MEDIA WATCH: Russo, from his blogtification pulpit in Brooklyn, knocks Diane Ravitch as the whining continues at ''...

One of the secret pleasures of some Chicago teachers and reporters is regularly reading "" to see how off base Brooklyn's finest Chicago reporter can get. Alexander Russo might be the most self-important blogster to pontificate (it's a practice called "blogtification", a combination of blogging and pontificating) on Chicago, but even for him it's sometimes over the top. His report on the visit of Diane Ravitch to Chicago is a good example.

Diane Ravitch at the CTU offices October 15, 2012. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On Monday, October 15, 2012, Diane Ravitch, who renounced corporate school reform with the publication of her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, was in Chicago. Chicago reporters could easily cover Ravitch's public events, which included a breakfast at the City Club and a press briefing at the Chicago Teachers Union. In all likelihood (we didn't bother to check), Russo was in Brooklyn, from where he covers Chicago. So, naturally, he had more to report than most of the reporters who were in Chicago that day, and doing reporting rather than blogtificating. And, equally naturally, he didn't actually hear Diane Ravicth's remarks in Chicago, let alone join the five reporters who asked her questions during the various events.

So Russo was ready, as usual, with a blogtification: "As you already know," he opined two days after the event, "I don't think that's very constructive for CPS over all for Ravitch or anyone else to keep bashing at failed or imperfect reform efforts rather than begin working on some joint efforts. And the truth is that while I like her personally I've basically stopped paying attention to Ravitch because she's become so rigid, ideological, and almost cartoonish in her positions."

Substance is looking forward to both cartoons of Russo, the Tribune's bloggers, and how someone in love with Chicago from 800 miles to the east can call out Diane Ravitch. Russo seems miffed that Ravitch has turned the facts against the programs of corporate reform that Russo has propagandized for during the past decade-and-a-half. Sometimes going back over his published nonsense (which includes books written with that Ivy League-know-it-all tone that many of us have become familiar with) Russo proves useful. He's almost a litmus test for the latest school reform fads and heroes (or heroines). But the best way to get a Russo book is for free. Anyone who pays for this gibberish (or the equally irrelevant works by other prognosticators, from Wendy Kopp to Paul Tought) should at least send an equal amount as a donation to Substance.


October 19, 2012 at 6:58 AM

By: J. Whitfield

I hear you.

I hear you Schmidtty. Blogtification.

You've been hangin out with those rappers in your free time Rebel Diaz, practicing that new anthem bout the fight of the Chicago teachers, Chicago teachers. While the dude is up there in NYC gettin off at the Flatbush stop in Brooklyn, tryin to report on Chicago teachers with that Blogtification, but with no sophistication, no sophistication.

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