2019年2月13日 星期三

Zorn: The week's best tweets / Wagging my finger at stores that sell the increasingly dreadful National Enquirer

The week's best columns, reports, tips, referrals and tirades from columnist Eric Zorn.

Chicago Tribune

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February 12, 2019


Eric Zorn's Change of Subject

The new Tweet of the Week poll  is up! My favorite is "Does Superman ever go back to get his clothes, or is Metropolis just full of hobos running around in glasses and Clark Kent outfits?" by @zebrasyndicate.

Last week's winner was "Three conspiracy theorists walk in a bar. You can't tell me that's just coincidence," by @theDRaGnrebOrN

For fans of this feature, I have exciting news – Nearly five years ago, a change in software platforms caused me to move off my old blog, which was a repository of odds and ends, journalistic ephemera and bracing conversations with readers. The Tribune ultimately took down all those old posts. But I'm glad to report that the full archive has been restored and is available for trips down memory lane, particularly earlier iterations of the Tweet of the Week concept, which started as "Fine Lines." Lots of funny stuff there!

The increasingly shameful National Enquirer no longer belongs in our supermarkets

Stores that would never give such prominence to, say Penthouse, fearing the wrath of parents not wishing to have their children corrupted by erotica, cheerfully contribute to the degradation of minds young and old by having them endure a gantlet of journalistic sewage just to pay for their purchases.

Stores that won't sell cigarettes because of their negative health effects proudly sell publications that are a cancer on their communities.

It's not just that the Enquirer serves malignant lies – the Alzheimer's disease, brain cancer, multiple sclerosis, strokes and severe weight gain that it reported afflicted Hillary Clinton as she engaged in her spectacular pre-election crime spree — but that its publisher acts to conceal the truth.

I'm already anticipating readers responding to this by asking how I'd feel if a store refused to sell the Tribune because the owner disagreed with the Tribune's political stances.  My answer will be that it's every store's right to sell whatever periodicals it wants and employ whatever standards it wishes to make that decision. But the analogy is so weak as to be inapplicable. The brief against the Enquirer is that it offends and tramples journalistic conventions by peddling lies and hiding truth, and that's unacceptable for any reason -- profit or politics.


Bill Daley's lame evasion freshens 'ancient' allegations of cheating

What is a fair-minded Chicago voter to make of the strong evidence reported Thursday in the Tribune that current Chicago mayoral candidate Bill Daley received illicit help to pass a state insurance broker's test in 1973?

That was 46 years ago! Talk about bygones.

"At a time when Chicago is facing serious issues around crime, taxes, education and the city's future, the Tribune's focus on ancient history is irrelevant," said a statement from Daley's campaign.

The fair-minded person, the one who wants to be an objective juror in the court of public opinion, uninfluenced either way by feelings about the candidate or the Daley family, squints skeptically at this deflection. Yes, the allegation is old, but it is serious. Where is the refutation, explanation or apology? Where is the counterpoint or clarification that will allow us to decide how relevant this story is to our vote?

The fair-minded person — this fair-minded person, anyway — views the response as a fresh and therefore relevant offense, a bigger mark against him than any shenanigans he was part of nearly half a century ago.

Another fair-minded person — you, perhaps — will have a different verdict. That's fine. As long as we're all trying to apply our principles consistently and honestly.

I've been thinking a lot about fair-mindedness lately, having received some two dozen angry messages from readers in the past several days accusing me of partisan bias and hypocrisy in my assessment of the controversy involving Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The backstory on this column is that it originally started off right about where this excerpt ends – with a review of responses to my coverage of the blackface issue in Virginia. I wanted to respond at some length to the idea that my view of that had been colored, so to speak, by my leanings and to pick at the idea of assessing issues like this in as politically objective a way as possible.

Think, for instance, of all the Republicans who mocked President Barack Obama's use of the TelePrompTer but are perfectly fine, now, whenever President Donald Trump uses it. Or the Republicans who threw 57 fits over Obama's lie about being able to keep your doctor under Obamacare but who now don't care at all that Trump tells 57 lies, minimum, every week.

I wrote it very late into the night Thursday for an early filing Friday morning. But reading it over in the cold light of morning I thought to freshen it and localize it by putting Daley at the top

I was going for aphorism with this line, "All racism is evidence of ignorance. But not all ignorance is evidence of racism," but so far I don't think anyone has alerted Bartlett.

Our unfolding political scandal is timed perfectly for real reform

The mayoral candidates are now all talking about aldermanic privilege -- the time-honored tradition in the City Council that gives aldermen near total control of development, zoning and permitting issues in their wards.

The corrupting effect of such unilateral and seldom-reviewed power has long been obvious to those watching alderman after alderman frog-marched off to prison.

Because of the ongoing political scandal in town involving surreptitious recordings of public officials, the 14 mayoral candidates have been asked to take a stand on this particular entitlement, and nine have vowed to somehow put an end to it.

Elsewhere on the web

•This story --outlined well in Yahoo's Amy Klobuchar, latest presidential candidate, faces questions about temperament, treatment of staff -- looks likely to turn into a column-worthy topic pretty soon. Look for us to discuss it this week on the Mincing Rascals podcast, seeing as how John has spent considerable time in Minnesota.

•Vintage Neil Steinberg -- The tragedy behind those "Falling Ice" signs.

•Slate: I Had a Late-Term Abortion. President Trump and Pro-Lifers Have No Right to Call Me a Murderer

I''m not sure I'll ever understand how incurious some pro-life people seem to be about the reasons people seek abortions...

 I've never encountered a single living example of the theorized monster mother who would decide at 24-plus weeks of pregnancy that she simply doesn't want a seemingly healthy baby, and she doesn't want it enough that she will find a doctor who will stop its heart and induce labor so she can push a dead baby out of her body....

I wish people who react in outrage to late-term abortion, who question how it's allowed or why it's necessary, would pause and listen to some of the answers those of us who have had late-term abortions have provided.

•Frank RIch in New York Magazine: Trump's Big Speech failed at every level   

 It doesn't pass the laugh test that Republicans are condemning Northam while embracing a Republican president who ran on birtherism and nativism, speaks of NFL players as if they are slaves, and routinely (as recently as last night) drums up hate against Latino immigrants and Muslims. It took years for GOP leaders to turn on King, the unabashed neo-Nazi congressman from Iowa, and even so, they stripped him of committee assignments only after he had been reelected in the 2018 midterms.

The same GOP Establishment that purports to be outraged by Northam looks the other way as Republican governors routinely conduct bogus "voter fraud" initiatives and rewrite state election rules to disenfranchise minority voters. Nor did anyone at the top of the GOP complain when the last Republican governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell, broke with recent precedent, and not only declared Confederate History Month in 2010 but left any mention of slavery out of his proclamation.

Mondays at 11:30 a.m. I talk about the news of the day with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder on WGN-AM 720. You can listen on the radio, on the live stream  or via podcast. Here is the page where their audio segments are archived.         

The Mincing Rascals is an award winning news-chat podcast that touches on state local and national news and cultural moments. It usually features some combination of host John Williams, cartoonist Scott Stantis, program hosts Steve Bertrand, Justin Kaufmann and Patti Vasquez, and me. We record Thursday mornings and post in time for the drive home, usually. Find us on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

At the end of the show we give our recommendations for things we're watching, reading, listening to, eating, drinking or otherwise consuming, and we'd like to include listener recommendations. But even if you're not a listener, just a newsletter reader, you can participate by using your phone to record a voice message and upload it to producer Elif Geris, egeris@wgnradio.com.

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