Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Herald Tribute in Words and Song

posted by Richard Gill

Does the Hyde Park Herald really want to destroy Hyde Park? One might think so, with the way the Herald has a record of shrieking in support for moribund, counterproductive institutions, as it did for the old Co-op.

More to the point, at present, is the Herald's pitiful and ill-spirited attempt to spread paranoia and to demonize the University of Chicago. I am talking about the Herald's treatment of the University's recent land purchases west of Washington Park.

Apparently unwilling to write balanced news on the subject, the Herald has resorted to publishing a biased, one-sided article, complete with screaming front-page headline, but calling it an "editorial." In this "editorial," the Herald does not directly state its position; the paper just writes the article in a one-sided manner. That way, the Herald can take sides in its news coverage, while hiding behind the false label of the editorial.

Take a look at what the Herald did on September 3, 2008. No editorial page was published in the regular edition. That was odd, I thought; the Hyde Park Herald, with no sophomoric opinion page? Then I looked at the Herald Extra, which like the Herald is published weekly on the same dates. Usually, the Extra is a throwaway ad paper. But not on September 3. On the front page is a green banner proclaiming "Herald Editorial." Below that, in three-quarter-inch-high headline type is "U. of C. ad campaign denies secrecy." That's a news headline, not an editorial headline. The article is written totally from the perspective of 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, who purports to dislike the University's purchase of property in the ward "without her knowledge" and "not respecting her authority." (Last I heard, property purchases don't require an alderman's prior knowledge or permission, but that's another topic).

There's no above-board Herald opinion in this September 3 piece; it's all Dowell's opinions and actions: Dowell released, Dowell's charge, Dowell's concern, Dowell expressed anger, Dowell said. If the Herald has a policy position on this issue, they haven't shown the courage to say what it is. It's a lot easier to simply spread fear and loathing.

Why didn't the Herald publish this sorry piece on the front page of the main paper? Maybe that would've been just too far off the sleaze chart. No, better to put it in a supplement like the Extra. Nobody cares about journalistic standards there.....uh right, Herald?

Herald, your September 3 so-called "editorial" was cowardly and sneaky. Herald, old buddy, you've been caught. Busted. You're not even good at yellow journalism.


Andrew Cone said...

I share your frustration with the Hyde Park Herald. Why don't you try to market your blog as a replacement for it? I personally have stopped reading the Herald, preferring to get my local news from blogs like this one.

As a bumper sticker says, "Stop bitching. Start a Revolution."

chicago pop said...

How about, "Keep Bitching, AND Start a Revolution?"

That's kinda what we're shooting for.

edj said...

I was puzzled by the editorial on the front page of the advertising supplement and the absense of an editorial page and letters to the editor. At first I thought that they might have made a mistake in the layout of the paper by forgetting to send in those pages to the printer. Particulalrly since the advertising supplement arrived a day later than usual. What better way to cover up a mistake?

Then I realized that this is just a test for merging the Herald and the supplement into one per and making it the Springfield Shopper. I mean, circulation must be dropping. I, personally, hope to become the food critic, but since the Herald seems to be against anything new in the neighorhood, I'd get one go round the restaurants and then coast.

On another issue, I am appalled at the lack of outcry by people in the neighborhood at the replacement of historic curbs and fences on Lake Shore Drive between 53rd and 55th St. (see photo on page 3 of the Herald). Can we stand idly by as another piece of ou neighborhood's character is savagely lost on the altar of so-called progress? Where's he outrage?

Peter Rossi said...

the good news is that the circulation of the Herald is drifting off toward zero.

the "extra" has greater circulation; that's why.

zgwarnki said...

I think the only thing that keeps the Herald in business is the law firms' money from all the foreclosure ads. Sad, isn't it?