A Former Chicagoan Remembers The Former Chicago Tribune


December 28, 2004

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We
Misjudged Rex May—but Not NR



Paul Nachman
writes from California:

Re:

  Christmas “wedge issue in the country`s culture wars”—Chicago
Tribune (which hates it!)

The Tribune`s metamorphosis is striking for a
native (though no longer resident) Chicagoan.

During the 1950s, my dad explained the paper`s
politics to this grade-schooler by saying the Trib
didn`t like President Eisenhower "because he`s
not

Republican enough
."

During the 1960s, I was sufficiently sentient to
notice that the Trib, besides

billing itself
, below its nameplate, as the
"World`s Greatest Newspaper"
(incidentally, the

origin of the call letters
of its owned TV station,

WGN
), ran a photo of the "Flag of the Day.”
This was a different American flag, flying somewhere
around the Chicago area, every day.

A brief history of the paper

backs up
my youthful impressions. It says that the
Tribune "was noted for the vigor of its

anticommunism
and attacks on the

New Deal,
surpassing even the

Hearst papers
in virulence."

But by the mid-1970s, the paper actually had one
liberal editorial writer, whom I lobbied to write an
editorial backing full wilderness protection for

Minnesota`s Boundary Waters Canoe Area
.

Given the Tribune`s flinty conservative
reputation, the published piece created somewhat of a
sensation during

hearings about the relevant legislation
before the
House Interior Committee.

In the intervening years, Tribune managers
have apparently managed to completely exorcise the ghost
of

Col. Robert McCormick
, the Trib`s
arch-conservative owner for the second quarter of the
20th Century.


Dave Gorak
is right: the once fierce Trib is
now as goo-goo over the grievances-industrial complex as
the politically-correct rags (LA
Times
,

Newsday
) it`s bought in recent years.