The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The South Side Sun-Times?

Here's wishing the best of success to Cheryl L. Reed, the new Chicago Sun-Times editorial page editor. I have something of an interest in the fate the paper's commentary section, having served under four editorial page editors at the Sun-Times over a 12-year-span. I also wish her the best in taking the commentary section into a new direction, one that she says will be passionate liberal. Reclaiming its historic, liberal past is a suggestion I made with another editorial board member more than a decade ago. It didn't fly. It wasn't my first suggestion that didn't.

Some folks will doubt that I ever made the suggestion because of my conservative views, and that's fine. When I joined the board in 1986, I was a liberal, but for reasons to tedious to go into here I switched sides. It had nothing to do with who owned the paper, and--this needs to be said loudly--nor did much of the newspaper's day-to-day editorial policy.

It has become standard wisdom to say that the paper's owners, after its sale to Rupert Murdoch in 1984, was turned into a conservative newspaper. The assumption is made mostly by people who don't know what they're talking about. Whatever the perceived shift , it was the function of who was serving on the board. And while a number of board members were conservatives, many also were liberal. Indeed, some of them would be insulted to be called conservative

Board members always prided themselves on approaching each issue separately and taking a position based on its merits. It put us somewhere in the political middle and to the right of the board headed by well-respected Lois Wille in the day's before the Field brothers betrayed their heritage by selling the paper. On some issues, we took conservative positions; on others liberal. So, I still grate when I hear the paper's editorial page routinely called conservative.

The point here? I'm asking for fairness for all those editors, deputy editors and editorial writers who did their jobs conscientiously and honestly; they don't deserved to be labeled, or to be defamed with the conservative tag. And I sincerely hope that Reed extends to the new board members, who she says will be more reflective of the city's population, the same respect and freedom that I and my co-workers were granted by our editors. Among them was Steve Huntley, one of the most decent persons I know, who has moved along from editorial page editor to be a featured columnist. I know that Steve will bring distinction to the paper.

I have just one nit to pick: In a piece on the direction of the newspaper, Reed said:

Chicagoans, whether they drive a Mercedes or a rust heap, identify with hard work and hard workers. Many have risen from Chicago's middle class bungalows to lake-view condos but still root for the underdog Cubs or the South Side Sox. Being in the Midwest -- that whole Second City thing -- makes us all underdogs. [Emphasis added.]
I believe it wasn't an intentional slight. But if she was looking for descriptive for the Sox, she could have referred to them as the city's last World Champions. She needs to know that it's the Chicago White Sox, if she wishes her section to be viewed by the city's blue collar, working-class folks as one of them, or as their spokesman. After all, it's not the North Side Cubs or the South Side Museum of Science and Industry, the South Side Soldier Field or the University of South Side Chicago.

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