Michael Miner’s essay “Tribune, Explain Yourself” (12 November) rests on a huge assumption that most perceptive readers do not see in the Tribune editorials in recent years–that at its core there is some sort of intellectual honesty on the Tribune editorial board. For the last four years it is most apparent that the editorial board is making decisions that are not correlated with Republican values and beliefs, but are correlated with merely supporting Republicans because of who they are. Thus it does not matter how much malfeasance the Bush administration has demonstrated in the last four years, the Chicago Tribune will find a way to whitewash every example.
For perfect evidence of this mind-set, check out John McCormick’s op-ed piece from November 9, 2004. McCormick, who is the deputy editor of the editorial page, dismissed as “overt bias” of the press the various revelations of Paul O’Neill (a Republican), Richard Clarke (a Republican), Bob Woodward (based on reportage from Republicans), and CBS. The way the Tribune editorial page handled each of these revelations most assuredly laid the groundwork for their Bush endorsement:
1. Bush did in fact (false CBS documents notwithstanding) blow off the last two years of his national guard obligation, and his superiors let him (which the editorial board chose to ignore).
2. Bush did ignore all warnings of the growing terrorist threat (from Clarke and others) before 9/11 (which the editorial board chose to whitewash).
3. Bush and Rice did lie to the 9/11 commission, but the Chicago Tribune chose to attack the “Democrat partisans” on the congressional investigating committee.
4. Bush did ignore all warnings from Paul O’Neill about his horrendous fiscal policies (which the editorial board chose to whitewash even as it deplored Bush’s fiscal policies).
With such a ridiculous worldview as McCormick’s should anyone be surprised at the Bush endorsement? The Chicago Tribune, no doubt, does not realize that it has completely forfeited its credibility and its page is becoming a laughingstock much like that of the Wall Street Journal, which went bonkers years ago. Miner’s noble essay notwithstanding, the Trib’s editorial decision makers, notably editor Bruce Dold and deputy editor John McCormick, will be utterly perplexed by it. They will not know what there is to explain.