MEDIA WATCH: Tribune polling as dishonest as its news reporting... Why are people taking anything from Tribune / WGN seriously?

Governor Brady, meet Mayor Rahm? It's nice to know that Chicago's voters have already crowned Rahm Emanuel the next imperial mayor of our Global City, and as we all know on what used to be Lincoln's Birthday, there is no need to bother voting now that the "polls" conducted by Tribune have declared Rahm the next boss of bosses.

Tribune's poll reported February 11, 2011, was the result of phone calls made to voters with land lines. Those with cell phones were not possible in the Tribune survey. In October, Tribune showed Republican candidate for governor, Bill Brady, more than ten points ahead a week before the election. On November 2, 2010, Illinois re-elected Pat Quinn governor.But wait for a minute: Less than four months ago, people in Illinois who were reading the official polls instead of talking to their friends and neighbors (and applying a bit of common sense) would have been believing that by today, we would be in the first months of the reign of Governor Bill Brady. After all, the "polls" showed Brady "ahead" by between ten and twenty "points" as late as a week before we all went and voted to keep Pat Quinn as our governor.

Yet despite the most recently reality check, many of the same well meaning people are now in a funk because the latest "Tribune / WGN" polls are supposedly showing that Rahm Emanuel is almost "over the top" with the 50 percent of the vote (plus one) that his candidacy needs to avoid a runoff. Someone needs to make a major reality check, first by noting how lacking in credibility the Chicago Tribune (and its other organs, from the Los Angeles Times to WGN) has become, not only in its propaganda claims (editorials, Op Ed, and -- most importantly this week -- polls) but also in its news reports.

For the past five years, since even before Sam Zell purchased the Tribune (mostly with other people's money, mostly the money of Tribune workers whose pensions were stripped to finance Zell's foray into the new world of major media), Tribune's bottom line has been its downfall. During the past year, the Tribune has had no more than one reporter at any meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, and that reporter is, at best, a novice. As a result, the "news" reports of the Tribune corporation's news outlets are simple propaganda, dressed up in the latest narrative fashion. Since the public relations and propaganda departments of the privatization movement(s) are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bust unions, privatize public services, and create the brave new world they fantasize about every time they re-read their favorite parts of "Atlas Shrugged", the result is that the Tribune's news columns are simplistic re-writes of the press releases of the rich, powerful, or favored. Hence, for every ten stories praising Chicago charter schools, there might be one story noting that the majority of successful students completing public school in Chicago are still graduating from the city's real public schools.

The Tribune "conversation" about the future of education last October stacked the deck against public schools, pitting Ron Huberman (second from left), the head of the Catholic Schools (second from right) and Rev. Senator James Meeks (right) all against CTU President Karen Lewis as an anti-union Tribune executive (left) asked the questions and spun the discussion. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.One of the most interesting comparisons we've been making at Substance over the past five years has been between the Tribune's "news" propaganda for the twists and turns of ruling class policy and the reality of what's been done, despite the odds, in the schools. For several years, because our focus at Substance could be Whitney Young High School (the Substance staff member who designed this Website did four years at Whitney Young, graduating in 2007, and is now on the verge of graduating from the University of California with a BS in engineering and statistics), we've watched in amazement as the Tribune as feature the propaganda claims of the corporate "school reform" crowd in page one "news" stories while the actual achievements of the real public schools is ignored or distorted. Four years ago, the Tribune ran a series of stories (not just one) on page one, describing in sometimes ridiculous detail the alleged "success" of AUSL's "Sherman School of Excellence" (which was in its first full year and had now measurable successes, just marketing claims). The low point of that bit of news reporting came when the Tribune featured a teacher holding a pajama party at her home for a bunch of pre-pubescent girls. On any other day, that story would have been reported under the headline, "Teacher crosses line, suspended for hosting children in sleepovers."

But in the hands of the Tribune, even before Sam Zell made even that a parody, Tribune put it in the Internet and Google bins as another example of how great the future "turnaround" specialists were. A half year later, when CPS tried to run a dog-and-pony show at that same school, they had to keep reporters away from the school's south building (which was out of control) and try and control the story completely (including cutting off reporters' questions when Substance asked the mayor a question his handlers didn't want him to try to answer).

Since then, the Tribune has published more propaganda as "news" about Urban Prep, a small charter school with virtually no record of success — but with enormous corporate claims behind it, as well as corporate money — ignoring the impact of Urban Prep on adjacent schools.

Tribune long ago fired or forced its education beat reporters into exile, early retirement, or other careers. Of the five reporters who were covering education for the Tribune five years ago, only one is still at the Tribune, and one other in the news business. The Tribune has replaced them with FNG reporters who are never given the time to know their beat, and are therefore subjected to the dictates of the propagandists of CPS and the charter schools -- and the slanders against public schools which are common knowledge among the elites.

Now the Tribune is trying to convince Chicago that Rahm Emanuel has already won the February 22 mayoral election, weeks before anyone votes.

And we have to listen to teachers citing Tribune / WGN polls as if they should be taken seriously.

For those who believe what the Tribune's multiple media organisms publish, we hope when you get to Springfield you can tell us where to find Governor Bill Brady. 


February 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

By: Perfecto

News reporting

Ha, ha ,ha I say because the Chicago Tribune being call a "NEWSPAPER" IS TRUELY A JOKE".

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