What galled me most about the Times article was the implication that the top execs pull the strings on our political coverage. For the record, no Tribune boss — not Sam Zell, not anyone — has ever told me what to write or not write about politicians.
Yet what most readers have been fixated on is the frat house business. Sorry to disappoint you, but there are no beer bongs or toga parties at the City Desk. Editors don’t do keg stands in the Page 1 meetings.
I told you what the Chicago Tribune is not. Now let me tell you what it is. It’s reporters, photographers and editors, analysts and designers, and others who help us with the work. Our newspaper is just one part of Tribune Co., and what the corporate bosses do is separate from what we do.
Chicago Tribune reporters work in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. They do not blog from mommy’s basement, cutting and pasting what others have reported, while putting it under a cute pen name on the Internet.
Instead, the Tribune’s reporters are out knocking on doors in violent neighborhoods late at night, looking for witnesses after murders. Or they stand in the morgue and talk to the families of the dead. Tribune reporters are not anonymous. They use their own names, put them at the top of their stories and are accountable for what they write.
I’m not a major fan of Kass here in Chicago. He spends entirely too much time getting cute with this “white etnick” act that plays well in racist-infested ‘hoods and generally working his branding. I can’t argue he shouldn’t be doing that, because it’s obviously worked out well for him, but he’s not exactly churning out the Holy Shit columns on a regular basis.
I am a fan of those who work at newspapers standing up and defending themselves from those who like to jaw on about “the media” and make no distinction between genuine and decent reporting and blowhard commentary. Unfortunately, it’s the blowhard commentator making the case here, and doing it in the fashion least likely to convince anybody of the truth of his point.
In the first place, David Carr isn’t writing about Randy Michaels being an asshole from his mother’s basement. He’s doing it from the New York Times offices, presumably. Not all criticism comes from a petty place. Also location has exactly dick to do with merit.
In the second place, this is CHICAGO. You can’t exactly pull the “we’re the decent folks getting bullied” act like a bunch of country bumpkins whose clothes got made fun of on Project Runway. You can’t yell “pick on somebody your own size” when the other guy basically is.
In the third place, this is a nice attempt to change the subject but the point of the entire NYT story wasn’t that your Tribune has fallen from its former glory and nobody loves Flannery O’Conner anymore nor works hard or whatever he’s on about here. The entire point was that these pigs robbed you blind, and instead of being mad at them, you’re mad at the Times for devoting a paragraph to how Randy Michaels is a creepy sex pervert. Because THAT’S what bring shame and dishonor upon you and your fellow hardworking investigative journalists. The penis stuff being in the Times. Yeah.
For the record, no Tribune boss — not Sam Zell, not anyone — has ever told me what to write or not write about politicians.
How nice for you. Attempt to imagine that your experience is not the norm, Mr. Star Columnist. Get outraged about the money being stolen from you and the journalism stolen from your city, and then wonder why you’re the one defending the company and its employees while the people charged with the well-being of TribCo were looking the other way.