Category Archive 'Chicago Tribune'

17 Mar 2010

Journalists Don’t Recognize This Photo

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Ron Grossman recently tested the historical knowledge of younger colleagues in the Chicago Tribune’s newsroom with sometimes disastrous results.

I took a quick survey in the newsroom the other day, something between a Rorschach test and a pop quiz, asking younger colleagues to identify an iconic photograph of World War II.

While some instantly recognized the image, others couldn’t quite place it.

“I know I ought to know it,” one co-worker said. “It was in the movie, ‘Flags of Our Fathers.’ ” Some, seeing uniforms, realized it must be a war photo. Maybe Vietnam? One got the era right but the battlefield wrong. She guessed it was D-Day, not, as it was, the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima.

28 Jul 2009

Seem Familiar?

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George Santayana observed that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it. The above editorial cartoon, published April 21, 1934, shows that government pouring money into massive federal spending programs to try to improve the economy was tried before. The Great Depression continued up until WWII.

15 Dec 2008

Tribune Blows Federal Case

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the Chicago Tribune isn’t only financially bankrupt. It’s ethically bankrupt as well.

The Tribune’s selfish decision to break the Blagojevich corruption story early probably prevented the FBI from catching the actual sale of a Senate seat (to Jesse Jackson, Jr.) on tape, losing federal authorities half the bust.

Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ordered the FBI to arrest Rod Blagojevich before sunrise Tuesday in order to stop a crime from being committed. That would have been the sale of the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

But the opposite is true: Members of Fitzgerald’s team are livid the scheme didn’t advance, at least for a little longer, according to some people close to Fitzgerald’s office. Why? Because had the plot unfolded, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday’s dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was not dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich’s alleged “crime spree.” It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation and a careful reading of the FBI’s affidavit in the case.

At Fitzgerald’s request, the paper had been holding back a story since October detailing how a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with his office.

Gerould Kern, the Tribune’s editor, said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. “In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens,” he said.

But editors decided to publish the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune’s own cooperation deal with the prosecutor.

Read the whole thing.

17 Jun 2008

Smile, When You Call Me “Whitey”

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The Chicago Tribune is attempting to innoculate readers against the possibility that the rumor published by Larry Johnson of a tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “Whitey” may turn out to be true.

It’s hard to come up with an ethnic slur that has less of a sting than “whitey.”

A prevalent yet unsubstantiated Internet rumor has it that Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, used this term at some point in a speech, and the Obama campaign is concerned enough to have posted an online rebuttal.

I’ve got to ask, though. Are there really white people out there so ignorant of history, so unaware of the nuances of language and so threatened by minority grievances that they take genuine umbrage at the term “whitey”?

More a taunt than a threat, the word has no ugly history and hints at no particular stereotypes. It may have been hurled in a menacing fashion in ugly personal confrontations from time to time, but it’s never been used to keep a people down, to put them in their place, to rank them as subhuman.

To be truly offensive, a derogatory term needs to have an ominous context that “whitey” lacks.

Those who take offense are confusing prejudice—which is making negative assumptions about people based solely on external characteristics, of which all races and ethnicities are guilty—with racism, which is prejudice in action.

It requires them to imagine that “whitey” marginalizes, diminishes and therefore harms white people.

And if they’re really that dumb, then I guess they deserve to be insulted.

So there!

They really lit Jeff Goldstein‘s fuse with this one. Jeff retorts:

So yeah. It looks like an Obama presidency will give us a frank discussion on the issue of race. If by “frank” we mean, “shut up and quit you’re bitching, whitey. We’ll tell you what racism is.”

Read his whole Don’t call me nigger, Whitey.


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