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WSI News - WSI Spotlight


Concrete & Credibility
Fall at Cubune

by George Bova

While the rest of baseball contemplates the deeper meaning of yet another silly fight between the Red Sox and Yankees, some real news of a far more significant nature came under the spotlight here in Chicago.  This week it was revealed not one, not two, but at least three chunks of crumbling concrete have been swept up and disposed of underneath the upper deck of Chicago's defacto "shrine" to baseball, the dump the Federal League Whales built for their third-rate operation in a fourth-rate league, Weegham Park, nee Cubs Park, and for three generations of baseball's biggest dumbest bleating sheep, "beeeaut-ful Wrigley Field."

The Urinal is falling apart -- and the Cubs and the Cubune are trying to conceal it.  And where does the concealment start?  Chicagoans now have their answer in black and white:  The delusional quotes of self-denial by the very editor of the Chicago Tribune herself, Ann Marie Lipinski.  It appeared on page 1 of Friday's Cubune.

Oh, for shame what this woman admitted to.

Some of us have a longer memory than Ms. Lipinski would hope her readers possess.  So perhaps she and her outfit  were satisfied that the embarrassing whitewash of this story written by a staff reporter named Gary Washburn would explain away her outfit's organizational bias against journalistic integrity.  She and the delusional clowns who work for her couldn't be more wrong.

It was shocking to read and an embarrassment to Chicago and Chicagoans.  The Chicago Tribune had a staff flunky write an editorial for its main page, even quoting the editor, and pasted it on page 1 as a news story.  The Cubune is persecuted???  Read it for yourself.

Washburn writes, "Most owners go about their business without contacting City Hall when there is a problem, and that usually doesn't create a stir. But most owners don't own an official Chicago landmark that is home to a popular professional sports team, and most do not have corporate links to the city's biggest newspaper." [my emphasis added.]

Ah, so the Cubune is allowed to place thousands of fans at risk of serious injury 81 dates per year, and simultaneously not write headlines about it?  We'll remember that next time Ann Marie Lipinski splashes a giant front-page headline about collapsing porches in Lincoln Park or overcrowded nightclub staircases -- all the fault of Chicago's City Hall, right?

Shame on you, Gary.  You wrote that?  And Ann Marie let you write that?  On page 1???

This is the exact photograph the Cubune editors used in their suburban editions last May to truncate the last several paragraphs of their Wrigley murder story coverage.

A major story for every other news organization in Chicago, Ann Marie Lipinski's outfit buried it in the Metro section below the fold, and shortened their coverage for snail pictures, too.

It gets worse for Gary and Ann Marie.  You see their editorial palming itself off as a news report can't explain away why this isn't the first time Lipinski's outfit has pulled the same stunt.  The falling concrete story isn't an isolated incident demonstrating the organizational bias of the Cubune.  Last Wednesday night and Thursday morning every other major news organization in Chicago covered this as a major story, all except the Cubune.  Instead the Cubune editors, the flunkies in Ann Marie Lipinski's outfit, buried the story on page 3 of their Metro section.  Their laughable headline had nothing to do with the story itself, falling concrete on top of where thousands sit all summer.  Instead their staff reporter, Gary Washburn (yes, the same Gary Washburn who wrote the aforementioned page 1 piece), wrote a "news story" about the mayor not saying anything about minority contracts.  Read it for yourself.

Cubune headline:  "Daley mum on minority pact.
Sub-headline:  "
But mayor scolds Tribune over Wrigley coverage."

Does this sound familiar?  To journalists across the nation it ought to.  The senior editors at the New York Times took major flak from journalists and editors across the country for making up similar stories regarding the Augusta National Golf Club.  The club's lack of comment became news?  Plagiarist Jayson Blair finally took down these same editors for the unscrupulous manner they tarnished the news reporting reputation of that publication. 

Meanwhile Gary and Ann Marie just spin it.  But they're not fooling anyone.  We only need to go back two months to find another sterling example of the same organizational bias from Ann Marie's outfit.  In early-May a Cubs fan was murdered across the street from the Cubune's ballpark.  He was killed after attending that game, crossing the street at Clark & Addison, home to the Lovable Losers the Cubune owns.  This was the lead story for every news organization in Chicago, but the Cubune and its editors -- that's Ann Marie's outfit -- ran it in their Metro section, below the fold.  The editors even truncated their suburban edition's coverage, choosing to run a picture story about giant snails on page 7 rather than complete the story their internet edition used.

What will happen to Gary Washburn for being so clueless as to miss the central point of a major Chicago story, not once but twice?  Not a single thing, of course.  Ann Marie Lipinski gives the entire world the answer in the quotes Gary himself got.  Read it for yourself.

"Chicago Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski said, 'Any suggestion that the Chicago Tribune does not report on Tribune Co. or its various businesses, including the Cubs, is belied by the facts.'"

Giant Snail
The same picture is now regularly invoked by message board users at White Sox Interactive for examples of media bias in general.  Visit the WSI boards and see if you can find it.

Here are the facts, Ann Marie.  The people who own your paper, and sign your paycheck and mail  you all those equity shares,  placed you in an impossible position to fairly report the news in and around Wrigley Field.  None of the statements of denial you and the flunkies who work for you explain away why the Cubune newspaper is a day late and a donut short in its coverage of scandal there.  You're deluding yourself, and worse you're permitting the delusions of organizational flunkies like Gary Washburn to remain unchecked.  You and your outfit are in a dream world to think any of your actions on either of these stories would pass the smell test for organizational bias.

More facts.  Nothing above would be a concern if not for what you yourself were quoted as saying.  You don't see your bias, so you deny your bias.  Thus the rest of Chicago, including the editors of every other major news organization in Chicago, can only call you on your bias.  We know their sentiments because how they covered the falling concrete and murder stories at Wrigley are completely counter to how your outfit has treated them.

You're the problem, Ann Marie.  Gary is just your stooge, doubtlessly only one of hundreds you mistakenly trust to report the news fairly at the Chicago Tribune.  Together you've embarrassed Chicago and Chicagoans who give a damn about fair, accurate, and unbiased reporting. 

Ann Marie, if you had any shame you would resign.

If you had any integrity, you would issue a statement declaring how you're coming to grips with the organizational bias inside your outfit. 

If you don't give a damn, you'll do exactly what you've done so far... nothing except claim holy innocence.

And for this Ann Marie, you ought to be fired. 

As editor of White Sox Interactive, I'm very upfront about my personal bias and the bias of everyone who works for our humble unpaid organization.  We even put a statement about our bias on every single page.  As editor what excuse can you make for yourself, Ann Marie?

Just don't go looking for your next job at the New York Times.  They aren't hiring your type.  At least not anymore.

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at

More features from George Bova here!

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