Thomas Barton, Investigative Reporter
In an interview with veteran reporter Barbara Hollingsworth, Chicago Tribune reporters John Chase and Jeff Coen revealed that the Feds gave them the tapes and transcripts that the U.S Attorney's office still refuses to share with anyone else.
That begs this question: Why did the Feds give the Trib reporters, and only the Trib reporters, access to this incendiary material?
Here’s our answer: So that Chase and Coen could assure you that there’s "Nothing to hear on these tapes, folks. Move along now."
Consequently, we believe the Trib reporters colluded with the Feds, with the complicity of the Tribune management, in order to dupe you, the public.
We also question why we’ve heard no outrage from Rod Blagojevich or his attorneys. Do you suppose there’s a "back-room deal" to trade Blago's silence for his early-release from prison?
John Chase and Jeff Coen have revealed none of the taped conversations, they say the Feds gave them, that recorded Blago’s conversations with multiple prominent persons in the Washington D.C. halls of power.
To change that, why don’t Chase and Coen start by sharing the Rahm Emanuel-taped conversations with Chicagoans? He is our Mayor, after all.
As this story unfolds, and as the true reasons for Patrick Fitzgerald having been appointed U.S. Attorney Northern District of Illinois become clear, it will also become clear that this level and scope of corruption requires the co-operation of the Chicago media.
The struggle to remain a free people requires an honest "Fourth Estate." And today, Chicago doesn't have one.
Read Hollingsworth's article here: Source of Leaked Transcripts of Blagojevich Tapes
H/T Chicago Daily Observer:
Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief
Kudos to the Chicago Daily Observer for their relentless pursuit of the truth. (Unlike the Tribune Co., which is largely responsible for the prostitution of the dead-tree "Fourth Estate" in Chicago.)
Today, at the Chicago Daily Observer, you’ll find an example of legitimate journalism displayed by Barbara Hollingsworth, as we learn that one of the Blagojevich attorneys has gone on-record stating that Chicago Tribune reporters Jeff Coen and John Chase are lying about having had access to the federal wiretap tapes and transcripts – material that was never made public.
And, furthermore, that the U.S. Attorney's Office was so concerned about the contents of the tapes being leaked, they insisted that the Blagojevich's and their attorneys return all copies of tapes and transcripts back to the government.
Michael Ettinger, one of the defense attorneys for Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, was even blunter: “If Jeff Coen said he listened to the 500 hours of tapes, he's a liar," Ettinger told me in a recent email. “The government wanted all tapes, copies and transcripts returned before [Robert’s case] was dismissed out.” Ettinger added in a follow-up phone conversation with me that, “Rod’s team had to give them back, too. No one kept them.”
Read more of Hollingsworth's article here: Just How Did those “Sealed” Blagojevich Tapes Get to the Tribune Reporters?
Hats off to Barbara Hollingsworth and the Chicago Daily Observer. An honest Fourth Estate is essential to fight corruption and remain a free people.
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
The crime spree that plagued Illinois, and that was boldly brought to a stop by the sudden arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich, is now officially over.
Blago is behind bars, and Patrick Fitzgerald’s mission is complete: Blago joins Rezko in the silence chamber of federal prison where the treasure trove of what they know about Illinois corruption, past and present, has been muted.
Gee, for a war against statewide crime, there sure aren’t many official casualties, except, of course, Illinois’ citizens.
We’ll never know what Blago meant in these audio clips where he talks (in language unsuitable for children) in cryptic terms about the relationship between then U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Antoin “Tony Rezko.”
(Video: H/T Citizen Wells News)
We’ll never know the extent of influence that the international billionaire financier in the photograph wielded over Tony, Blago, and Barack.
And, as soon as the two remaining Rezko Watchers highlighted in a recent piece in the Chicago Daily Observer receive their sentences this spring – unless sentencing is postponed yet again for Daniel Frawley and Daniel Mahru – they, too, will fade into silence, joining Bernard Barton, AKA John Thomas.
In the immortal words of Sonny & Cher…the beat goes on.
Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic
It’s no secret that Chicago’s two major daily newspapers are circling the drain.
According to chicagoist.com, in 2011:
Fewer Chicagoans are getting their fingers stained turning the pages of newspapers. Daily circulation for both the Tribune and Sun-Times for the six-month period ending Sept. 30, [declined] according to numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Tribune's daily circulation fell by 2.7 percent to 425,370, while the Sun-Times' weekday numbers of 236,371 reflected a 7.2 percent drop. There was some good news for the Tribune. Their Sunday circulation numbers rose to 781,128. The Sun-Times' Sunday numbers fell slightly to 233,445.
Compare those numbers with these tallied by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), according to the Tribune, in the not too distant past.
Tribune March to Sept. 05 950,582 (S) 586,122 (M-F)
Tribune March to Sept. 06 937,907 (S) 576,132 (M-F)
Tribune March to Sept. 07 917,868 (S) 559,404 (M-F)
Tribune March to Sept. 08 864,845 (S) 516,032 (M-F)
Sun-Times March to Sept. 05 281,129 (S) 349,968 (M-F)
Sun-Times March to Sept. 06 264,371 (S) 341,448 (M-F)
Sun-Times March to Sept. 07 244,962 (S) 326,018 (M-F)
Sun-Times March to Sept. 08 255,905 (S) 313,176 (M-F)
In the seven years from 2005-2011, the Monday-Friday circulation of the Trib went from 586,122 to 425,370. For the Sun Times, the numbers declined from 349,968 to 236,371. In the old math, that’s a 27% decline in daily circulation for the Trib in the last 7 years, and a 32% decline for the Sun Times.
In short, Chicago’s two major dailies are in a drag race to the cliff.
Causes for their decline abound. People are increasingly looking to the internet for news. TV cable channels have multiplied with outlets offering up-to-the-minute, 24-hour news. Younger generations have grown up with cell phone where they can now read the news while commuting on the train, keeping their fingers clean of ink.
There’s another reason the two big old dailies are dying.
More and more readers are less and less trusting of the veracity of what they read there. Case in point:
During the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election, both Chicago dailies served as shills for the Obama Campaign. The vetting of candidate Obama was powder-puff league quality, rather than hardball major league reporting. Puffery prevailed.
Sure, Chicago’s long been a Democrat Party town, and many Trib and Sun Times readers support the bias. But others, particularly those in the burbs, live where Democrat water doesn’t run as deep as in the City.
For the Fourth Estate, there’s a price to be paid for playing fast-and-loose with the news. Even those in sympathy with a bias, whatever it may be, eventually lose their underlying confidence in a news source the spins the story line, drives a meme, and promotes a political theme.
Let’s say it aloud: The two Chicago dailies helped Senator Barack Obama become President Obama.
The Tribune cooked the news somewhat more so than the Sun Times, but both outlets promoted his election. And as his presidency fails, some of the blame is falling at the feet of the Chicago print media that helped put him in the White House.
Today, if readers want to more fully understand Chicago and national politics they must expand the horizons of their news sources to include Chicago’s New Media.
If the people of Northern Illinois want to stay abreast of stories like the Rezko and Blago trials, they need to visit outlets like the Chicago Daily Observer and Citizen WElls. Both websites are linked in the margin of this website, along with Steve Bartin’s Newsalert, a running, updated compendium of current articles covering a variety of topics of interest, specializing in political corruption. A national pastime these days.
These are the news sources of the future – Chicago’s New Media. For the Old Media is dying a slow, self-inflicted death. And the New is just now being born.
Meanwhile, there will always be homes that welcome the old ink and paper media.