MEDIA WATCH: How many times does the Chicago Board of Education get to violate the Constitution before the corporate media notices million dollar legal costs? Coverage of CTU lawsuit victory shows spin used in most corporate media today

For the second time in less than a year, a federal court in Chicago has ruled that the Chicago Board of Education, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, violated the rights of Chicago teachers. Not only is that history unprecedented, but in defending itself against the teachers charges, the Board of Education spent at least one million dollars of taxpayer money on outside lawyers, plus an additional undisclosed number of dollars on the work done by the Board's own ever expanding Law Department to uphold its illegal and unconstitutional activities.

What was the news in Chicago itself? Mostly, the continued coverup of a renegade public body and the cynical Board members and lawyers who operate at public expense on its behalf. But Chicago's corporate media has to share a great deal of the blame for the spasms of illegal activities by the city's largest taxpayer supported public body. While the watchdogs of the public good continue to expand inaccurate versions of "scandal" for the consumption of their readers and viewers, vastly more expensive public costs are ignored because they are done in the name of a thing called "school reform."

To review. In March 2010, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ruled that the Chicago Board of Education violated teachers' First Amendment rights when the Board supported Ron Huberman's attempt to ban campaign meetings in the schools during the Chicago Teachers Union election campaign.

In March 2011, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Chicago Board of Education violated teachers' Fourteenth Amendment rights when the Board supported Ron Huberman's firing of more than 1,300 veteran tenured teachers between June and September 2010. Not only did the Board of Education's seven members authorize the Board's lawyers to support Huberman in that case, but after Huberman abruptly left and was succeeded by Terry Mazany, the Board (and its new CEO) continued to pursue its defense of its unconstitutional actions.

But the blame can't only be fixed on the top executives of CPS, on the CPS general counsel, and on the seven Board members whose support is required for such an action to take place at the expense of taxpayers. Chicago's corporate media in these cases misreported large parts of the story, while engaging in constant propaganda for charter schools (in the case of the Chicago Tribune) or various kinds of trivial pursuit corruption investigations (in the case of the Sun-Times).

During the three days after a three-judge panel in the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a split 2 - 1 decision in favor of the Chicago Teachers Union, the various reports and discussions of the case in Chicago media have shown the limits of news coverage in a town where most corporate media have long ago given up any notion of either balance or accuracy in their coverage of unions and those who oppose the current version of the corporate status quo.


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