QOTD | Bleader



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The real Annie Oakley brought 55 libel suits against various newspapers, 54 of which were successful. The Hearst papers were responsible for putting this counterfactual gem into circulation in the first place, and they tried to fight Oakley’s lawsuit by hiring a private dick to dig up some compromising dirt on her. They failed. The Hearst papers were always at the cutting edge of “human interest” journalism. As one Hearst reporter memorably put it, “A Hearst newspaper is like a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.”

The Hope Chest, "Annie Get Your Lawyer"

Not unrelated: Michael Miner asks if the Tribune is going overboard on the U. of I. clout story. What I think: the U. of I. is giving clout a bad name. As Paul Campos puts it:

The only surprising thing about this stuff is that none of these bigwigs (including a law school dean -- apparently she never learned to think like a lawyer) can ever seem to remember that government emails are subject to FOIA requests.

It's not just that; the e-mails are hilariously literal: 

Hurd replied: "Only very high-paying jobs in law firms that are absolutely indifferent to whether the five have passed their law school classes or the Bar."

Hurd's e-mail suggests that students getting the jobs are to be those in the "bottom of the class."

It's not just that Dean Heidi Hurd isn't thinking like a lawyer; she's not thinking like a crooked pol, either. The Blago tapes read like Navajo code-talking in comparison.

Miner's point that private schools pull this sort of stunt all the time is well-taken, and it's at least worth considering the broader argument for legacy/clout admissions - grateful invitees and their parents can underwrite deserving students with their expected generosity, and it can keep channels of communication open for the school and its alumni.

But they're private, and can do whatever the hell they want, and those of us who are not clouted can eat it. The U. of I. is public, and we have the right to demand a different, higher standard, even if it costs us a bit more money.

Plus, I try to think of it as a small piece of a larger puzzle, one that includes the parking-meter blowback, the pressure over 2016, and the seemingly increased interest in the TIF system. Tabloidizing a comparatively simple and less consequential controversy doesn't have to draw attention from other scandals; the exact opposite is possible.


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