MEDIA WATCH: First Substance monthly 'Media Scab of the Month' award goes to Alexander Russo of the Tribune's 'District' blog

During the past two weeks, no other media person tried more pantingly to undermine the Chicago Teachers Union's strike authorization vote than Alexander Russo of the Tribune's blog, Russo's thread on the strike authorization story carried a graphic showing a "No" vote on a ballot, and for the entire week, though June 12, he breathed heavily against the union and teachers, repeating the talking points of the plutocracy and the Emanuel administration as often as he could. But what really got him this first SCAB award from Substance was his attack on PURE and Mike Klonsky when both blew the whistle on the fact that the Brizard administration provided the group calling itself Education Reform Now with the phone numbers of Chicago public school parents for those anti-union robocalls that went out last week before and during the voting.

Alexander Russo has been pontificating on behalf of corporate "school reform" since almost its inception. But his coverage of the Chicago Teachers Union June 2012 strike authorization vote showed that he was capable of new lows, even for someone who looks up at the belly of a snake from where he watched the world. Russo's blog,, pretentiously pontificates on CPS while Russo lives in Brooklyn, New York.Usually Russo's blog is an interesting example of self-serving insider dish from the dwindling CPS bureaucracy. It used to be a droll way of learning, for example, which CPS bureaucrat was promoting herself for the "next level." Russo challenged Julie Woestehoff of PURE and Klonsky over their assertion that CPS had provided the robocallers with the CPS parent list, and then cited some version of his version of journalistic "ethics" as part of his critique.

Now that really takes the prize, since Russo lives in Brooklyn and pretends it's find, in this New Age, to "cover" stories in Chicago from 800 miles away. We've asked several of our friends to design the MEDIA SCAB OF THE MONTH award so we can elaborate on the Rat theme, but for today, this announcement will have to do. Congrats, rat. Every union teacher and union member in range now knows what you look like. (Although we expect the Rodent Anti-Defamation League will be complaining, saying we can't "Call self-respecting rats a Russo...").

Alexander Russo posted his thread (above) at his Chicago Tribune blog District as explicitly advocating a "NO" vote to Chicago teachers as did scab Marc Wigler. The entire thread is worth reading, since Russo received many comments after advocating a no vote, calling CTU delegates the "building reps" (above), and otherwise promoting the union busting management side of reality. As readers of Substance know, Russo has been "reporting" on Chicago's schools from Brooklyn New York with the apparent blessing of the Chicago Tribune, which sponsors all of the Chicago Now blogs.Instead of bothering to do some reporting on how CPS decides to release its Robo Calling lists (we have a hunch they wouldn't give a copy of it so we could solicit subscriptions to Substance), Russo doubles down on his carping at the critics of the Robo Calling. This is nothing new, but in the highly charged current context, it's more important than at some less intense times in the past.