MEDIA WATCH: How can you oppose 'guns' and 'violence' for decades and not notice the drug gangs on the blocks around St. Sabina's?... Let's take a hard look at the Pfleger Pflag Pflap and the media and Hollywood hacks who promote his phony hero narrative...

Whether anyone believes that Chicago's media hound Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleger, really "forgot" and had the Chi-Raq flag flying at full staff when he had his staff lower the American flag to half staff, there should at least have been a bit more reportorial skepticism when Pfleger tried to dodge critics by claiming that he had "forgotten" the Chi-Raq flag was still up. As usual, Pfleger blamed it all on someone else -- in this case an "maintenance error." Within a few days, he tried to squirt a little squid like ink into everyone's face by claiming that Chicago cops were picking on his parishioners by writing tickets when they parked illegally.

Only in the Hollywood on the Lake versions of reality could these things have become "news." And it's possible that the reasons behind the skirmishes are a bit unclear to most reporters, whose version of reality is like their appreciation of unicorns: Pfleger = GOOD. Others = BAD!

Asking critical questions of some of the more lurid versions of Chicago reality is still nearly impossible for some of the pundits who dominate the media world in "Chicagoland" nowadays. But it's possible that a new generation of reporters will ask how Pfleger and his line have been at this "anti-gun" and "anti-violence" stuff for decades -- yes, decades -- and things have only gotten worse, not only in a large swath of Chicago, but also in the blocks within a mile of St. Sabina's. Could it be that Pfleger's media-whore versions of reality are not the answer to the massacres being carried out by Chicago's massive and stronger-than-ever drug gangs?

And with Pfleger facing an audience at St. Barnabas a few miles from St. Sabina's in a few weeks, it will be interesting to read, see, and hear how the game is played out far south. Most people in Chicago are getting tired of hearing that "racism" is behind all bad things, especially when most of the young black men who are being murdered regularly in Chicago are being murdered by other young black men, most of whom are in drug gangs. Not by "gun violence" in the abstract, or "racism" in a kind of generalized way.

Flash back to years ago, when Substance began covering the Pfleger show. One afternoon, I went down to St. Sabina's to photograph the church, the school, and, as I discovered, all the patronage that was then flowing from City Hall into the place. Just about every door on the east side of the building complex had a sign announcing that it housed a certain program paid for with tax dollars.

Flying the Hollywood flag above the American flag at St. Sabina's on Chicago's South Side. The relentless publicity stunts by Father Michael Pfleger have been supported by Chicago's mayors and most of the city's corporate media reporters, while no one has demanded to know why the drug gangs operate boldly within a few blocks of Pfleger's church and school. ABC News Chicago photo.So I went along the building taking photographs. I wasn't working more than five minutes when a well dressed guy emerged from the building and said I couldn't take photographs. I told him that was nonsense on two levels: I was photographing from a public sidewalk and street, and I was photographing obvious news -- the fact that St. Sabina's had many public contracts. Then I asked to interview the guy, who ran -- literally -- back into the complex and was never seen again.

A few years later, press people were summoned to a "walk through" down that way. We were told that the Mayor and the schools chief were going to go house to house to encourage children to show up for school in the very first day, etc., etc., etc. When we assembled a couple of blocks west of St. Sabina's, Rosalind Rossi, then the Sun-Times education reporter, got a cell phone call, telling her (and I assume selected others) that the media event was actually on the block adjacent to St. Sabina's.

Sure enough, when we got to the real site of the event, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was lined up with Father Pfleger to walk up one block knocking on doors asking families to send their children to school from the very first day. Pfleger positioned himself in every shot near Emanuel, as I reported at the time.

Anyone who believes that any media event at or near St. Sabina's is an "accident" hasn't been following the media hound around the past decade or three. Just as anyone who believed that all that huffing and puffing about "violence" and the need for "gun control" will ever have an impact is, well, smoking something that makes a profit for the gangs out there.

From the beginning of his first term as Mayor of Chicago in the summer of 2011, Rahm Emanuel was careful to make sure that media events included as many minority people as possible when the TV cameras were on. Above, Emanuel was helped by St. Sabina's pastor Rev. Michael Pfleger in a "back to school" walk around the adjacent blocks, followed by a small army of reporters and TV cameras. Substance was the only news organization that asked why Emanuel was promoting the "public" schools' opening day while ignoring the teachers, principals and children of the city's real public schools and holding a media event in front of St. Sabina's Catholic School (above). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The Pfleger Pflag Pflap is just another bit of publicity stunting out at St. Sabina's. So here below I'll share a few of the "news" articles that resulted from the flag act.

People Care More About An American Flag Than Murdered Chicagoans: Pfleger

By Andrea V. Watson | February 4, 2016 1:24pm AUBURN GRESHAM This week, people from across the country slammed the Rev. Michael Pfleger on social media after a Chi-Raq flag was spotted above a U.S. flag at his St. Sabina Church on the South Side. On Thursday, some veterans on motorcycles even showed up outside the church at 1210 W. 78th Place to protest the flag's placement, and complaint calls have been pouring in to the church.

While critics accused Pfleger of being "a disgrace," Pfleger was baffled at the response and said the placement of the flags was simply a maintenance mistake. "Couple days ago I asked the maintenance guy to put the American flag up and put it at half-staff because we're mourning the violence and the loss of life here in Chicago," Pfleger told DNAinfo Chicago.

Pfleger said he didn't realize the Chi-Raq flag from the Spike Lee Movie, which had been hanging since November, was still up.

When he started getting calls about it, the Chi-Raq flag was removed. A maintenance worker took it down Thursday and put up the American flag while protesters watched. When the worker accidentally raised the U.S. flag upside down, people began taking photos and sharing them online saying that the flag was upside down. It was corrected immediately.

Though Pfleger said the whole thing was a misunderstanding, he said the outrage about the flag flap bothered him. "I guess what really concerns me most is, we got literally between last night and today, hundreds of calls about this and emails about the position of the American flag," Pfleger said.

"We're more obsessed, angry and outraged about the position of a flag than Chicago being the poster board for violence and 51 people killed, and a total of nearly 300 shot during the month of January," he said.

"Where were the people calling out outraged about that? Where were the people calling saying 'we have to do something, you have to change this, we got to stop this.' No. What about the violence? I'm glad it all happened because it proved to me once again what really is important to people," said Pfleger.

Pfleger was inundated with Facebook messages about the flag Thursday.

Pfleger mentioned the American tradition of flying the flag half-staff to "mourn the tragedy of death," but federal law states that only the president has full flag-lowering powers, and governors can also proclaim that the flag be lowered "upon the death of principal figures of the United States government and the governor of a state, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory." These rules are a part of the country's Flag Code, but enforcement has been ruled unconstitutional.

Though Pfleger removed the Chi-Raq flag, the U.S. flag continued to be half-staff Thursday afternoon, and the outspoken anti-violence activist said he has no intention of changing it. "Now many people are calling upset about that," Pfleger said. "I couldn't care less if they're upset about that. This is a national tragedy. There is an emergency going on in this city. It's really disheartening to me that we're at a place in this country where we have more allegiance to a flag than life. It's just sad, but I can get a huge response. ... What's more valuable to us? Flag or life?"


Pfleger Says Churchgoers Were Ticketed by Officer Who Doesn't Like Him

By Evan F. Moore | February 8, 2016 8:49am AUBURN GRESHAM The Rev. Michael Pfleger isn't afraid to speak his mind, even if it offends people. This weekend, however, churchgoers at his St. Sabina Church on the South Side were hit with a slew of parking tickets and he said he thinks they were targeted by a Chicago Police officer who doesn't like what he has to say. The Catholic priest and anti-violence activist shared this on Facebook Sunday:

The Chicago Police Department said only two parking tickets were given Sunday, around 12:30 p.m. near St. Sabina. One was for parking in a crosswalk and another for parking in a no parking zone, said Officer Nicole Trainor, a Police Department spokeswoman.

Pfleger showed DNAinfo Chicago two of the tickets his parishioners received last week. Both were for parking 30 feet from a stop sign. Pfleger said that the officer who wrote the tickets is a member of the Gresham District tactical unit.

According to the Police Department's website, tactical officers wear plain clothes and concentrate on "vice and narcotics arrests."

"I've never heard of that in my life. It was the same officer both days," Pfleger said. "Why is it the same officer? Same officer. Two days in a row. I would think a tactical unit guy would have better things to do."

Pfleger said that he knows of at least six other tickets. He also said that one of the people ticketed is the son of a police officer. "I don't know if this is something personal with me. All I've been saying is that if it is personal with me, come to talk me," Pfleger said. "Don't take it out on my parishioners on Sunday morning during church."

Last week, Pfleger was slammed on social media and by protesters after a U.S. flag at the church was lowered beneath a "Chi-Raq" flag from the Spike Lee movie Pfleger served as a consultant on. Pfleger said the flag flap was a miscommunication with the church maintenance crew, but continued to fly the flag at half-staff, saying "We're mourning the violence and the loss of life here in Chicago." Another Pfleger controversy has brewing been in Beverly, where he was asked to be part of a panel about ending violence on Feb. 27 in Chicago at St. Barnabas parish. Many people from the Beverly area, where many city police officers live, consider Pfleger to be anti-police, and are furious that he's coming to their church. "Am I hard on the police? No, I am hard on bad police," said Pfleger.


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