MEDIA WATCH: A little racism with 'District 299's' latest irrelevancy... Only someone covering Chicago from Brooklyn could not have heard from Michael Brunson, CTU Recording Secretary, and ask in a major pontification 'Does the guy on the left ever speak'?

Sometimes even Substance is capable of being surprised at the silliness of some of the pundits from the corporate media covering public education in Chicago. From time to time we've had fun with the pontifications and pretenses of Alexander Russo, who blogs for the Chicago Tribune about CPS (" The inside scoop!") and for Education Week on all other things reform.

Chicago Teachers Union Recording Secretary Michael Brunson (above) is seen speaking forcefully about the lies and half-truths in the Proposed Budget issued by CPS at the August 10, 2011 budget hearings held at Lane Technical High School. Brunson, one of the four elected officers of the CTU, was one of the most prominent speakers across the city during the organizing for the 2012 strike. His work included budget analysis and an enormous number of meetings and events with members of the faith-based community, especially after Rahm Emanuel tried the "Rent A Preacher" scam beginning in August 2011. Contrary to the racist implication of a question raised by pundit Alexander Russo in a September 17, 2012 posting at (the racism is the implication that Michael is in CTU press conference photos because he is African American), Brunson, like the other officers and dozens of union staff members of all races, has been active for more than four years on the same issues that became world wide news during the Strike of 2012. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.But we have to call Russo out for his racism based on his September 17 attempt to "cover" the CTU press conference from 800 miles east of the Operating Engineers union hall. After posting a photograph showing three of the four union officers facing cameras and reporters during the press conference following the September 16, 2012, CTU House of Delegates meeting, Russo asks "does the guy on the left ever speak?"

The "guy on the left," as everybody but Rosso knows, is Recording Secretary Michael Brunson, who when he is not speaking with ministers and community leaders across the city is quoting poetry before his impassioned speeches at meetings of the Chicago Board of Education. "The guy on the left" has spoken at nine of the 17 meetings of the Chicago Board of Education since Rahm Emanuel appointed his lap dog seven billionaires' board in May 2011 and the Board held its first meeting (the "special" meeting on June 15, 2011 which lied and stole the four percent raise from the teachers and other union workers).

Russo's punditry from afar seems to us to have crossed a line when he made this smarmy comment about the "guy on the left." Although we don't have the time this morning to go through the Substance photo files from all of the Board meetings since the Reign of Rahm began (or re-watch the videos), we are pretty sure that Michael has spoken enough at Board meetings so that even a sleeping Zombie in the drop ceiling above the Board's fifth floor chamber would have awakened at some point during one of the Board's monthly meetings and heard Michael intoning, for example, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave..." as he began, smiling intensely, to call out Vitale, Brizard, Cawley and the rest for their latest lies.

Michael Brunson smiling politely before speaking at the April 25, 2012 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. When he speaks to the Board, Brunson usually begins his carefully prepared speeches with a quote from poetry or philosophy. Contrary to the racist innuendo from Tribune blogger Alexander Russo on September 17, 2012, Brunson, like all the other officers and leaders of the CTU, is a very effective speaker because he knows the issues in Chicago better than pundits who write about Chicago from New York City. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.It's too bad, also, that Tim Cawley or the top CPS financial officials don't comment in their own names for Russo's attempts at punditry from afar. If they did, they would tell Russo to steer clear of that particular level of WHO DIS GUY BE racism, because Brunson is also part of the CTU team that has been meeting for the better part of the year with CPS financial officials (until CPS cut off the meetings following the departure of Rachel Resnick and the decision by CPS to try and lie its way through August and September 2012...


September 18, 2012 at 6:56 AM

By: Lee Alexander

Micheal Brunson and the CTU leadership team

The strong introspective personality of Micheal inspires those in the trenches. As for Russo, the idea that keep them guessing before you put foot in mouth applies..

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