By Jim Vail
Sometimes I get amused thumbing through the facebook postings about interesting stories concerning education.
Unfortunately, in the world of mainstream media that seems to get most people's attention, there are slim pickings in the amusement department.
This latest one comes from one of the best reporters this town has covering our public schools - The Chicago Readers very own Ben Joravsky.
He writes in his last week's column entitled, "Breaking News: Chicago Doesn't Like Rahm Emanuel," that he wanted to "show a little love" for Maggie Haberman, a senior political reporter for Politico, "who's apparently the first national pundit to make the startling discovery that Chicagoans don't like Mayor Rahm Emanuel."
Joravsky writes that Haberman wrote a good story entitled "Rahm Emanuel: D.C. hero/ Chicago goat."
Of course, it's easy to get crazy over the fact that a mainstream news website finally called out Emanuel's perception problems in the second city.
But the story was far from "good."
The Politico article was mostly hyperbole centered on personalities, so lacking in substance that I thought I was reading something in People magazine.
"Now, just nine months out from the next election, Emanuel is unexpectedly vulnerable, with an approval rating that is perilously low," Haberman writes. "The comedown for the Illinois native, who terrified staffers and donors over more than a decade in Washington, has been striking. So has been the contrast between how he's regarded in D.C., New York and Los Angeles - as opposed to some wards of Chicago."
She mentions the obvious facts - his low 29% approval rating, $7 million raised, and quotes his former campaign manager that "the school day is longer, the graduation rate is higher the murder rate is down ... and he sliced the deficit in half."
God, talk about something coming straight out of the HBO show The Wire.
This reporter merely quotes his friends and supporters to give her PR bits about what a great mayor he is.
Then she quotes his enemies who say he's full of #$%.
Well, it's really just one enemy - the Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.
To hell with any type of analysis, or real reporting about what's been happening in this city. Let's just talk to his neighbors to get the real scoop!
In fact, the writer is quite sympathetic to Emanuel, the current darling of the ruling class who needs a little boost.
She writes that some of the problems are out of Rahm's control - he's tried to "ease" crime, and he extended the school day for kindergartners (that's something he's proud of?).
And it's unfortunate he doesn't have a personal fortune like Bloomberg had in NY to tame the opposition.
Politico mentions the time Emanuel swore at Lewis in a closed meeting, which was why the black residents got angry.
Really? Closing their schools was not the main reason?
Well, in all fairness, Haberman does mention the 50 schools closed and building a magent Obama high school on the northside as minuses in the minority points tabulation, toward the end of the article.
But to tell you how totally out of touch this Washington pundit is, she even calls his predecessor Mayor Richard Daley "a beloved figure."
Really? The fact that the city was broke, and then he signed off on the disastrous parking meter privatization fiasco, did not make him beloved to anyone.
He simply controlled the city politics via the ugly machine like any big city boss.
What are Emanuel's real problems, according to Politico?
Why, pensions of course.
No mention of the parking meter fiasco which he rubber stamped after blaming Daley for that.
No mention of Mr. Joravsky's favorite topic TIFs - tax monies going to affluent areas of the city which helps bankrupt the schools, parks and city services.
But of course, a true analysis of the 1% policies that hurt the 99% is not what Politico's about.
It's a mere liberal media elitist online publication like the NY Times, Washington Post or whoever has large circulation numbers, who listen to the billionaire class and occasionally throw a crumb to the beaten down masses by writing such nonsense as this about one of their many puppets in office.