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MEDIA WATCH: Chicago's 'Rauner Times' -- formerly the Chicago Sun-Times -- ends 2012 with another front page propaganda push for Rahm Emanuel.... News reporters continue to be replaced with opinionists and Op Eds by billionaire owners

The Chicago Sun-Times, which is now owned by a group of investors which includes billionaire Bruce Rauner, ended 2012 as it began. On December 28, 2012, the city's morning tabloid newspaper featured its 50th or 51st front page story featuring a flattering picture of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (A complete review of the year at the Sun-times is being conducted by the Substance staff and other Chicago journalists).

The regular propaganda on behalf of Emanuel by the once respected Sun-Times has become a major source of humor in Chicago, with speculation growing that the newspapers owners are lobbying to have a Pulitzer Prize created for the newspaper that can feature photographs of a city's mayor the most.

As part of their effort to guarantee favorable coverage of the national plutocracy and its local elected leader, Rahm Emanuel, the editors of the Sun-Times recently disappeared the paper's long-time and experienced education reporter Rosalind Rossi from the eduction beat. Rossi has been transferred to cover "transportation" just in time to write feature stories about the expansion of bicycle lanes across the city by Rahm Emanuel. Rossi covered the education beat in Chicago for more than a quarter century and was second only to this reporter in experience and sources about the city's schools, especially Chicago Public Schools.

The Sun-Times, which now includes more columnists than reporters in its daily editions, now also features regular Op Ed pieces by billionaire owner Bruce Rauner and his colleagues. Rauner has called for the busting of the Chicago Teachers Union and the privatization of the city's public schools. In a recent column he praised the passage of a "Right To Work" law in Michigan as part of the effort of his colleagues against labor unions.

Since the Emanuel administration took over, both the Mayor's Press Office at City Hall and the CPS "Office of Communications" have routinely tried to plant their version of the news in the city's daily newspapers and on radio and TV. Because of cutbacks in reporting budgets and staffs across the city's media, the slanting of the news is often successful because reporters are forced to cover carefully staged media events featuring the mayor and his aides, without having the time or being allowed to provide context and background.

Careful observers who know the history of Chicago news organizations noted that the ancestors of the Sun-Times were not always self-serving rich men. During the 1930s, the tabloid Chicago Times, owned by a wealthy Chicagoan, served as the city's morning newspaper that supported Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal against the reactionary Chicago Tribune, then led by Colonel Robert McCormick. Ironically, Rauner is stepping into the tradition of McCormick and the propaganda that once was passed along as "news" in the Tribune, while ignoring the history of the Sun-Times itself.



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