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Tribune compares video poker legalization to September 11th attack

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009

* The Chicago Tribune editorial board apparently has no decency left whatsoever. It has now stooped to the level of cracking very bad 9/11 jokes…

As part of their ham-handedness, the lawmakers stuck the Gaming Board staff with only a 60-day window — cynics note that it ends Sept. 11, a date associated with disaster — for producing the regulations to govern this big new industry.

What was this horrific outrage that the Tribune equated with one of the greatest tragedies in US history?

Video gaming.

Yes, video gaming.

Today’s editorial is a long, strident, breathless slam on legalized, limited and taxed video gaming. It’s chock full of phrases that would make nutballs like Alan Keyes smile with approval.

The Tribune continued its 9/11 attack theme today by claiming that video gaming is “invading” the state. That hysterical statement completely ignores the fact that almost totally unregulated, mostly untaxed video poker machines already crowd the Illinois landscape today, and pay out illegally.

And a newspaper which has consistently opposed making state laws via public referenda now whines that no public referenda was held on video gaming…

In mid-July, Gov. Pat Quinn — who as lieutenant governor called for a public referendum on a proposed expansion of gambling in Illinois — signed the capital bill and its gambling provision into law. A public referendum? No dice.

The problem with the Tribune since they were implicated in the Rod Blagojevich scandal is that the editorial page has begun to use campaign rhetoric rather than reasoned debate. So, we get things like the over the top comparisons of an admittedly botched attempt to regulate video poker to September 11th and that favorite word of politicians everywhere: “Invasion.”

Leave the campaign spin to politicans. And for crying out loud, leave September 11th out of stuff like this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:30 am:

    I’m guessing some time after Zell took over, some directive came down from the Tower’s sanctum sanctorum that the media properties were “boring” and had to get more “edgy.”

    In this journalism job market, if the boss wants edgy, you deliver crazy.

    You can hear a new stridency, too, on WGN radio, which in the past I’d always found to be a sure-fire cure for insomnia.

    Still, they had a pretty good bit a few weeks ago in the runup to Lollapalooza. Good old Orion Samuelson would recite the lyrics to a song, and you had to guess which Lollapalooza band did the tune.

  2. - MrJM - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:34 am:


    Simply grotesque.

  3. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    One day it’s chicken the next day it’s feathers.

    One day the trib editorial board loves pat quinn and thinks he can do no wrong and is super fabulous(e.g., U of I trustees), the next day it hates him again (e.g., video poker, ethics reforms, budgeting, leadership etc)

    After watching Bruce Dold, of the Tribune editorial board, in his performance on last Friday’s broadcast of Chicago Tonight: the Week in Review, I have laugh at the Tribune Editorial Board and moving foward wonder if I want to take it seriously anymore. Dold was bit disengeuous on Friday, and I found it disturbing.

  4. - downstate hick - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:35 am:


    Couldn’t agree with you more. The use of September 11th, in any politic or policy argument is outrageous and should be condemned. Bravo for you.

  5. - Scooby - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:42 am:

    Actually they’re not comparing video poker to 9/11, they’re comparing regulation to 9/11, which is actually worse. Can death panels be far behind?

  6. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:46 am:

    It may be time for a new corollary to Godwin’s Law, or whatever the rule is about invoking the Nazis — first person to bring up 9/11 in a discussion not directly related to terrorism or security issues automatically loses the argument.

  7. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    Can death panels be far behind?

    It was pulled after a Facebook posting. The VA Book is also being pulled.

    It actually wouldn’t have been a panel exactly - it was going to be a video poker game.

  8. - Speaking at Will - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:22 pm:

    Ok, I realize several things.

    1) this is Rich Miller’s blog, he can post / write / comment / in any fashion he pleases here.

    2) The Tribune isnt perfect and needs to be called out from time to time.

    However… the constant Trib bashing around here seems excessive. I know your a Sun Times guy Rich, but does it have to be a daily ritual?

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===I know your a Sun Times guy Rich, but does it have to be a daily ritual? ===

    I write two columns a month for that paper. It doesn’t make me a Sun-Times guy. I’m nobody’s guy.

    To your other point, the Tribune prides itself on being the leading paper in the state. As I wrote yesterday, its editorials are watched closely by just about every newspaper editor and politician in the state. Therefore, when they go totally nutso, somebody needs to say something. And if they do it every day, then I will say something.

    Powerful institutions need checks, and it’s far too rare in this state that the Trib’s hugely powerful edit board is called out.

    Plus, if they’re gonna write like a buncha goofy politicians, then they’ve made themselves easy marks. Be assured, I’d do the same for a major political candidate who talked the way they do.

    Also, I hardly think that pointing out the extreme excesses of the Trib’s editorial today qualifies as “bashing.”

  10. - Mr. Chips - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:28 pm:

    After the Trib criticized the Streamlined Sales Tax as it applies to candy a few days ago, I am not suprized that they make fun of another way to raise revenue. It is the Trib’s new populist approach to sell papers.
    The nationwide Streamlined Sales Tax would result in $400 million new revenue to Illinois.
    The video poker legalization, while complicated, will bring in lost revenue to illegal gaming in bars.

  11. - Speaking at Will - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    Fair enough Rich. Your points are well taken.

  12. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:55 pm:

    Looks like Capt Fax blocked a comment, but here is another item
    Speaking of media dopes….
    Mr. Dreamey, Aaron Schock, caught Dem opponent yesterday. Carl Ray’s presser was held near the PJS HQ….they gave Carl the old black out while Bernie wrote a nice piece for the SJR….too bad Peoria did not pick it up — at least on the web.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    It may be time for a new corollary to Godwin’s Law,

    Let’s call it Secret Square’s Theorum.

  14. - Chi Gal - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    === Plus, if they’re gonna write like a buncha goofy politicians, then they’ve made themselves easy marks. Be assured, I’d do the same for a major political candidate who talked the way they do. ===

    But what about the Sun Times?

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    Chi Gal, if the CS-T ever equates something relatively minor like legalized video poker with 9/11, be assured that I will pounce.

  16. - sal-says - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 2:30 pm:

    “equated”, Rich?

    Unfortunately, have to agree with “Speaking at Will”; email re: topic will follow.

  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===have to agree with “Speaking at Will”===

    Me too.

    —Speaking at Will - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 12:35 pm

    Fair enough Rich. Your points are well taken.

  18. - Been There - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===It doesn’t make me a Sun-Times guy. I’m nobody’s guy.===
    We need to have all political reporters file D-2’s showing all publications that they write for.

  19. - reformer - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 4:16 pm:

    The Trib has a good point that the video poker bill wasn’t well thought out. The Gaming Board, for example, was given no new resources to ramp up for a huge new regulatory responsibility.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 4:20 pm:

    reformer, I agree with that point. But using 9/11 to make that point flat-out disgusted me.

  21. Pingback Snickering at the Chicago Tribune | Peoria Pundit - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 4:46 pm:

    […] Think I’m tough on the Peoria Journal Star’s award-winning (snicker) editorial page? Today, Rich Miller expresses some irritation with the Chicago Tribune’s editorial video poker legalization: Today’s editorial is a long, strident, breathless slam on legalized, limited and taxed video gaming. It’s chock full of phrases that would make nutballs like Alan Keyes smile with approval. […]

  22. - Gaming Board Watcher! - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 6:44 pm:

    While I agree with mostly everyone about the Tribune and Video Poker, I was more taken by the Gaming Board. This afternoon I attended the Gaming Board meeting (as I do every month, for an unrelated reason) and this August, 2009 meeting was the first in which I saw the Gaming Board really, really speaking out at the interests in Springfield! Yes, they probably were told they will be replaced and Judge Jaffe probably felt the need to state what is pretty much was the press is reporting currently. On the other hand, I was more taken by Andy Shaw and Tim Mapes on an elevator before the meeting stating this video poker thing was being “reviewed”. Up to 45,000 machines at 15,000 places is not going to happen. Everyone knows those machines are being used illegally today as much as last week Patrick Fitzgerald and Eric Holder press conference on drug indictments will not stop drugs continuing to influence America! Yes, the Tribune has basically used its editoral board to push their and their candidates agenda. Between now and Feb 2010, it will become really bad. The 9/11 thing is just stupid, however, those right wing lovers of that paper jump up and cheer, your paper is there for you!

  23. - Bobs yer - Tuesday, Aug 25, 09 @ 8:40 pm:

    Rich, they broke the Illinois EPA story, not you. Deal with the fact that you’ve got severely limited resources, while they still are able to do some real journalism.

    Sorry, that’s the way it is.

  24. - Mike Doyle - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 8:39 pm:

    Speaking as someone who joined the miles-long exodus and walked in moving lanes of traffic over an East River bridge and out of Manhattan that day (and subsequently relocated to Chicago), it’s been eight years. I think both sides can stop playing the September 11th card now. Not a big deal. Need to move on and let references to the historical event simply be references. Bad taste for the Trib editorial board? Totally. Worth getting upset over? Not so much.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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