Sun Times Watchdogs pounce on an eight year old story: Sic’ em dogs!


Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic

This dated picture of former Mayor Daley and current State’s Attorney Lisa Alvarez was recently brought to the attention of two Sun Times Watchdogs by “lawyers for the family of David Koschman, who died after the police say Vanecko punched him in the face.”  (Well, shoot, the dogs can’t find every bone in the Koschman story.)

The photo was found on Alvarez’s Facebook page, by the Koschman family lawyers.

The same Watchdogs who posted the photo, also wrote an article entitled “Did Daley nephew Vanecko confess to fatal punch?” that appeared on March 21, 2012.  The news in the article – that Vanecko may have confessed, soon after the event, to hitting Koschman – is attributed to “attorneys for Koschman’s family” who made the assertion “in a court filing Wednesday.”

So, about eight years after the death of David Koschman, the real watchdogs – as in alert canines trained to attack nefarious characters – turn out to be…drum roll…the Koschman lawyers, and not so much the byline Watchdogs.

Awakened to the barking, the Sun Times Watchdogs, trot toward the commotion, arriving on the crime scene, panting, a couple of years short of a human decade later – or, in dog years, 70 years late.

You suppose their tardiness has anything at all to do with having a new mayoral regime, open to exposing the…ah, deficiencies…of the previous one?  Or, the fact that Mayor Emanuel has several campaign finance contributors on the new Sun Times board?

Bow wow.


Besides the Postman Video, Jerome Corsi has another about Obama



Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter & Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic

Illinois PayToPlay has learned that, in addition to the Postman video recently released by Jerome Corsi on World Net Daily, Corsi also holds a 2011 recorded interview with former Rezko associate Daniel T. Frawley.

The recording was made late last year in Chicago in a meeting that involved Corsi, Frawley and three other persons who gathered to discuss the possibility of writing a book.

The recording reportedly includes a description of how, in 2004, during Nadhmi Auchi’s visit to Chicago, Auchi, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, and Barack Obama met in the basement “cigar room” inside Rezko’s 30-room mansion in Wilmette, Illinois where they discussed, among other things, the purchase of a 62-acres plot in the South Loop.

A January 2012 lawsuit pitting a Chicago investor in the land purchase, Semir Sirazi, against Auchi was linked in a previous Illinois PayToPlay article.

In response to an inquiry concerning access to the Frawley video, Corsi confirmed that Auchi’s ’04 Chicago visit was discussed but that the video would only be released with Frawley’s approval.

A recent post on Illinois PayToPlay reported that Frawley claims that he gave Rezko $400,000 in cash that Rezko then gave to Obama.

Frawley faces sentencing in mid-April on a bank fraud charge to which he pled guilty in February 2011.


Sun Times Endorses Obama for President – Ya Want a Mulligan Yet?


Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic

On October 17, 2008 the Chicago Sun Times endorsed Senator Barack Obama for election to the Presidency. Some of the reasons they gave included:

Americans are ready to be one country. By the millions, they yearn to bridge their differences, to find common cause, to rise above ideology, race, class and religion.

They have grown weary of the culture wars and the personal attacks, tired of the exaggerated lines that divide. They dare to imagine a more constructive discourse, a debate marked by civility and respect even in disagreement, a politics that begins with listening to each other, and in Sen. Obama they see a man of exceptional gifts who just might show them how

Our endorsement for president of the United States goes to Sen. Barack Obama, Chicago's adopted son. He has the unique background, superior intellect, sound judgment and first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times.

And also:

Sen. Obama climbed the ladder of Chicago Democratic politics -- from community organizer to state senator to U.S. senator -- while dodging the tag of "machine made." He developed alliances with the old Harold Washington coalition, but also with party stalwarts like State Sen. Emil Jones. He mostly steered clear of unwise political entanglements, and on those rare occasions when he did use poor judgment he grew from the mistake. Specifically, the senator learned the enormous importance of transparency in politics when he was dogged by questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko, the political fixer. When he finally sat down with the Sun-Times Editorial Board and answered every question, the Rezko story lost its steam

Our next president must be a person of steady temperament, superb judgment and compassion. He must stand tall for America, first and always, but be unafraid to listen to the world. He must demand the best in us.

In Barack Obama, we see America's best hope for a president who is right for the times.

So, to summarize, the Editorial Board of the Chicago Sun Times expected Obama to be a President who would:

  • “rise above ideology, race, class and religion”
  • promote “a more constructive discourse, a debate marked by civility and respect even in disagreement, a politics that begins with listening to each other”
  • “stand tall (not bow) for America”
  • display “a first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times”
  • “demand the best in us”
  • be “right for the times”
  • be free of the tag of “machine made” in Chicago

That’s not all the accolades endorsement offered, just some of those supporting their support of Obama – “Chicago’s adopted son”.

All of these assumptions about Senator Obama seem to have been based on the singular accomplishment during his interview with the Editorial Board:  “When he finally sat down with the Sun-Times Editorial Board and answered every question, the Rezko story lost its steam.”  Here’s a pdf of the entire interview.

In order to appreciate the astonishing lack of depth of this “interview”, you must read the entire transcript.  To call it a superficial inquiry is a vast understatement. It was a perfunctory love fest.

It’s clear that the entire exercise was staged to validate an endorsement decision that had already been made.

So, after three years, do you folks sitting around the table above want a Mulligan on your endorsement?  Or, have your expectations been fulfilled?  What say you?


Chicago’s New Media Outperforms Two Old Dying Papers


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.