MEDIA WATCH: Independent media giving best coverage of Whittier while The New York Times continues to provide corporate spin and lies
The most recent story to show the bankruptcy of the new New York Times approach to covering Chicago news became dramatically clear by Sunday, October 3, 2010, when the Times continued ignoring the major struggle taking place at Whittier Elementary School in Chicago, even after the Wall Street Journal featured the struggle (October 1) in its news pages.
As Substance has reported previously, the so-called "Chicago News Cooperative" which replaced the Times Chicago bureau, for all intents, in bringing Chicago news to "America's Newspaper of Record" is controlled by the same corporate leaders who dictate that school news be always slanted from the point of view of corporate "school reform." It was no accident that one of the most prominent members of the New Cooperative's Board of Directors was Martin Koldkye, the millionaire venture capitalist who has promoted every privatization and racist scheme to "reform" what are supposed to be Chicago's "failing" schools, deliberately ignoring the vicious racial and class segregation that leave half the city's children living in dire poverty, as if the mechanisms of capitalism and the victims of those mechanisms could be solved by the mere waving of a media spun magic wand.
While the mainstream media have done a fairly decent job (led by Spanish language radio and TV) in covering the dramatic story of "La Casita" and the demands of the Whittier community. Supporters of "La Casita" include teachers, children, parents, and neighbors, helping raise the demand for a real library for their children.
Whittier has a "walking library" like 159 other Chicago elementary schools; that means a teacher takes a cart of books down the hall once or twice a week and drops in on classes, while the children are deprived of a real library and reminded, once again, that poor children are truly second class citizens in the city that gave the USA Arne Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education.
Like so much that was outright fraud and spin during the years since corporate school reform took over Chicago's schools (beginning with mayoral control under Richard M. Daley on July 1, 1995), the library question was ignored by the city's corporate media elites. While teachers and parents complained about all of these issues regularly (often to be threatened by city and CPS officials), the stories told by Chicago's corporate media were always based on the happy talk of corporate spin, first by the Paul Vallas regime (1995 - 2001), then by Arne Duncan's platitudes (2001 - 2008), and most recently by Ron Huberman (2009 - present) — all the white guys who became magically qualified to run the nation's third largest school system once mayoral control and the controlling corporate myths were firmly in command of the general narrative about urban public education.
But with the story of "La Casita" beginning to take center stage in the public mind, the narrative, too, may be changing.
Independent media (including Substance) have been covering the story without regard to the spin of the corporate versions of reality.
And La Casita itself has tried to have its own website:
It is now possible to Google "Whittier Elementary School + La Casita" and get dozens of stories in English and Spanish that tell the real story about what's happening in Chicago's schools.