Thursday, January 31, 2008

Historic Chicago black newspaper reverting to a weekly

You might be able to compile a list of newspapers that have transformed society more than the Chicago Defender, but if you do, that list will certainly be a short one.

The historic black paper was founded in 1905 as a weekly, it became a daily in 1956. Lately it's been producing four editions a week. On February 13, the Defender will return to being a weekly.

The first publishers of the Defender, like the bloggers of today, didn't like how the mainstream media, which consisted only of newspapers then, were covering the news. So they decided to have a crack at it themselves.

PBS explains the history of the paper:

The Chicago Defender's local circulation soon surpassed that of the three rival papers that existed in the Chicago area at that time: The Broad Ax, The Illinois Idea, and The Conservator. The newspaper was read extensively in the South. Black Pullman porters and entertainers were used to distribute the paper across the Mason/Dixon line. The paper was smuggled into the south because white distributors refused to circulate The Defender and many groups such as the Klu Klux Klan tried to confiscate it or threatened its readers. The Defender was passed from person to person, and read aloud in barbershops and churches. It is estimated that at its height each paper sold was read by four to five African Americans, putting its readership at over 500,000 people each week. The Chicago Defender was the first black newspaper to have a circulation over 100,000, the first to have a health column, and the first to have a full page of comic strips.

During World War I The Chicago Defender waged its most aggressive (and successful) campaign in support of "The Great Migration" movement. This movement resulted in over one and a half million southern blacks migrating to the North between 1915-1925. The Defender spoke of the hazards of remaining in the overtly segregated south and lauded life in the North. Job listings and train schedules were posted to facilitate the relocation. The Defender also used editorials, cartoons, and articles with blazing headlines to attract attention to the movement, and even went so far as to declare May 15, 1917 the date of the "Great Northern Drive." The Defender's support of the movement, caused southern readers to migrate to the North in record numbers. At least 110,000 came to Chicago alone between 1916-1918, nearly tripling the city's black population.

Related posts:

Cincinnati Post publishes final edition on New Year's Eve

Chicago Sun-Times in trouble

Technorati tags:

Eric Zorn on Obama and Rezko

Defying almost all preditions by the experts, who are often wrong, the name Tony Rezko did not come up tonight's CNN debate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. But the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn adds his thoughts on the Tony Rezko story in his Change of Subject Blog.

Zorn went through some old Trib stories, and posts excerpts from some of the more important ones. The first of which dates back nine days before his storied keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The affirmatative action scam Rezko was involved in, something that as far as I know has been overlooked by the national media, doesn't escape Zorn's notice.

Here's what Obama said about Rezko eight days ago:

Well, my relationship is [that Tony Rezko] was somebody who I knew and had been a supporter for many years. He was somebody who had supported a wide range of candidates all throughout Illinois. Nobody had an inkling that he was involved in any problems... CBS "Early Show" Jan. 23

Nobody had any indications that [Rezko] was engaging in wrongdoing... Barack Obama on ABC's "Good Morning America" Jan. 23

In his today's Tribune column, Zorn adds more. Who's to blame that the Rezko story is still dogging Obama 15 months after the Tribune broke the news on the 2005 property deals?

Well, it's the junior senator from Illinois.

Local news organizations began exploring all the intricacies of Obama's long-term relationship with the shady moneyman and putting to the test Obama’s early claim, "[Rezko] never asked me for anything. I’ve never done any favors for him."

Nothing significant has surfaced to contradict the essence of that claim or prove Obama acted unethically. But journalists are still looking because they're not satisfied that they have the full story.

And that's Obama's fault. At some point early in his campaign for the White House, he apparently decided he'd said all he wanted to say and all there was to say about his dealings with Rezko. He would not grant follow-up interviews on the subject to investigative reporters, and his staff provided written and often inadequate responses to written questions.


His failure to have done this for 15 months doesn’t speak to a guilty conscience so much as it speaks to dubious crisis-management skills.

And as a reward for reading this far, here is the Chicago Tribune story that started it all, Rezko owns vacant lot next to Obama's home.

When I opened the front door of my home and picked up the paper that day, I gave out a sustained, "Whoah!" I knew this would be big trouble for Obama.

Related post:

Why Rezko is an issue for Obama

Technorati tags:

First they came for The Three Little Pigs...

Friend-of-the-blog Pam Meister will be writing columns about once a week for Pajamas Media, she blogs regularly at Blogmeister USA.

Pam confronts the latest politically-correct goofiness from Great Britain: An updated version of The Three Little Pigs has been denied an award because "the use of pigs raises cultural issues." They're afraid of offending Muslims.

Is it possible to kill this fable, one that has, by the way, a valuable lesson for children? The moral of the tale is that slipshod work and avoiding confronting problems, as the straw-pig and the sticks-pig did, leads to unpleasant consequences.

Wait, that's what the PC Brits are doing!

Meanwhile, the Dr. Rowan Williamson, Archbishop of Canterbury, is calling for new laws "that would punish 'thoughtless and cruel' styles of speaking."

Technorati tags:

Rezko accepts one week trial delay

Earlier today U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve offered a trial delay to the defense team of jailed-political insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko. His lawyers lost a few days of preparation for the trial, which had been scheduled to bein on February 25, as they worked to keep the alleged-fixer out of the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

The attorneys, who wanted the trial delayed several months only a few weeks ago, told the judge this morning they now wanted it to start sooner.

Tony mustn't like jail.

But this afternoon, the accepted St. Eve's offer, the Rezko corruption trial will begin on March 3.

Free registration may be required for the Chicago Tribune link.

Technorati tags:

January snowstorm hits Midwest

That's what Lincoln Avenue in Morton Grove looked like a few minutes ago as a major snowstorm rips through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Forecasters are calling for up to 12 inches of snow by tomorrow. The storm ruined the Marathon Pundit family's plans for the evening--Little MP was to peform in a school play today--but the show was postponed because of the bad weather.

Technorati tags:

Orwell's Winston Smith at work on Rezko?

Winston Smith was the sad bureucrat in George Orwell's dystopian 1984, whose job was to erase all facts not viewed as favorable to the Party in the dictatorship of Oceania.

Maneuvers such as the once alleged by Raw Story would seem familar to Smith:

The controversial Iraq-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi visited the state of Illinois in 2004 at the behest of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, the businessman and political player who helped raise money for Senator Barack Obama's early political campaigns. During the visit, Auchi met with the state's Democratic Governor, Rod Blagojevich, and other political figures. In what appears to be a clumsy "cleanup" operation, evidence of Auchi's visit to Illinois has now been deleted from two websites linked to his company, General Mediterranean Holding.

Auchi is no stranger to controversy but has been back in the news in recent weeks because of Rezko's pending prosecution on fraud and extortion charges. When federal authorities learned of a $3.5 million wire transfer from Auchi's company to Rezko's law firm, they sent the long-time friend of Senator Obama back to jail for violating the terms of his bail. Rezko's prosecution is scheduled to begin in late February.

After rumors began circulating that Auchi may have met with Obama, information was deleted from two websites connected to Auchi's company about a spring 2004 visit to the United States that occurred as Obama was campaigning to be Illinois' junior senator.

On Tuesday, ABC News first reported the existence of photos showing Auchi meeting with Gov. Blagojevich on the website Middle East Online. The link on the website that the report pointed to, which said that "businessmen, and congressmen" also met with Auchi, is now gone.

Other photos from the 2004 viist by Auchi, including one with Blagojevich, can be found here.

Hat tip to Reverse Spin.

Technorati tags: