WISE GUY . . . In a Sunday 8/22/04 Chi Trib column, markets writer Bill Barnhart reflects conventional wisdom among newsies in a series of subordinated phrases that demonstrate disaffiliation from Bush:

"Bush must overcome his mess in Iraq." His was an "ill-fated adventure into military conquest." He counts on "terrorism hysteria . . . as a political strategy." The nation is "already made skeptical by the 9/11 Commission report." The U.S. is in "low esteem" with "other nations."

Bush has "economic ideologues in his administration." There have been "record deficits under Bush.” A source says the war is "not going well" and "favors Kerry," even if he's "not in the lead now" because of it.

None of this was argued, just taken for granted.

FOLLOWING ONE’S LEAD . . . 8/20/04, Chi Trib finally reported on Swift Boat Vets v. Kerry – when Kerry brought it up. Was not news fit to print before that. Too yucky. Or a vampire requiring stake in heart, as Trib reporter Frank James told E&P. Was result of "too many" news sources out there, said Trib managing editor James O'Shea. Oh the trouble CT has seen, forced by raggedy-ass competition to cover this quite unseemly story about the candidate's tangled web.

Hey, did NYT cover it? No. So what's the problem?

A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN . . . And wasn't it grand the way Chi Trib's Eric Zorn referred hard-copy readers of his conventional stuff to his really interesting web-site stuff the other day, featuring reader reaction to something or other? Z. has dropped one of his columns to have more time for his web site, whose readership he compared (modestly) to hard-copy Chi Trib circulation but not to Instapundit or other performers in the blogosphere, in whose league he does not play. Not to mention Drudge Report, whose circulation exceeds Chi Trib's. Nonetheless, Z. should continue trying his hand at blogging. He's prolific. We have to give him that.

One of his problems, however, is he's heavy-handed. Tin ear and all that, a sort of Al Gore-like bombs-away delivering of facts on top of facts. Has no sense of merely suggesting, in part because he's still caught in the hard-copy mode of either plodding recitation or zany fun and games and in part perhaps because of his being a campus brat, which is not to say word one about his parents as persons but to point out the peculiar wordiness and head-tripping into which campus people fall more than your average person. Talking heads come to mind, but more a matter of mind going lickety split and leaving communication behind. Do I make myself clear?

Contrast Z., for instance, with the aforementioned ABC News’s The Note, in which Mark Halperin et al. pull lots of stuff together daily, summarizing and shorthanding pungently and wittily. There's a knack to that. It beats James Taranto's Best of the Web, I think, which also gets a bit complicated at times, even while performing indispensably.

ERNIE PYLE? . . . World War II battle reports in Chi Trib and other papers routinely led with numbers dead and wounded, driving home the losses incurred, the better to discourage the home front, as our world was called. Not quite. Instead, the news was about victories or setbacks, with emphasis on the first. But battle reports from Iraq and Afghanistan are mostly about casualties. Why?

FDR DONE IN . . . Point made by MSM (Main Stream Media) reporter in an email to Instapundit about Iraq coverage published 10/21:

It's frankly impossible to imagine what might have happened to FDR's presidency if WWII was covered the way the various news media do the job right now. Someone in the blogosphere recently pointed out that 750 American troops died in a training accident during preparations for D-Day. Can you imagine that? Today such an occurrence would have an almost apocalyptic impact in this country, if you consider the way it would be conveyed to the public through television.

HIGH-PRICED . . . The hit man was offered $20G and a city job, says Sun-Times head 10-14-04. The man wanted more than money, he wanted his license to steal.

WE CARE, WE CARE . . . 10/17/04 Sunday Chi Trib featured big in-your-face p-1 color pic of black victim (what else is new?) with story attacking reliability of finger-printing and other forensics measures. Trib Mag cover story same day was on gung-ho pacifist – ahem, peace activist – by the infamous Don Terry, whose story praising former terrorist and current advocate of terrorism William Ayers ran in the Mag on the Sunday after 9/11, requiring a trademark run-of-paper apology by Trib apologist-in-chief (who whines a lot), Don Wyclif. Chi Trib and Terry just can’t stay away from parlor-radical causes. The 10/17 piece even quotes that old parlor radical Studs Terkel – who shot off his mouth after 9/11 about U.S. airmen being terrorists, by the way – who thought highly of the pacifist in question, needless to say.

WE HAVE TO WONDER . . . Chi Trib’s lead business section story, “Anemic profits hurt vaccine supply: Development process deters makers: shortages could persist for decade,” raises questions. It’s all about the flu vaccine business not being profitable enough to justify investing in better technology that would solve mfg.-&-distribution problems. But the demand is huge; why can’t supply meet it? The story hints at a reason:

Companies have difficulty raising prices [essential to making the business attractive] because the government and public health agencies that buy much of the product would create a political stir.

Oh? What’s that all about? New products cost more until mass consumption brings them down, but that’s not allowed in this case?

Companies, though, say the federal government could go a long way to spur more interest in vaccine development.

Oh again. Spurring interest usually means making it profitable. The first move in that direction would be to cancel artificial inhibitions, one would think. Tax break maybe?


Has any Chi newspaper picked up on this bit of business history, from The Scotsman? I don't think so.
Today in 1887, American inventor Dorr Eugene Felt of Chicago patented the world's first adding machine, named the comptometer . The machine, made from a macaroni box, staples, elastic bands and meat skewers, resembled a weird xylophone - but it proved both reliable and accurate. Click here to read
today's news on science and techonology.


The blogosphere "looks a lot like what Free Speech advocates call the marketplace of ideas," says Kelly McBride of Poynter Institute in a 9/16/04 Poynter Online Ethics Journal article, "Journalism in the Age of Blogs."

No, it's "anarchy," says Chi Trib man. ed. James O'Shea. Whose side is Fussbudget O'Shea on, anyhow?


I like to render close reading to noosepaper stories. It helps me understand what I don't understand. Join me in this partial questioning of Chi Trib's Oct. 7 p-1 story, "Iraq in transition: Report on Iraq arms undercuts president," both as to sense and completeness, keeping in mind that the darn thing is done on deadline and in a newsroom climate that operates out of its own conventional wisdom:

Report on Iraq arms undercuts president
No evidence of WMD, terror link
By Stephen J. Hedges
Washington Bureau
October 7, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Drawing on an investigation that included interviews with Saddam Hussein and his former top aides, the government's chief weapons inspector has concluded that Iraq did not possess chemical, biological and nuclear weapons--or programs to build them--for more than a decade before the March 2003 U.S. invasion--a direct contradiction of President Bush's contention that the existence of such weapons justified the war. [rather, of his claim there were such weapons; he did make that claim, didn't he?]
In a report of nearly 1,000 pages, inspector Charles Duelfer said the Iraqi leader decided years ago to abandon active programs to develop and deploy banned weapons of mass destruction, but he sought to retain the capacity to quickly reconstitute those programs once United Nations scrutiny of his regime diminished. [but etc. graf belongs in lead? why not?]

But that work to reconstitute them had not begun by 2003, Duelfer said. And in the case of a program to develop nuclear weapons, Iraq's capacity to renew that effort had in fact greatly eroded, he said.

"What we have found on the ground is at a substantial variation from . . . the prewar assessments," Duelfer told members of the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee on Wednesday. [assessments by whom? vigorously or otherwise contested by Dems, including Kerry?]
Duelfer's report notes that postwar inspections in Iraq have led to the conclusion that Iraq destroyed its long-range missiles and militarily significant chemical and biological weapons stocks in 1991 and 1992. [postwar, yes. but prewar?]

Iraq's nuclear weapons program effectively ended in 1991, the report states, but the inspectors did find "a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted." [Oh? Interesting]

Had it been allowed to proceed, Duelfer's report states, Iraq could have restarted its chemical and biological weapons programs within months. [Should go higher up?] The nuclear effort, however, would have taken [also been started? been completed?] far longer, perhaps years.

Duelfer also told the committee that his investigation, conducted by 1,200 members of the U.S. Iraq Survey Group, found no evidence that Iraq had shared weapons technology or know-how with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, another frequent prewar danger raised by administration officials. [and contested by Kerry et al.?]
On Wednesday, Bush again suggested that Iraq could have shared weapons with terrorists. [he had previously merely suggested this?]

. . . more more more . . .