MEDIA WATCH: Coverage of the end of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 immediately launches the two Big Lie narratives they will try to get to dominate public debate — CPS is 'broke' and the only way to get $$$ is to close schools!

America's corporate media, from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the cute hacks who plod the TV waves in Chicago, was ready once the Chicago Teachers Union defeated Rahm Emanuel's neoliberal attack on public schools and union's. Without missing a beat, the media myrmidons moved into the next two lies that will spew from the various outlets of Rahm's Ministry of Propaganda (Chicago's City Hall "Mayor's Press Office") and its junior partner, the CPS "Office of Communications" at 125 S. Clark St.

The stenographers of corporate America's Party Line are lined up and dutifully taking notes during one of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's almost daily propaganda parties. The one above took place at Perez Elementary School on November 11, 2011 to showcase the Mayor's new Internet program that proved that half of Chicago's real public schools were "failing." More than 20 reporters and TV crews covered the mayor's version of events in the Perez school library, but only Substance reported that the library, a pretty staging area for a publicity stunt, was not available to Perez's students because CPS had not budgeted for a librarian. At some media events like the one above, propagandists from City Hall and the CPS "Office of Communications" outnumber reporters from the supposedly independent press corps. The staging above shows the mayor sitting in the middle of the traditional Performance Management horseshoe, the reporters sitting on the right, and the propagandists for the mayor and CPS in the background (roughly center, under the "Exit" sign). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The two lines of lies will go as follows:

ONE: THERE IS NO MONEY! Don't you know that CPS has a deficit (no quotation marks) of more than $600 million this year and BILLIONS in years to come. NO MONEY. The richest country in the history of Earth doesn't have enough dollars to pay the teachers who teach some of the poorest children in the history of America's cities — let alone pay the pensions of those who came before and those who will come from now on. THAT'S A FACT!

TWO: THE ONLY WAY TO GET MORE MONEY NOW IS TO CLOSE LOTS OF SCHOOLS NOW! Instead of getting rid of the million dollars worth of newly minted "communications" people added to Becky Carroll's office since the Reign of Rahm began, doing a true housecleaning in both the central office and the "Networks", the media will ignore the half billion worth of waste, cronyism and patronage within the system's $6 billion in annual spending and focus obsessively on "underutilized" and "failing" schools that MUST BE CLOSED NOW! THAT'S A FACT.

And as long as the fact-makers can create the general narrative, their pseudo-facts and outright lies will continue to stream across the main media waves.

Typical of the way Chicago's City Hall was able to manipulate Rahm Emanuel's version during his Rookie Year as may can be seen above, from a carefully staged mayoral publicity stunt held at the corner of Montrose and Central on August 9, 2011 at Chase Bank. The story line for the "news" was that, once again, Rahm Emanuel, through his economic policies, was being a "jobs creator" in cooperation with corporate Chicago. Above, the blue chairs are lined up for the reporters from the city's corporate media prior to the entry of the mayor and the President of Chase Bank (Glen Tilton), who will stand at the podium (far right) and present the story line for the news. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. The trouble with the Party Line of America's corporate Stalinists is that both narratives are not true and easily debunked.

Unlike years past, the Chicago Teachers Union and its allies are no longer crippled in the face of the enormity of the propaganda that poses as news on Chicago TV and in other media outlets. From the careful study presented last winter about the devastation cause by the Bronzeville closings through the handful of college and university researchers who actually have studied the truth (instead of the hacks generally quoted — like Tomothy Knowles of the University of Chicago and Barbara Radner of DePaul University). And with that is the now two-year-old Chicago Teachers Union Research Department (which includes this reporter part-time as a consultant), the side of public schools and democracy is finally well served by the union itself.

And beyond that, a national and international cadre of researchers, writers and professors is willing to rebut every new lie to pour out of the propaganda mills that gave the world, for the second time in 40 years, a "free market" attack on democracy (and common sense) led by a bunch of "Chicago Boys." The first wave was launched with the help of the University of Chicago's economics department behind the bayonets of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. This one is still flying high behind the phalanx of official lies that kept Arne Duncan in power in Chicago for eight years and has enabled his Chicago Boys to attack the nation's public education system from the President's office in Washington, D.C. in ways unprecedented in the history of the USA.

A few minutes after the above photo was taken, at Montrose and Central in Chicago on August 9, 2011, the corporate media's elite reporters dutifully took their seats and took notes for the story being fed to them by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chase Bank CEO Glen Tilton (who can be seen at the far right in the above photograph). According to the story line, Chase Bank was joining the dozens of corporations that were creating jobs in Chicago (in the case of Chase, hundreds) thanks to the business friendly policies of the Emanuel administration. The claims about job creation repeated on an almost daily basis by the mayor or in press releases are never verified for accuracy by Chicago reporters. Instead, the mayor and his media minions are able to feed the story constantly into the stream of information presented to the public in the form of "news." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. One of the most interesting aspects of the Chicago version of the Big Lie is that most of the information that could debunk the lies is publicly available. Any reporter in Chicago could download copies of the CPS CAFR for, say, the past five years, compare it with his own outlet's "deficit" stories of 18 months earlier, and note that the gap between what he reported on, say, July 15, 2010 was about a half billion dollars away from what turned out, in the audited financial statements, to have actually been the truth.

In order to sustain the narrative, a generally subservient crew of media personalities (some of whom actually now consider themselves to be "a brand") has to ignore the facts as much as possible, suppress them when they are presented, and have experts available to provide quotes on demand to support their fairy tale narrative. In Chicago, all of these conditions have been in place for years, so the launch of the latest attack on reason and reality came right on schedule, and precisely according to a well-worn script.


September 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

By: Jean R Schwab

School closings lead to chaos

I hope that there is something we can do to stop the closings because it leads to chaos in our city. I could create a long list of problems that are created by closing schools starting with increased violence. Closing schools should not be an option.

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