MEDIA WATCH: 'Randi and Ravitch versus Russo and Rhee'? No contest, but Chicago's Scab blogger continues strange priorities, giving Michelle Rhee prime time as 'news' a week after Meet The Press appearance

After a great week of reality, it's always possible in 2012 to go somewhere to find what we might want to call an "Unreality Check." One of those places for Chicagoans is the Chicago Tribune's "" blog, which is put out by a guy from Brooklyn who pontificates about Chicago's public schools. It seems, though, that the pontifications of the plutocracy are becoming more and more the subject of Comedy Central than taken seriously except in the smaller and smaller circle of privilege they inhabit.

Chicago convention delegate Ray Wohl stands before one side of the Diego Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Art where the AFT delegates were treated to an overwhelming example of the power of art and the work of working class artists during the union's convention. Wohl, an art teacher, is also one of the six teacher trustees on the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Watching the delegates to the American Federation of Teachers convention work this weekend and then standing in the middle of the awesome Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Museum of Art on the night of July 28 for the reception for the teachers, most union leaders from Chicago would really not be thinking about self-important scab bloggers who front for the plutocracy and Chicago Tribune back irrelevantly in Chicago. But after a couple of hours of processing moving photographs, getting up stories, and reviewing the notes from the second full day of the AFT convention, it was time to take a moment off to visit at "" for a laugh and got a bigger one than usual.

And the alliterative formulation, perhaps in honor of the debut of women's boxing in the Olympics, coming to mind was:

Randi and Ravitch versus Russo and Rhee? No contest.

Yet there is something truly revealing about how the vapid tout the viciously vapid in explaining why some pundits push Michelle Rhee versus every reality.

While thousands of public school teachers are marching and meeting here in Detroit for the future of public education, and the inimitable Diane Ravitch is bringing 3,000 of America's most militant teachers to their feet with a stirring speech, the weekend "news" from Alexander Russo's blog is about Michelle Rhee — and it isn't even news.

Historian and blogger Diane Ravitch (above left, addressing the AFT convention on July 28, 2012) were part of more than 3,000 teachers, nurses, and paraprofessionals at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Detroit on July 28, 2012. In the face of the intelligence and integrity of the defenders of public education as they push back against the corporate agenda of privatization and plutocratic privilege, those who still promote the vapidity of Michelle Rhee and the mendacity of "Students First" are fleeing the field except when they can be pushed on the public by shows like "Meet the Press" where they can air their biases and parade their pontifications among friends of like mind. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.It turns out that Rhee was on Meet the Press with other conservative pundits and strategists on July 22, and so the big latest news for District was Rhee, Students First (Rhee's teacher bashing front group), and another round of naval gazing. One of the few good points in relation to this silliness is that the number of comments heading towards the Tribune's favorite Brooklyn Blogger is plunging by the months. Even the most addled of the interested are finding both the selection and the content there too much to bother with.

Many teachers at the AFT convention had spoken out against Rhee, who vowed to raise a billion dollars for her outfit (and pay herself an undisclosed amount) when she was forced out at the head of the District of Columbia public schools three years ago and immediately proclaimed a martyr of the church of corporate school reform in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and across the blighted planetary system of plutocratic pundits, one of whom is Russo. Another, of course, are editors of the Chicago Tribune who support Russo's cyberscribbling about Chicago from Brooklyn. Some of us have been trying to figure out why Rhee remains high in the galaxy of plutocratic apologists and strategists, and watching her in action reminds us more and more of Ann Coulter, who has been in remission lately. Has it struck anyone else that the kinds of guys who go around promoting the corporate agenda's twists and turns have some strange thing going on behind the scenes in all this, perhaps because of how they were handling themselves during that first reading of the dirty parts of "Atlas Shrugged"?


July 29, 2012 at 4:53 PM

By: Bob Busch

Does Rhee want to f___ the education system?

Dear Substance

It does not matter why Ms. Rhee got her speech posted. What she said is as enlightening as the Aspen rant last year. If one watches the post she can clearly be heard saying :

“We are never going to be able to fix this country’s economy in the long run, until we fucks - fix the education system”

Here we have the poster girl for deformation uttering a brilliant and original slogan .

Who knows it might do down in history as the height of her oratory prowess. “Fu_k the education system.”

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 5 =