Does the headline of this post look familiar to you? Well, aside from the “again” part.
It should. I wrote this headline five years ago when the Chicago Sun-Times decided to put then-Chicago Bear Greg Olsen on the front page of the newspaper amid the controversy over a rap song he participated in while at the University of Miami, instead of more pressing matters.
Flash forward five years later. Things haven’t changed much at the Sun-Times. In fact, the paper has only gotten worse.
Last Friday’s edition featured Chicago hip-hop star Kanye West and reality TV darling Kim Kardashian and a possible romance.
Wait a minute… this is news?
Other recent front page splashes include the cast of Mob Wives, which is ready to shoot a Chicago edition, and Chicago Bear Matt Forte’s demand for a new contract, instead of the growing furor over the Treyvon Martin shooting.
I guess the Reader Alienation Plan has gone back into effect at The Daily Onion. I guess the paper really improved since the last time I declared it “a disgrace.”
Yep, I’m dusting off the old slogans. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog/website, then you’re familiar with the terms “Reader Alienation Plan” and “The Chicago Daily Onion” – phrases I would use to refer the Sun-Times from 2006 to 2008, when the paper was run by greedy, incompetent buffoons and Jay Mariotti was dominating the sports section with his nonsensical crap.
There was a glimmer of hope when Jim Tyree bought the paper out of bankruptcy, but he died last year. The Pulitzer Prize (I’m trying not to laugh as I type this) -winning paper was then sold to something called Wrapports. Now the paper is run by some idiot named Michael Ferro, who wants to make it “The New York Post of the Midwest”. He does it with screaming headlines in block letters, more gossip, and content that would appeal more to a teenage crowd.
Yeah. That worked out well the first time, didn’t it? Remember when Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun-Times back in 1984 and tried to do exactly that? The effort lasted all of two years as Murdoch sold the paper (due to cross-ownership rules) when he bought the six Metromedia stations (which included WFLD-TV) and formed the basis of the Fox network (Murdoch was allowed to keep WNYW and the New York Post via a waiver.)
Returning to this hair-brained idea is like NBC trying to revive Pink Lady and Jeff.
Don’t you love it when media companies repeat mistakes from the past? The reason why they do because these IQ-deprived execs never learn from their goof-ups (i.e. Jeff Zucker and Ben “Party All The Time” Silverman.)
The mission is simple: Ferro acts like an evil scientist and in his bid for world domination (or at least become the region’s biggest media baron), he is experimenting to see how much celebrity fluff and irrelevant news items he can stuff into the newspaper, so he can turn readers into mindless zombies. His plan is to dumb down Chicagoans (which is incredibly easy to do), so they can only care about who Jennifer Lopez is seeing this week and which cast member of Gossip Girl they would like to sleep with while corrupt politicians continue to fleece our pockets and the quality of life in Chicago continues to decline. Ferro is kind of like Dr. Clayton Forrester from Mystery Science Theater 3000 – but with even less brains. It seems Sun-Times readers are trapped on the Satellite of Love and forced to watch bad B-movies every day- something the paper is rivaling in the quality department. This Ferro idiot needs to board the Enterprise and go back to his home planet.
And let’s not even talk about the numerous mistakes the Chicago Tribune has made during the Sam Zell era. Remember when the editorial page featured a story on Dancing With The Stars? Or how about photoshopping the Philadelphia Flyers’ Chris Pronger into a skirt when the team was playing the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals? The Trib became an embarrassment under the Zell the zip head and Randy “Court Jester” Michaels eras, joining the Sun-Times in that regard.
And now, these two rags want to charge us for Internet access for their equally pathetic websites. In the Sun-Times’ case, when Rev. Pflager makes the front page of the website for complaining about a stupid TV show, you know it’s not even worth paying for. Anyone who is paying for the Sun-Times websites – the constant errors, pop-ups, and all over-the-place advertising – is clearly getting ripped off.
At a time when Chicago’s image is taking an international beating on a daily basis and corruption is overruning the Windy City like a bunch of ants, we need a strong journalistic foundation in this town so serious reporters can ask questions for those are not able to ask in person, and keep politicians and other public officials on their toes. Sad to say this, but thanks to Zell, Michaels, Trib editor Gerould Kern, and new Sun-Times management, a lot of Chicago journalism is now reduced to nothing more than an embarrassment. We now have not one, but TWO newspapers who are disgraces to the Windy City.
I guess tomorrow’s front page of the Sun-Times will feature Justin Bieber partying it up with Selena Gomez and the next day, “breaking news” that Britney Spears has joined The X-Factor as a judge.
At this point, the Sun-Times might as well bring Mariotti back.