may have risks but (f) anyhow Baghdad must learn it can’t endlessly rely on us; however (g) the Iraqis may be heeding Bush’s tough message but all the same (h) U. S. military commanders need to keep the pressure on the Iraqis. Grade B-. Meandering to and fro but a conclusion at least.

Any doubt why this paper’s vapid meandering and on-one-hand-and-then-the-other editorials are hardly worth the name and not to be considered in the same league as its once pungent and provocative editorials?

The “New York Times.”

We’ve been very hard on the lefty “New York Times” here but its editorials are clear, straight-forward, not evasive but properly dogmatic.

“Negotiating Lower Drug Prices.” To hear the caterwauling from the Bush administration and its buddies in the pharmaceutical industry, (a)you’d think Congressional Democrats were out to destroy the free-market system when they call for the government to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. Reinforcement of (a): Bad as it is, though, a bill scheduled for a vote today in the House can rein in unduly high prices. Further reinforcement of (a) The HHS secretary should be able to exert his bargaining power with drug companies, the result of which would be—final restatement of (a) lower costs for consumers and savings for taxpayers who support Medicare.

Grade A. You come away with a firm sense of right and wrong and the paper’s position.

The Economist.

“Baghdad or Bust.” George Bush is (a) right to hold out for victory against an even bigger failure.

Grade B+. A little meandering but conclusion firm.

“Diaspora Blues.” Jews around the world should join the debate about Israel, not just defend whatever it does.

Grade B-. Faulty premise: Jews around the world are not knee-jerk for Israel: quite the opposite, regrettably. Nevertheless the editorial conveys its position, however wrong, with no evasion.

The “Sun-Times.”

This web-site has been harsher on the “Sun-Times” than probably any other paper—but its editorials are clear-cut, state a definite proposition, do not meander and are memorable. Steve Huntley & Company write a good, blunt editorial. Again this doesn’t mean we agree with the stand but judge the editorial-writing according to its purpose: to lay out the facts cleanly and come to an un-evasive conclusion.

“Legislature should take aim at assault weapon horrors.” Rep. Peter Roskam (a) said there isn’t any real incidence of assault weapon use in Illinois—a regular refrain of the gun lobby. Further substantiation of (a): Tell that to Denise Reed whose 14-year—old daughter was killed by a stray bullet from an AK-47. These and other reasons are why--summing up (a) the legislature should act.

Grade A+. Firm, no nonsense position.

“Beach photo suits Obama just fine.” The photo of Barack Obama is “not without substance in projecting Obama’s down-to-earth appeal as a family man doing whast all family men do with their wife and kids on vacation. No loner like 007, the man of the moment in `07 seems to have it all—for now.”

Grade B+. Awfully gushy but an adulatory view, take it or leave it.

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed that members of the Tribune's editorial board have a bit more bite in their own columns. Steve Chapman provides plenty of red meat for libertarians.