MEDIA WATCH: The New York Times's 'Chicago News Coop' Covers CTU Issues Real Good

One of my favorite moments reading Matt Taibbi was before he started writing for The Rolling Stone. He published an annual NCAA tournament style report to determine who was the year’s worst journalist covering Russia. When Michael Wines of the New York Times won the coveted award in 2001 given out by the Exile newspaper, he was awarded a pie filled with horse sperm in the face. Why? His wonderful reporting included trying to cover up for the murderous Suharto regime which was given lists of communists from the CIA to kill.

New York Times ("Chicago News Coop") reporter Becky Vevea (right) covering the Board of Education budget hearing at Lane Tech High School on August 10, 2011. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The American-backed tyrant eventually liquidated almost a million people to the applause of a bloodthirsty Uncle Sam hell bent on defeating the evil Soviet empire in the 1960s.

Here is Taibbi’s take on Wines's reporting on President Putin in Russia:

“His breakthrough 4,700-word blowjob profile of Vladimir Putin last February set the standard for the Western embrace of Putin as the “new Pinochet” who would bring order and economic stability to Russia. America was supporting Putin at the time as a guarantor of Western business, you see. Wines on the contrary went to extraordinary lengths to not only explain away the ambiguities of Putin’s past, but to actively advertise his authoritarian instincts as positives. The same man who had argued that Russia’s totalitarian past had made it morally inferior to the West was now insisting that young Russians under Soviet rule had only joined the KGB in order to expand their minds; he also argued that the KGB had in fact not been so bad after all, and that only the guilty had something to hide from it.”

Ah, the wonderful NY Times. The paper of record taken so seriously by all those who take themselves so seriously. All the news that’s fit to print.

You have columnists like Paul Krugman still smarting over not given a post in the Obama administration. In addition to all his rhetoric about the need for democrats and plenty of government spending, he is fully committed to free trade (to hell with the workers getting screwed).

Chicago News Coop reporter Rebecaa Vevea (left above) talks with Sun-Times reporter Rosalind Rossi during the August 24, 2011 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Then you have the Judy Millers who legitimized the war on Iraq with her suspense-filled interviews of fake dissidents reporting on Saddam Hussein’s fake nuclear weapons program that led us into a disastrous war with over a million dead and counting (but we won according to both Obama and John McCain in the last election).

So now the Times has come to roost in Chi-town with their new paper of record called the Chicago News Coop.

When you read it, like when you read the NY Times, it looks really good. Then it gets really boring fast, but that’s because how much can one read about city council politics, union politics and more politics.

But the reporting is good.

Apparently Chicago, according to the ruling class, is an important enough town to crack that the Times services were called up to install a permanent beefed-up bureau.

Substance editor George Schmidt has lamented about anti-union reactionary James Warren’s columns slamming the Chicago Teachers Union and public school teachers. But like I said, the reporters are good. Rebecca Vevea is doing a hell of a job reporting on education. Then there is Kari Lyderson, who they list as a reporter, but I couldn’t locate any recent stories.

She was a great reporter for Streetwise writing about real stuff in the city before the paper was purged by the Pritzkers as I wrote in an earlier story.

How good is CNC reporting? They surprised an insider in Chicago teacher union politics (this reporter is a member of the CTU’s political action committee) with a recent report on the press conference I attended for the proposed responsible budget ordinance. The proposed city law would declare more than $800 million in TIF money not allocated to be a surplus and return it to the broke city schools, parks and other municipal services.

Vevea reported that the City Council did not have the votes to pass the ordinance, and quoted Ald. Pat O’Connor (the Daley wannabe who quickly fell in line with Rahm) who stated how dare the teachers claim tax payer money should not go to corporate thieves.

Media, like any good student, is there to serve its master. The CNC, besides its stated appendage of the NY Times, kindly lists its donors on the website, the who’s who of corporate subservience.

Let’s start with the Chicago Community Trust. Remember them, the place where former interim schools chief Terry Mazany hails from. Substance has let it be known they made sure only subservient organizations get city and corporate funding, and made sure any independent groups who closely watched the city and called a spade a spade would not get another dime (and who could blame them, right?)

Winston and Strawn LLP, one of the top politically connected law firms in the city, is an in-kind donor.

Topping the list of individual donors are Mr. and Mrs. Martin Koldyke, the venture capitalist behind firing all those failing public school teachers to rebuild the inner city schools through a process called “turnaround” that helped put Arne Duncan in Washington.

Only Duncan hasn’t mentioned the word again after he claimed he wanted to “turnaround” the nation’s schools like he did in Chicago.

The next one I can’t even say for sure continues to support the Chicago News Coop, but I can’t resist writing about him. That’s George Soros, the loveable neo-liberal billionaire whose billions increased enough to catapult himself into the top ten of the richest Americans with $22 billion (not bad George, considering like Mr. Pritzker you came from nowhere and made it).

The Chicago Reader wrote earlier that Soros was one of the initial investors.

Soros and his Open Society Institute contributes to so-called worthy causes around the world to promote drug use, democracy building and “freedom.”

But a closer look is necessary, especially when this billionaire throws millions around in coordination with the US State Department.

It is an openly known non-secret in Russia that Soros works closely with the CIA to help open up closed markets in anti-western societies.

For example, during the height of the crazy 1990s, Taibbi and myself were covering the unbelievably corrupt privatization story in Russia. Overnight, oligarchs sprouted up in support of Yeltsin who blessed their plunder of the country, and Soros was there to support them.

While he funded these so-called democracy organizations to promote, well, democracy, he was in the middle of the bloodthirsty privatization scam that made the oligarchs who they are today.

Soros screamed bloody murder when he joined up with one of the corrupt oligarchs to try to win a tender after the Russian state’s telecommunications company was partly privatized.

It was so comical at the time – the eloquent speaker of democracy and the rule of the law who lectured the Russians about the civilized ways of the west, screaming like a little child because he did not win a laughably corrupt privatization auction, in which he supposedly out-bribed his competitor.

Today we see this American oligarch spread a little of his “philanthropic” wealth in the US. And we see the privatization mess that turned into a dirty word in Russian (privakizatsia = grab everything you can), now take center stage here in the U.S.

Parking meters? Rahm Emanuel? Richard Daley hedge fund?

I’m sure the CNC plans to cover the attempt to privatizing state assets here, as the NY Times dutifully did in Russia, and never raised one question about it (though I have to admit the Times did run an interesting story on Goldman Sachs making gazillions in fees by charging the state to sell the government treasury bills, a pyramid scheme that eventually collapsed, similar to what they did in Greece). That is what Soros is all about, and that is what his media holdings and money goes to support (democracy in the name of plunder).

By the way, the Tribune article about how corrupt unions are running pension funds is front and left on the CNC website. Yes, boys and girls, that is the one story not reported by CNC that must be featured on the website, how corrupt unions can’t run their pensions, so our white angel Rahm Emanuel can take control and do away with public sector pensions entirely in the name of good governance.

It’s Ground Hog Day for me. Déjà vu. Here we go again.

Ah, you gotta love it.


October 16, 2011 at 3:39 PM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

Jim Vail Wins Pulitzer Award for Journalism

Jim Vail has not yet won the Pulitzer for his writing, but I can't help but believe that it will happen. Thanks for this eye-opening article, Jim.

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