The Media's Role in a Kleptocratic Society | Letters | Chicago Reader

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The Media's Role in a Kleptocratic Society


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To the editors:

In "The Hanania-Santos Affair" [Hot Type, November 8], Michael Miner detailed the events leading up to the dismissal of city hall reporter Ray Hanania from the Chicago Sun-Times. Specifically, Miner charged that the Sun-Times's chief editor, Dennis Britton, axed Hanania because, in Britton's eyes anyway, Hanania had grown too friendly with City Treasurer Miriam Santos. Given Santos' recent high-profile dispute with the mayoral administration of Richard M. Daley over the health of the city's municipal pension funds and her role as an overseer of them, Britton was forced to dump Hanania from the Sun-Times when allegations surfaced that Hanania might be lending some backroom support to Santos, jeopardizing his objectivity as a journalist, and his newspaper's integrity.

So: Hanania is currently out at the Sun-Times; Santos will retain her oversight position on the municipal pension funds; reporter Fran Spielman will continue to file her stories from city hall; Avis LaVelle will remain a top manager of the media image otherwise known as "Mayor Daley"; Richie Daley himself will get to keep playing the role of Chicago's Mayor; the municipal pension funds will continue to be looted as before, the only difference now being that Santos' presence on the oversight board will lend the process a new air of credibility; the "Hey, let's do lunch sometime" attitude among and revolving doors between BIG MONEY, local government, Chicago's top media outlets, and the thousand-and-one "political consultants" who swarm over the local scene like roaches will be entrenched that much deeper; the city's public interest groups, which exist, ostensibly, to blow the whistle on the kleptocratic structure I've just described, will continue to be co-opted out of their underwear; and the dissident end of the political spectrum will win more awards than ever for its failure to recognize what's what, and why.

Oh, yes. And media critics will go right on criticizing the media over the red herrings of journalistic objectivity and editorial integrity, never once realizing that it is the societal function of the media to lie and cheat and cover up in the service of the aforementioned kleptocracy, such that lying and cheating and covering up undesirable truths are actually the height of journalistic objectivity and editorial integrity, or what the media are supposed to do, not violations thereof.

Silly Michael Miner!

Debra Mecher

W. Crystal

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