T Dog’s Think Tank: Poker face

Welcome to the Tribune Company stag party with poker, liquor, and smokes galore.

The only things missing were the hookers, drugs, and Lady GaGa performing.

Yes, this what took place at Col. Robert McCormick’s old office (now used as a conference room) at the Tribune Tower in spring 2009 with Court Jester Randy Michaels – who hasn’t found a company he can ruin in the last ten years – partying and getting his groove on. Other Trib execs from the new regime were there as well, including CIO Lee Abrams sitting there gambling the company’s money away while hundreds of people who worked for the company lost their jobs and their pensions over the years.

During the party, detectors were covered with plastic wrap so they can smoke, which is a violation of the city’s fire code (and this being Chicago, they’ll get away with it too, because those “meddling kids” – a.k.a. investigators – are probably going to get paid off.)

And yes, this is the same fools who are getting bonuses from a bankruptcy judge while hundreds of people were laid off from Tribune since Sam Zell took over.

The photos first surfaced on Facebook and later on Robert Feder’s blog Thursday at Vocalo.org. Phil Rosenthal also mentioned the party on his Tower Ticker blog at Chicago Tribune’s website.

Comments on Feder’s blog were mixed, from outrage to who cares (yours truly’s is #86 – nice for Sam – commenter #92 – to equate my take on the matter to the downfall of civilization.)

But what bothers yours truly is the “who cares’ reaction to all this from some – the pictures clearly show what’s wrong with Corporate America. But you wonder if these are the same humanoids who usually turn a blind eye to corruption in Chicago and in state government – which has made Illinois a national laughingstock. And the media business in Chicago is no different – it too is a national laughingstock.

It’s this same indifference that’s made this Comcast-NBC merger go from a impossibility just a few months ago to a near slam-dunk (with a little help from those who have been successful turning the villain from Big Media to Big Government.)

And for those of us who care about stuff like this, we are being dismissed as “whiners”.

Look, we’re not whining. We just want accountability from our media outlets and from the companies who pipe content out to the airwaves, whether its through television, radio, or the internet – the same kind of accountability we expect from our politicians – and for those who work for these companies to be treated fairly – from the camera operators working at a TV station to the writers of a hit network show – and for our communities and the people who live in them to be treated with respect – something our local media outlets (like the Tribune) don’t even bother to do.

For example, Fox-owned WFLD was hit with a lawsuit by a Cook County Judge Friday for defaming him by claiming he was home on a weekday afternoon with his vehicle parking in his driveway. The only problem was, it wasn’t his vehicle and wasn’t even his house! (and you see why they are in last place in the ratings.)

This is one of the reasons why people should care about what goes on in the back offices of those who are in charge of distributing content such as news and information into our homes.

How odd that the Tribune – whose paper constantly talks about how much we should get rid of corruption in Chicago and in Cook County and in Illinois – is corrupt itself? The media tells us about how sleazy politicians are and how we should vote them out of office because of their ethical lapses and yet these same people who run media companies engage in the same sleazy conduct they do. 

And some people don’t have a problem with that?
I guess ethics isn’t important to these people. I guess the real problem of corruption and lack of ethics in Chicago media is not only coming from the politicians – it’s also coming from the humanoids who are calling us “whiners” whenever Comcast or Tribune or Fox does something unethical.

Well, I have one word for them – and it also describes the people currently running the Tribune into the ground: