MEDIA WATCH: Mayor asked to 'Walk the Walk' exposing his racist school closings, but only has time for stunts and macho posturing aided and abetted by media propagandists posing as reporters

Once Chicago reporters proudly noted they had been trained under a motto: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out!" By 2013, the motto should have been, "If the mayor says it, make it news!" The decline in news reporting in Chicago since the onset of the corporate assault on news organizations beginning in the 1990s has not abated just because Sam Zell's buddies are no longer telling dirty jokes at the Tribune Tower and Bruce Rauner has divested himself of his ownership stake in the Chicago Sun-Times. The number of men and women professionally reporting the news in Chicago is lowest since Samuel Emery Thomason challenged his former friend Robert McCormick by publishing the Chicago Times as a morning tabloid supporting the New Deal in the 1930s. In those days, written out of Chicago news history, delivery drivers supporting the Roosevelt program had to carry pistols to get their deliveries done, and "The Front Page" barely captured the truth of what reporters did to bring the news to a working class city facing the daily dose of propaganda in the pages of the racist, union busting Chicago Tribune.

But tries continue. After the ill-fated New York Times attempt to establish an outlet for some improved reporting on Chicago and a few less well financed ventures, we've become saddened by the overall decline of reporting in a city that once prided itself on the hard core of its news gathering. About once a year, however, there is hope that someone will establish a newsroom that actually devotes itself to news, rather than "news as ruling class propaganda" (which is currently what most stories in the Sun-Times and Tribune are).

Once upon a time some of Chicago's young reporters (John Kass; Phil Ponce) spoke about reporting to my journalism classes at Amundsen High School. At some point, they discovered that careers in "journalism" in Chicago meant becoming self-important propagandists for the corporate party line. Lat,er some reporters we had trained spoke dramatically of their adventures (Vesna Bozic, in Yugoslavia and Romania) to my reporting classes at Bowen High School, but the decline of reporting in Chicago has been dramatic and sad.

Whereas once reporters were trained in getting the facts and edited to insist that their facts were straight, of late punditry (the Sun-Times, which now had more columnists than reporters) and propagandists as "news" (Tribune; TV news) are the norm in the city that once prided itself on the motto: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Once there was pride among reporters explaining how they learned the hard way to check out every fact, and "If your mother says she loves you, check it out!" Today, with a $50,000 MA in propaganda from Northwestern, they dream not of standing at 3:00 a.m. at a fire on the south side cold and wet, but of sitting smugly in front of the mayor, once again taking dictation on the latest fiction about how "jobs" are being created for Chicago by the mayor's corporate buddies. Every day, an enterprising reporter can photograph them all lined up, notebooks out, while Rahm stands pontificating along side some Fortune 500 CEO, prattling again. And in a pinch, there is always someone from the White House to provide Rahm cover when he engages in a massive racist attack on the city's public schools -- covered always as "reform" made necessary by austerity.

So it was with skepticism that Substance first began following the reporting on the latest hope for reporting in Chicago: DNAinfo. But as the days go on, it's more and more clear that Chicago has a few reporters elbowing their way in among the propagandists infesting Chicago newsrooms today. And one of the coolest stories of late came about the Goat and the Cubs, two perennial Chicago favorites:


Did Rahm Send Severed Goat Head to Wrigley?

April 11, 2013 6:38am | By Mark Konkol, DNAinfo Writer at Large


Mayor Rahm Emanuel has sent intimidating, smelly fish through the mail in the past, but he did not send an "intimidating," maybe smelly, goat's head to Tom Ricketts Wednesday, sources said.

(Flickr/allisonshawnn and Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Someone delivered a severed goat head to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. **

That raises some important questions. Thankfully, DNAinfo Chicago's Wrigleyville bureau chief Serena Dai was on the case.

Was the severed goat's head cooked?

Was it heavy?

Was it stinky?

Cubs spokesman Julian Green late Wednesday refused to "entertain" those questions because he had neither seen, nor weighed, nor sniffed the severed goat head — which police described as an "intimidating package."

Of course, the severed goat head reminds us of the curse that Billy "Billy Goat" Sianis allegedly placed on the Cubs after getting booted from Wrigley Field for bringing a particularly smelly goat as his date to the 1945 World Series.

"Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," Billy Goat said — and the team hasn't been back to a World Series since.

Billy Sianis' nephew, Sam Sianis, has made a few unsuccessful attempts to break the curse by bringing live goats to Wrigley Field.

But ol' Sam doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would hack off a goat head and drop it off at Gate K on Waveland.

So who would do such a thing?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the first guy who comes to mind.

After all, Emanuel is the guy notorious for sending a 2½-foot decomposing fish to a guy who screwed up delivering election poll results.

And, let's face it, the Cubs and the mayor have been involved in some pretty intense negotiations about what to do with crumbling Wrigley Field — and how to pay for it.

A Cubs-imposed "deadline" to cut a deal came and went on Monday — the same day the Cubs blew their home opener. Again.

And earlier Wednesday, as Emanuel introduced first lady Michelle Obama at a luncheon to raise money for Chicago's at-risk youths, news broke that the Cubs want to play nearly double the number of night games and extend the left field bleachers onto Waveland Avenue.

Those are demands that would have to get a thumbs-up from the mayor.

A Chicago Police spokeswoman said the goat head incident is being investigated, but would not comment on whether the mayor was a suspect.

So I sent a text to Sarah Hamilton, the mayor's top spokeswoman at City Hall, to ask if Emanuel was the guy behind the goat head gift to Ricketts.

Hamilton was quick to defend the mayor.

"No," she texted. "It's well known that the mayor only sends dead fish."

** My Chicago disclaimer:

The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of Chicago. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the team's day-to-day operations. No goats or fish were harmed during the writing of this column. But I did have a hot dog. — MK.

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