MEDIA WATCH: Corporate Chicago spins the 'news'... Chicago newspapers and Catalyst ignore three congressmen, black out dramatic and detailed CTU press conference

A powerful, hour-long press conference hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union at CTU headquarters in Chicago on October 20, 2010, was blacked out by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times in its October 21 editions, despite the fact that three United States Congressmen — Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez, and Bobby Rush — used to press conference to support the Chicago Teachers Union's demands that the Chicago Board of Education rehire every teacher who was fired during the summer of 2010, noting forcefully that the reason the U.S. Congress passed the "Educator Jobs Act" in August 2010 was precisely because the Congress wanted the money to go for the hiring back of teachers whose jobs had been cut because of budget problems across the USA.

The city's two daily newspapers were joined in their blacklisting of the union and its supporters by the "independent" magazine Catalyst.

What happened that wasn't news.

Congressmen (left to right) Bobby Rush, Luis Gutierrez, and Danny Davis spoke on behalf of teachers who had been fired by the Chicago Public Schools at the October 20, 2010 press conference at CTU headquarters. Both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune ignored the story. CTU photo. According to the Congressmen and CTU President Karen Lewis, the Chicago Board of Education received $104 million for the specific purpose of rehiring laid off and terminated teachers. Instead, the press conference revealed, Chicago Board of Education Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman has spent the money on other projects, ignoring the specific mandate in the law and calls by members of the Congress to follow that law.

A video of the press conference (an hour long) is available from CAN TV. It can be found at

Because the SubstanceNews link does not always function, readers can get to the video by copying and pasting the address above into their browsers.

The press conference also featured the stories of two of the more than 1,000 tenured teachers who have been fired by Ron Huberman since June 1, 2010. Their stories gave additional poignancy to the remarks made by the three members of the Chicago congressional delegation.

One of the features (above) considered more important than the Educator Jobs Act was prominently on the first page of the Sun-Times website on October 21. One indication of the misplaced priorities of Chicago's corporate media and its dwindling cadre of "reporters" came when TV reporter Jay Levine insisted on asking the three Congressmen and President Lewis why former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel was not invited to the press conference. According to Levine's point of view, Emmanuel should have been invited because he is a "front runner" in the mayoral race, which is still taking shape. Despite the fact that Emmanuel is enormously unpopular among teachers because of his association with the Obama administration's "Race to the Top" and other polices attacking public education and teacher unions, Levine insisted that there had to be a place for Emmanuel at the teachers union headquarters that day. When the congressmen tried to point out that they were talking about a piece of legislation that they had helped move through the U.S. House of Representatives — and CTU President Karen Lewis noted that the congressmen were there specifically because of that point — corporate media still ignored the facts.

The hundreds of stories of students whose school year has been disrupted by the policies of the Huberman administration — through the summer layoffs and more recent cuts based on the Board's "20th Day Rule" — are being ignored, while enormous amounts of newsprint have already been devoted to stories, reviews, and editorials praising the anti-union movie "Waiting for Superman."

Chicago's daily newspapers have rarely been as anti-union as they are in 2010. Even at the height of the racist and anti-labor reign of the old Chicago Tribune, the city's newspapers were varied enough so that readers could find the truth even when the Tribune blacked it out. During the Great Depression, the city's last sustained financial collapse, the Tribune's red-baiting, racism, and union busting policies — preached both as "news" and opinion during the days of Colonel McCormick — were balanced for working class Chicago readers by other newspapers, including the Chicago Times (which became a New Deal supporting tabloid during the Depression and then was ignored in subsequent media histories of Chicago) and the Chicago American and Daily News.

Today, the corporate media are dominated by a single party line, as the recent coverage of "Waiting for Superman" has shown. The Sun-Times is owned by millionaire James Tyree, who prided himself on firing as many college teachers following the 2005 Cook County College teachers strike (when Tyree was President of the Cook County College Board), while the Tribune has been bled dry by billionaire Sam Zell. Meanwhile, Catalyst serves those who fund it, the wealthy foundations that control the message about Chicago's "school reform."


October 22, 2010 at 12:01 PM

By: Kathy Jacobs

Little Ray of Sunshine

Thanks George, for this report. I couldn't identify who was whining about Emanuel not being invited to a press conference with which he clearly had no involvement. Makes one wonder if some in the media will be demanding that he be included in all city events, as if he's the Mayor-Elect. Karen was on the money in her dismissal of Levine's indignation.

This was a fine moment in the war against union teachers. Gutierrez said some powerful things in support of veteran teachers. It would be nice if he stayed on board.

October 22, 2010 at 5:39 PM

By: Computer Technology is a better way to get message across to the masses

EduJob Conference

The EduJob was a very informative and morally lifting conference that I learned about on the internet. As a parent and college student, I do not have time to watch the news on the TV, and I don't buy the Sun-Times or Tribune because I could get the news free on the internet. I do read the Spanish Hoy newspaper because I am fluent in Spanish and it is free. The Spanish Hoy paper did have an article regarding the EduJob conference spoken above on Thursday on page 7. I think the conference message will get across millions of people because the masses view internet services such as YouTube and others. We do not need these bias TV stations or newspapers to get the message across. We do need eveyone to understand the importance of having Unions for the young and experienced teachers.

I particuarly liked Congressman Davis personal story about when he was in his twenties, he was a teacher and he realized that the janitor at the school made more than he did as a teacher and that is why he realized unions are important. Thus workers could make decent livings as they are providing services for students.

In addition, I believe it was very smart of the unions and teachers to get law makers to work on their behalf. Moreover, it is imperative that we get the message out to the whole country to vote against all government officials that are trying to get rid of teachers rights and unions such as people who support charters and Race to the Top. We can do this best by using the internet, protesting, sit-ins, getting representives involve, law suits, complaints,influence friends and associates at schools and at your place of emplotment, never give up.

October 22, 2010 at 7:31 PM

By: Where is the proof?


A reporter asked the Congressman, "Do you think the EduJob Funds were used illegal?"

It was strange the way all the congressman looked. It seemed with the expession on their faces as they were thinking Hell.....Yes! But apparently they would not say yes. Although I think all the other questions were irrelevant, I thought this question was interesting. I would like to know were every penny went. Did the money actually go to education? Is it illegal to use money from the government for something it was not intended for? If I received a grant for the government to pay for courses, however I used it to pay for a car or clothes would that be illegal? I don't know what CPS used the EduJob funds on, but the congressman said it was only intended to restore teaching positions. Thus, if CPS used the funds for anything else they should be forced to come up with money to restore all teaching positions lost this summer. CPS should obtain severe fines for the actions.

October 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM

By: Restore Jobs

Education Job Act

Even after the congressman stated that the Education Job Act was passed specifically to restore all teaching positions, CPS still refuses to hire back all the teachers that lost their positions. The congressman suggested that CPS received even more money than they asked for to restore teaching positions. Apparently, money is not the issue. The real problem is CPS just don't want to hire these teachers back. Perhaps The board members don't want to admit they were wrong. Maybe they used the money on something else. Perhaps they want to keep the money for themselves. I am just wondering when the board members are going to act like decent human beings and start treating people with respect and do the right thing for our children(hire back qualified and experienced teachers).

I don't know why they continue to appeal cases even when they are wrong and they usually lose. It is really CPS(illogical intent,opinions, and fear tactics) VS Teachers and the general public (evidence, logic,and facts).

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