Death of respected friend(s)…

August 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm 1 comment

DeeTee From DeeTee: Can I call someone I don’t know, and never even met, a ‘friend’?  Well, it’s my blog, so I can if I want to… 😉

When I went online Wednesday (8/26/09) and read that Senator Edward Kennedy had died, I was greatly saddened.  Yes, he was a flawed man; let the (wo)man among us who is NOT somehow flawed speak now or forever hold his/her peace.  But in his favor:  he fought for causes he believed in; he worked to pass legislation that benefitted Americans from all parties; he worked in bi-partisan fashion in order to do this; he was not a mud-slinging, name-calling modern politician intolerant of all ideas not his own (see “Dear Fellow Republican” post).

From everything I’ve read over the years, Sen. Kennedy battled his inner demons, sometimes winning and sometimes not.  But how fortunate for all of us that he endured despite his imperfections and continued to fight for just causes.  I hope that it’s for this he will be remembered the most.

Can I call a newspaper a respected friend?  Well, why not…

The Chicago Tribune is the paper I’ve considered my respected friend for many, many years.  As a child, it was the Chicago Sun Times; once Rupert Murdoch took over that paper and Mike Royko (my all-time hero) jumped ship to the Trib, I followed suit.

And while I’ve often disagreed with what I’ve perceived as the Trib’s Republican-slanted editorials over the years, I’ve never questioned their integrity as a paper… until last September (2008), but that part will be in a separate post so I don’t overwhelm the reader.

For now, let’s just say that when I returned from a week out-of-town last September, I felt like Rip Van Winkle when, at the airport, I picked up a free copy of the “NEW FORMAT!!” Trib:  screaming headlines, melodramatic photos, large ads — but very little NEWS — how had this happened in the one week I’d been away?

Again, more on this in an upcoming post.  Suffice to say that in one year’s time, the Tribune changed from a well-respected newspaper to an ad-filled, news-empty, sensationalist tabloid.  There are still many columnists and reporters at the Trib whose work I respect, but I have to slug through all the garbage to get to them… and what was once an activity I truly enjoyed — buying and reading the paper — has become something I do reluctantly, out of habit — out of respect for what once was; in my grieving process, I’m stuck in the Anger, Denial, and Bargaining stages — I just don’t want to admit the truth, to call it a day, to pay my respects at the gravesite.

Case in point:  When Michael Jackson died (6/25/09, I believe), I picked up the Trib  the next day and WOW!  It was like the “Michael Jackson Newspaper”!  — as if nothing else newsworthy had happened in the world!  Page after page of MJ coverage.  Page after page that said nothing new, just re-hashed the old so the MJ junkies could maintain their MJ-high.  Yes, it was on all the TV stations, Internet sites, etc. — but I guess I still expected my Trib to report NEWS as well.

Now, back to Senator Kennedy.  I bought the Trib on the day of his death, and there was a large picture on the front page — that’s what they do now, have one picture cover the entire front page, it must save on ink somehow — of Sen. Kennedy’s face, and when I peeled off the “Save big” coupon, underneath it read “‘Liberal lion’ of American politics dies”– with a reference to page 32.

So… I slogged through thirty-odd pages of adds, news “blurbs” — it’s a rare story that’s printed these days — and there it was, on page 32, in the thin “Nation & World” section:  a one-page story on Kennedy’s death.

WOW.  So as not to judge too quickly, I also bought the Thursday (8/27) paper to see if more articles on Kennedy would surface.  Yes:  p. 2, John Kass’s requisite “end of Camelot” take; p. 3, some Twitter quotes;  and in “Nation & World,” four whole pages  containing large pictures and small articles about Sen. Kennedy’s death, impact on policies today, etc. 

Since then, to be fair, there have been other articles and editorials.  Nothing like the MJ coverage, but then again… who’s the greater celebrity?  (Please note the subtle sarcasm:  “celebrity,” not “newsworthy person.”)

And so I mourn a number of deaths this week, and somehow hope the world not only survives, but gets back on track…

Entry filed under: Opinion. Tags: .

‘Dear fellow Republican’…

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