Newspaper reading

Lifted from Blithe Spirit is this:

* How to read a newspaper: Always 2 or 3 days late.  You get so-called breaking (broken?) news by Internet and cable and talk radio.  Go to the paper for a palimpsest of local stories — crimes, accidents, school board fights, etc., above all sports!  It’s to prevent yourself from being too much impressed by story placement, headline, photos, etc.  More later: this is a very pregnant topic.

Here’s more, new to this blog: You want to remain untouched by the hype that inevitably attaches to The Selling of a Story, which is endemic to newspaperdom.  Newspapers are competing for your attention and they mean to grab it any which way.  This is not dishonorable.  Au contraire, it’s in the line of duty for them.  But so is it in the line of duty for readers (potential buyers of the story) to beware.  Caveat emptor and all that. 

In this case beware the headline, pix, story placement, etc.  As I say above, more, more, more later on this.


Condolences to Chi Trib . . .

. . . for its amazing double boo-boo, running two pix in a row of supposed gangsters and getting it wrong, wrong, wrong both times! The one guy is suing; that was the first one.  The other guy is just complaining at this point, but give him a day or so.  WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN THE PHOTO LAB AND AMONG PHOTO EDITORS??!!


Trice on "pimp"

Dawn T. Trice is not bad today with a shot at ghetto culture seeking respectability.


Marin on RJ Daley

Carol Marin discussed “Daley’s tight-lipped legacy” in a Sun-Times 4/22 column, deftly limning puffery surrounding golden-anniversary celebration of Richard J. Daley’s accession to the mayoralty.  Ex-Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, who paid for his sins with federal time thanks greatly to Sun-Times reporting some years back, bemoaned media’s lack of progressivism — were “not progressive enough,” he told a high-profile audience.  He also recounted the day in 1966 when Daley urged LBJ to get out of Viet Nam — beyond closed doors from which he emerged to pledge support for LBJ’s policies.  Rosty meant to praise that duplicity and apparently was applauded for doing so. 

Marin recalled instances of unresponsiveness to inadequately progressive media under Richard J., as in stiffing inquiries about lead-paint-related deaths, and brought us up to date with reference to similar unresponsiveness by the son Richard M., as regards hiring of a major Hired Truck scandal character — by whom in City Hall, that is.

It was a nicely honed and reported nay-saying at a time of reverence for the Great Man’s memory.


Well, well

Here’s a suggestion for newspaper writers and editors: No more “well” in the middle of a sentence to indicate a sort of chuckling hesitation to say what some may think shouldn’t be said but one is going to say anyway, because, shucks, it ought to be said, as in this from Andrew Martin of Chi Trib Wash. bureau, p. one, 4/20:

After four years of preparation that cost $2.4 million, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday unveiled its highly anticipated replacement for the food pyramid, and it is, well, another pyramid.



Zorn on mark

“It pains [Chi Trib’s Eric Zorn] that ‘gay rights’ is still an issue,” but he still does not think it a good idea for teachers to impose a protesting “day of silence” on students as was done last week at “thousands” of schools nationwide, in part because he sees the counter protest “day of truth” in the offing.  In this sauce-for-goose, sauce-for-gander situation, he rejects “indoctrinating [his] kids on controversial socio-political matters,” period and says he’d be “just an opportunist” to buy into this one because he agrees with it.

Fair enough.  But are schools value-free?  He’s not saying that, but it’s worth asking.  The “day of silence” in itself is nothing to be upset about, but silence about what?  To what end?  If fairness and a spirit of tolerance is the goal, fine.  But to specify the object of tolerance is another story.  How about a debate?  That’s the way of a democratic society.  Invite debaters on both sides of, say, how much tolerance of gays is in order?  Even to raise the question is to get in trouble, however.


Bolton, Paige out of U.N.

* “The charge that he improperly sought to influence intelligence conclusions is a serious one, and it is reasonable to assess his conduct in these encounters. But no one should be surprised to find that episodes of conflict have occurred in this environment over the course of a four-year tenure," said Sen. Lugar in his day-before-vote preemptive strike toward confirmation of Bolton to UN job — italics added.  No one should be surprised at a lot of things that engage editors, reporters, and headline writers, De Lay’s junkets and relatives on campaign payroll, for one thing.  Washington is regularly awash in such things, is it not?

* Delayed congrats to Paige Wiser, who I think has been influenced by that Austen woman, on her 2nd child. In her Sun-Times column before taking leave a few months back, she gave all the wrong reasons for having a baby, then says, "It’s too late now" and took leave.

* U.S. out of U.N., U.N. out of U.S.? Great slogan but won’t happen. If it did happen, however, why not Haiti? Think what U.N. headquarters would do for the Haiti economy. And those many UN third-worlders would feel more at home there.

NOT! They may be third-worlders, but like globetrotters everywhere, they would rather live (it up) in New York – assuming they needn’t reside in Fort Apache or some other impacted part of town, which is a very safe assumption.


This from John Leo on Terri Schiavo etc. is noteworthy in many respects, but for purposes of this blog especially so in his description of media bias. He notes reference to Florida rallies as "religious roadshow" and calls it "a term unlikely to have been applied to Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights demonstrations or any other rallies meeting CBS’s approval."

"More important," he says:
it was hard to find news that Michael Schiavo had provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife since 1994 and even blocked the use of antibiotics when Terri developed a urinary infection. And the big national newspapers claimed as a fact that Michael Schiavo’s long-delayed recollection of Terri’s wish to die, supported only by hearsay from Michael’s brother and a sister-in-law, met the standard for “clear and convincing evidence” of consent. It did nothing of the sort, particularly with two of Terri’s friends testifying the opposite. The media covered the intervention by Congress as narrowly political and unwarranted. They largely fudged the debates over whether Terri Schiavo was indeed in a persistent vegetative state and whether tube-feeding meant that Schiavo was on life support. In the Nancy Cruzan case, the Supreme Court said that tube-feeding is life-support but some ethicists and disability leaders strongly dispute that position.