To most Americans, the major city newspaper is a relic of our past…akin to pay phones or jukeboxes or Republicans who didn’t cave to Nancy Pelosi on out of control wasteful spending disguised as “infrastructure.”
Nevetheless, I still cling to newspapers…even as they continue to emulate the dinosaurs who eventually sank into the La Brea tar pits. I like holding the paper, turning the pages, and even getting the ink on my fingers as a throwback to my childhood.
Most newspapers had catchy slogans, like “All The News That’s Fit To Print” (the New York Times) or “Democracy Dies in Darkness” (The Washington Post) or “Covers Dixie Like The Dew” (the Atlanta Journal). But topping them all—on their own masthead—was the Chicago Tribune which billed itself as “The World’s Greatest Newspaper.”
Of course, the “World’s Greatest” image was tarnished slightly when the Tribune raced into print on November 4, 1948 with the most famous front page blunder in modern electoral history: the headline screaming DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.
That “World’s Greatest Newspaper” slogan later disappeared from the front page on December 31, 1976.
Had it not, this week would have prompted its immediate removal, as the 2021 lame version of the Tribune foisted an incendiary and poorly-sourced news item on readers with the headline “Study shows any contact with police may be detrimental to health, well-being of Black youth.”
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that in a city that is already the undisputed Murder Capital Of America (thanks, Lori Lightfoot) and which this week actually saw demonstrators picketing and demanding the removal of the CEO of McDonald’s for the “microaggression” of implying gangbangers may not make good parents…a newspaper throwing gasoline on the “racism” fire is probably the last thing any responsible publication would do. (Especially with 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops being activated 66 miles north in Kenosha in anticipation of civil unrest…more anti-police garbage doesn’t add anything positive to the area’s dialogue.)
But I digress. The entire basis of this article is a “study” printed in September in the Journal Of The American Medical Association’s Pediatrics Review…not exactly a voice of reason. (One JAMA editorial offered this hysterically biased observation: “From historical slave patrols and the enforcement of Black Codes and Jim Crow laws to the more recent War on Drugs and ‘stop and frisk,’ police violence is one of the oldest forms of structural racism in the US. Policing tactics have relied heavily on the use of force to subjugate Black and Hispanic and Latinx communities and uphold white supremacy by enforcing race, class, and other visible and invisible boundaries. To maintain these boundaries, police officers are trained to use strategies that include violence and harm, forcing their subjects to acquiesce.”)
So the Tribune basing a “news article” on a study published in JAMA would be like a rational person basing his/her view of woodland creatures on the ravings of the late overnight AM radio host Art Bell who regularly promoted sightings of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
The Chicago Tribune distills the research of Dr. Monique Jindal, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Chicago… whose work encompassed “qualitative and quantitative data” from 1980 (!) to present day, and concluded—as the headline ballyhoos—that exposure to police from Black youth through age 26 may be detrimental to their health and well-being. Even in instances where officers are providing assistance.
And the “data” also opined that interaction with cops could be associated with poor mental health…substance use…risky sexual behaviors…and impaired safety of Black youth.
I confess I’m not an assistant professor of clinical medicine. And I’m not a Black youth falling in the window between teenager and age 26. So maybe my perspective of this claptrap is a bit skewed. But it seems logical to me that in a city like Chicago where 5-year olds are routinely gunned down by gangs, and where grandparents regularly bury children who are executed by hepped-up thugs who shoot into cars where kids are awaiting a Happy Meal in fast food drive-thru lanes…it is irresponsible and dangerous to suggest to newspaper readers that the greatest danger to the mental and physical health of Black youths comes from the police.
I don’t even blame the professor (she’s just doing what professors are hard-wired to do.) Or JAMA, which I presume is populated by what shock-jock Howard Stern refers to as “guilt ridden whities.”
But for the Chicago Tribune to ignore South Side street gangs AND drug dealers AND fatherlessness AND substandard union-controlled public schools AND an incompetent mayor who actually feeds victim mentality…while printing articles blaming the ills of Black youth on the police force—the thin blue line between safety vs. even more anarchy—is an absolute disgrace that no doubt would have resulted in mass firings when leaders like Col. Robert McCormick ran the paper.
On the plus side, few of the Chicago Tribune’s dozens of remaining readers probably paid much attention to the article anyway. I suspect most of them buy the paper solely for the tire ads and the jumbo crossword puzzle.
R.I.P., “World’s Greatest Newspaper.”