Sunday, December 31, 2006

"The Mostests"

Ah, ending the year with a December 19th Crystal Lake sunset across Main Steet's big empty field that my 9 year-old son picked as prettiest.

As of the end of 2006, 2,182 articles have been posted since starting this blog in reaction to Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley’s and his city council’s promotion of Tax Increment Financing districts, which will increase taxes for all McHenry County property owners.

Last year Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn asked for summaries of the year. The question intrigued me, so I submitted mine.

It was a lot of work, which probably explains why Zorn didn’t repeat the effort this year.

Last year I awarded a “Most Stunning Example of Left Stream Media Bias By a Reporter” award to a WTTW’s Elizabeth Brackett.

This year, the very day of Todd Stroeger’s ascension to his father’s ballot position for Cook County Board President, I was watching WTTW’s Chicago Tonight again and again heard something I could not believe.

Mispronoucing his last name, Carol Marin outlined the Democratic Party strategy to defeat Tony Peraica:

…there are plenty of Democrats out there who might want to protest by voting for you, but they see you as an anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-abortion (pause) guy in the bluest state and county in the state, so what do you have to say to them on the social issues that are going to make you attractive if they do decide to jump the traces?
Does this woman deserve the “Most Stunning Example of Left Stream Media Bias By a Reporter” award for 2006 or what? And maybe she should get the run-on sentence award of the year, although I'm sure I'm in the competition for that one.

This is the second time that a WTTW employee has achieved this distinction.

Oh, yes. The panel had three Democrats and Peraica. Pretty typical of political balance on most WTTW panels.

Incidentally, last year Marin won the “Most blatant defense of a future felon.”

That future felon, Tru-Link Fence guy Jim Levin was indicted two days after her 2005 Sun-Times column and pled guilty in early December of this year. He admitted to being a briber of Chicago School District procurement officers and to falsifying minority business partners.

I’ve noticed no follow-up, but her columns are not on my “must read” list.

Most Undercovered Story by Main Stream Media:
Developers’ and school vendors’ financing of school tax hike and bond referendum.
Oh, I readily admit that the Northwest Herald reporter Allison Smith broke its long-standing ignoring of this story with her excellent stories on the subject. She somehow infiltrated an early fund raising rally, revealing the Carpentersville School District 300 tax hikers goal of $153,000. She followed up, too. If only every local Northwest Herald education reporter would cover his or her district the way Smith covered District 300. Smith now works at a much higher salary the Carpentersville School District 300's media relation’s person. That's the school she covered previously.

Still, each of those almost “pay-to-play” or, maybe, “pay-to-be-able-to- keep-selling-homes” contributions deserves to see the light of day before the referendum. And that did not happen in the Northwest Herald, the Daily Herald or the Chicago Tribune.

But voters did see the direct mail pieces those contributions paid for.

(You might think that since most campaign spending completely ignores newspapers that they would have little to lose by reporting the contributions, but that ignores the tens of thousands of dollars of advertising revenue that the papers get from developers.)

And, as long as I am passing out kudos to reporters, surely, they are deserved by Daily Herald reporter Jeffrey Gaunt. I can’t begin to list the way he kept both District 300 and Huntley School District 158 on their toes--or, maybe, I should say “off balance”--by just reporting what they did. Click on Jeffrey Gaunt to see all the stories he wrote that I have referenced.

The two should share the award for "Reporters who gave the most fits to local school boards and administors."

I'm sure they would rather I call it, "Reporters who asked and wrote about the most probing and legitimate questions." OK, we'll call it that.

Runner up in that category should be Northwest Herald reporter Karen Long, who delivered an unwelcome article for Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley five days into the 8-day petition filing period for the spring election. (I'd love to know what was edited out of her article and whether Long will be allowed to follow up before the April election.)

More about what happened on McHenry County Blog in 2006 on New Year's Day.


Pat Hickey 8:22 PM  

Nice call Cal! Carol Marin is memory challenged -which for her, a dedicated student to a profession that in the last twenty years thrives on 'blanking' memory and believing that it's readership is likewise impaired, is a hllmark trait. Carol has long forgotten her smear of an elderly Irish couple as 'IRA Hitmen' and seems to have forgotten all about her treatment of Lura Lynn Ryan.

Punk journalism has replaced the likes of Ray Coffey, Nicholas Von Hoffman, Jack Mabley, Roger Simon, Steve Neal, and John McHugh. Save for Neal Steinberg and Fran Spielmann at the Sun Times and Phil Kadner at the Daily Southtown there are very few authentic voices and honest hearts in the business.

When the Tribune closed the City News Bureau for ever, in favor of ( in great Medill tradition) un[aid Medill school kiddie ink-slingers; that might have been the final nail in the old coffin.

I did not include Royko, because he was hit or miss;but had a better average ta the plate than John Kass and Kass has 20 times the talent of Royko.

The Daily Southtown has about the best beat journalists in Courtney Greve and Stephanie Gehring - they always get it right and without a coat of paint - like the Tribune so masterfully insists upon. Carol would be a great addition to the Tribune stable given her willingness to be co-opted.

Pat Hickey 8:41 PM  

Cal, just as an update - The Bears have their britches yanked down to their Nikes: GB 16 - Lovies Lollipops 0.

Lots of clock and No defense.

Anonymous,  9:25 PM  

Carol Marin elected Larry Dominick and the crooks in Cicero.

Randall Sherman 10:04 PM  

so the panel you mentioned in your article had Peraica and three Democrats, and you complain that it was tilted toward the Democrats. In case you haven't noticed (which is not shocking, considering you managed to get your butt kicked out of the State House twice by your fellow Republicans) having one Republican out of four elected officials on a panel discussion in this town is OVER-REPRESENTATION of the GOP, because the Republicans have virtually no elected officials left.

Who was Carol Marin supposed to put on the panel for balance, your candidate in the 3rd CD Spanky the Clown?

If you think things are bad now for the Republicans, just wait for the outcome of the 2008 elections.

Pat Hickey 10:20 PM  

Happy New Year Randall! Hope the holidays were good to you, my friend.

I don't think that Cal, was complaining about the number of Republicans, per se - which are about as numerous in our town as good looking progresive Democrat women.

rather, Cal raised a solid pint about WTTW's ( Window to Toney Winnetka)penchant for ambush 'round table talk: memorable was the time during the St. Sabina imbroglio when 'fair and balanced' 11 pitted a plumber representing the Southwest catholic conference who had just gotten off of shift against Laura Washington, a civil rights attorney, and a tongue-tied nun screaming systemic racism every two seconds - Hank Lentzen came off as forthright and open and honest but could not do anything about the volume.

I watched Carol against Tony and had pretty much the same opinion Run Forrest ( but do nothing), and Bobbie Steele and some else - I have forgotten who it was along with Pay-to Play Carol did the very same thing. I voted for Todd Stroger. Bobbie Steele affirmed her credentials as a true progressive in the final days of her administration.

Fair and balanced? - my fat wrinkled Irish arse is a Monet.

Cal Skinner 8:50 PM  

I would note that WTTW broadcasts beyond the city limits of Chicago and, even within Chicago, there are probably folks who could represent those not a part of the Democratic machine.

There might even be a reporter or two.

Pickled Juice,  12:03 AM  

Steve Neal a good journalist???
That is hilarious!!!!
But since he is dead let him Rest In Peace.
You know the truth about him.

Neal Steinberg, I thought you claim to be a Christian. He is constantly in bed with the secular ACLU you criticize for stupidity.

Fran Spielman, she is late on most stories and has violated journalistic ethnics more than once.

What about Laurie Cohen from the Chicago Tribune???
She broke the HDO story in 2001
What about Tim Novak from the Sun Times?
He broke the Hired Trucks story that lead to the Federal indictments (We know you like Sorich)

I will agree that Carol Marin is an overrated hypocrite.
I will also agree the Southtown is pretty good. They did some good stories on the airport and McLurly has some good political stuff.

I also agree that Kass is hit and miss. Too much on his Greek heritage, his Sicilian wife, his culinary tastes, and he is obsessed with the mob and Daley.
Lots of other stuff going around.
He also misses the forest by looking at one or two trees.

You voted for Todd Stroger????????????
Tony Peraica seemed a thousand times better even as a Republican

Pat Hickey 9:40 AM  

It was the counter clock-wise rolling of the eyes and Henrich Himmler giggle that kind of spooked me - other than that - Tony is a fine example of folks who can get elected.

Anonymous,  11:10 PM  

To compare someone to Himmler is diminishing of real evil.
Pat Hickey has a bizarre and offensive set of analogies.

Pat Hickey 9:07 AM  

Wally Cox then, my aplogies.

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