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Believe it or not, Take 2 in the Tribune is even more disengenuous than Take 1

Thursday, Jul 16, 2020

* Quite a bold statement back then…


Also, notice the hashtag. The Tribsters just love them some anti-Illinois propaganda. Makes ‘em all giddy.

* From that Dennis Byrne column

Yeah sure, you know better, having confined your masses to a much more rigid, nearly universal lockdown. Never mind the restaurants that will go out of business. Never mind the people you treat like sheep who don’t know how to take care of themselves. Be satisfied with your self-assured virtue and wisdom.

When we moved to Florida from Illinois last year, I thought that we had distanced ourselves from the usual Chicago and Illinois nuttiness. Not so, as Lightfoot reached across the 863 miles that separates us to issue condemnations from on high: “I watched,” she intoned, “the governor of Florida, I think, fumble once again. His leadership has been wholly lacking in this pandemic, and then he reopened the beaches. God help us all.” […]

In general, Florida is ahead of Illinois in reopening. Holy Family Church, my parish, is reopening public Masses with some restrictions starting May 16. Major shopping destinations such as The St. Johns Town Center are reopening. And more. We’re living the life down here.

And it’s happening, so far, without the predicted COVID-19 slaughter that we were assured would happen. Illinois is worse off. As of Friday, 1,669 deaths were recorded in Florida. Illinois had recorded 3,241 deaths.

The death-count taunting was such a nice touch. Not to mention that May’s unemployment rate in Florida was 14.5 percent, just seven-tenths of a percent lower than the supposedly sheeplike Illinois [new numbers just came out and Illinois’ June unemployment rate is 14.6 percent - 37,626 new claims were filed here last week compared to 129,408 in Florida].

And we all know what has happened since then.

* One of the new Illinois mediation metrics is: “Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)."

Duval County, where Byrne lives, has an ICU bed availability of 21.64 percent, according to the state. The rest of Florida isn’t doing so well, either

A total of 971 ICU beds were reported to be available across the state, nearly 16 percent of the state’s total number of ICU beds, as of Thursday.

More than a third (23) of Florida’s 67 counties were reported to have less than 10 ICU beds available.

Eight hospitals in Miami-Dade, the state’s most populous county, were reported to have hit full ICU bed capacity, with only around 15 percent of their total ICU beds available.

* Also

Florida again shattered its single-day record for COVID-19 deaths, adding 156 fatalities and more than 13,000 new cases in Thursday’s daily report on the coronavirus pandemic.

Northeast Florida’s case count also surged, with 840 new cases in Duval County to lift the cumulative total there to 14,992. [Emphasis added]

Since Byrne wants to make this into a competition, I’d point out that Duval County has just under a million people. Illinois has 12.67 million people. Duval reported 840 new cases today. Illinois reported 1,187 new cases yesterday.

* Some of us dredged up the dated and foolish Tribune column Sunday night on Twitter. And then yesterday, the Tribune editorial board again turned its section over to Byrne. He began with yet another death-count taunt

Florida’s population of 21.48 million is almost double of Illinois’ 12.67 million. Yet Illinois has suffered 2,809 more deaths than Florida. Maybe Florida has been doing something right.

Yeah. OK. 1) Deaths are a lagging indicator; 2) Doctors know lots more about this novel virus than they did in March, April and May, like, for instance, not relying solely on ventilators, putting patients on their stomachs and the advancement of some new treatments; 3) Mask usage might reduce the severity of virus symptoms; 4) Many, many people who’ve come down with the virus face years of painful recoveries; 5) Florida saw what happened up north in the spring, scoffed at us and claimed it could never happen there and now they’re getting thwacked hard. 6) And since he’s so into death-count taunting, Illinois reported 8 deaths yesterday to Florida’s 156 today. Spare me.

* More

Truth is that no one knew from the start how to deal with the novel coronavirus. Not Trump. Not his Democratic, progressive or woke critics. And clearly not the epidemiologists who seem to have gotten so much wrong. Yet, they still want us to take their warnings as biblical. When they can’t accurately count the infected or calculate the fatality rate.

As John Amdor said: “It’s true, there is no way that humans could adequately respond to and deal with the coronavirus. That is why every country in the world is struggling as much as the United States.”

* More

I could say that Miami’s troubling increase in new cases is the result of all those Democrats from New York and Chicago who fled their own epicenters and brought the disease (and their woke politics) with them. But I can’t; I don’t know.

That may well be and the CDC seems to agree. But those cases aren’t all non-Floridians by any means, so how did it spread there? Florida was and still is mostly open. If Florida had learned from New York’s and Chicago’s mistakes and followed their successes, the out-of-staters couldn’t have spread the virus so easily to residents. Instead, state leaders defiantly and proudly stuck their heads in their… beach sand.

* More

Science, as demonstrated by our struggle to understand and deal with the unique coronavirus and COVID-19, sometimes is fouled by incomplete or poorly collected data, unproven hypotheses and, simply, wild guesses. Automatically accepting “science” findings as a done deal is a fool’s game.

Do you know what’s really a fool’s game? Following the advice of crackpots and cranks.

The Tribune has just gone so far off the rails.

* Related…

* Anne Caprara: I usually leave this stuff alone & I am not going to dignify the insane column I just (mistakenly) read in a local opinion section with a retweet. But it’s been a long few months & I ain’t just going to let this one go

* Florida Nurse Warns ‘Nursing Shortage’ About To Hit State As COVID-19 Puts Strain On Hospital Systems

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Roadrager - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    I don’t know why, but this was the one that broke me, and I canceled my Trib subscription today. (Sorry, kindly customer service rep, but I won’t stay even for 25 cents per week.) Giving an out-of-state clod a forum to mock us all for living in Illinois, and then giving him it again to double-down after he’s been proven hideously wrong, is not something I need to give even a pittance of financial support. Especially while Kass draws a full, uninterrupted six-figure salary to belch out the same three columns on loop, while his colleagues take furloughs and the actual news of the day goes uncovered, and ownership is sizing up the walls of the joint to judge where they can start stripping out the wiring.


  2. - Nick - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    If there’s anything viruses don’t care for, it’s premature victory laps.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    ‘Nember when “Statehouse Chick” wrote a whole editorial about death and destruction that had a seemly racial underpinning… then it was a “take 2” that really only changed as a “metaphor” but still wished for death, destruction and the racial underpinnings… and NOLA took notice… and “Statehouse Chick” told everyone, including NOLA it’s on us for reading it wrong?

    Yeah, the newly rebranded “Statehouse Chick” (she’s McQuearyKristen now, k?)….

    ===The Tribune has just gone so far off the rails.===

    … she runs the Editorial page.

    For me, it’s critical to remind myself that *anyone* who could write an editorial that a city whose example she wants mirrored finds her vile takes unacceptable… why wouldn’t that same writer who now runs that page double down on the disingenuous and ridiculously dangerous during a global pandemic?

    Of course “Statehouse Chick” wanted a double down here… they couldn’t rewrite it like they did for her NOLA editorial… amirite?

    “The Tribune has just gone so far off the rails.”

    … that’s it’s brand on the Editorial side.

    I feel sick for Ray Long, Rick Pearson, et al.

    Yet, here we are.


  4. - 1st Ward - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    This type of reporting along with other outlets make it seem like this is a sport. The cheerleaders of a re-opening strategy or re-opening comparison need to stop. This will take years to fully understand with science and data the full nature and effect of the virus along with the appropriate strategies to deal with it from a policy perspective (ex masking as that’s settled).

    Oh yea Florida had their most deaths today. Just dumb reporting.


  5. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    The column mentions masks -once- (and then only to note that the servers at the restaurant he was dining at were wearing them). I’d ask Byrne why he needed epidemiologists when he has long had the example of other nations to go by. He could have looked at Japan (who did less than we did except for wearing masks). And China. And South Korea. And Hong Kong. And Singapore. Then he could have looked at Sweden. He could have looked at how 2 infected hair stylists could get up close to 138 customers for an extended period of time and not infect a single one, noting they all wore masks.

    So yeah, hide behind the mistakes that were made in February and March while you willfully blinded yourself in May and June.


  6. - jimbo26 - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    Reuters reports Covid cases in Florida = 301,810 & Illinois = 157,825. Looks like Florida will have double the number of Illinois before long. Gotta love the “reporting” from the Trib.


  7. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    The number of media sites that disavow science continues to amaze me. The number of people who believe those sites saddens me and makes me wonder where we will be in 10 years. I expect better from the Tribune, although I should know better by now. Let’s hope we don’t see a column promoting the theory that the virus will magically disappear the day after the election.


  8. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    Let’s be honest Dennis was once a pretty talented reporter. Now an aging crank on the fringe of the Chicago media scene. Guessing he does this for free — which is about the right price — but Katrina can rebut is she wishes. Still fail to understand the anti Chicago/IL approach, but guessing it won’t around for long. Another round of “savings” being discussed today. Wonder if Denny shared his genius with the home’s newsletter too? i


  9. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:50 pm:

    I think about subscribing sometimes, just for a Sunday paper. Then I get talked out of it by the paper’s employees.


  10. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    The Tribune should give a column to David Byrne, not Dennis Byrne.


  11. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    If the Tribune didn’t have an editorial page I’d subscribe again in a minute, because I think local news has great value (obviously, I refresh CF compulsively during the day). But I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend money I had to work to earn so that people like Kass, McQueary, Byrne et. al. can get paid to sit at home in their jammies and churn out drivel the likes of which I could get for free from a reddit comment thread.
    There’s your free market at work.


  12. - Leigh John-Ella - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    Imagine if the Tribune edit page used its space to promote up and coming local voices rather than long distance mansplaining from the corner office’s forgotten favorites.


  13. - LakeCo - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    From the UK Independent: If you want to know why coronavirus is spiking in the US, compare Florida with Illinois
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coronavirus-cases-usa-states-florida-illinois-covid-19-donald-trump-a9619286.html?fbclid=IwAR3yrc3N2ojbjZEymDI1AUahPXOybpQtgRxUDzQ-iOwwW8IvdmT7mvw3bpg


  14. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    There’s no saving the paper at this point. Most of their reporting staff will be laid off while Kass and the editorial team will be cranking out pro-Trump conspiracy theories while Alden picks them apart piece by piece. Incredibly sad.


  15. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    I truly don’t know how I support the great reporters and columnists amid the vulture capital threat, when their editorial side continues to do this. I don’t have a great answer.

    How long can the reporters sit silent while the editorial board marches on with a mission of antagonizing and trolling their readership into despair?

    I can’t give my modest subscription money to this paper as long as McQueary is in charge of continuing to degrade the space she overseas, even dancing on dead bodies to appease some bizarro Winetka libertarian worldview.

    I’m done-cancelled subscription. Hope to be able to support all the great reporters and non-editorial columnists some other way in the future.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    Such a lie to twist Florida’s catastrophic failure into what happened in Illinois in the earlier pandemic days, when we had higher death counts. Illinois now reports deaths in the single digits. Florida set a daily death record today, as well as having almost 14,000 new cases. We are having

    “Truth is that no one knew from the start how to deal with the novel coronavirus.“

    What pathetic spin, for failing so abysmally. Illinois and other states listened to scientists and health experts and brought our numbers down. Other states did not, and we see spiking case counts.


  17. - Gus Avacado - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    Been thinking about canceling subscription for awhile because of McQueary and editorial board. After this, I will when I get home today.


  18. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    Nothing like doubling down on stupid.


  19. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    Trib is going to Trib. All I can add is:

    #TribuneExodus


  20. - Pundent - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:11 pm:

    I realize that the objective of an editorial board is not to simply publish those opinions that are popular. Provocative content and healthy dissent keep readers engaged. But this is absolute lunacy. The majority of people in this country understand the seriousness of this virus and what we need to do to overcome it. The governors response has consistently polled well in our own state. At best the Tribune is speaking to about 1/3 of the country with these types of editorials. In Chicago and the surrounding areas it’s likely less than that. How can they expect to remain viable as a newspaper when they ignore science and publish editorials that would subject them to ridicule. It’s as if they aren’t even trying at this point.


  21. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    I agree with Annonin’ about Dennis Byrne whose tagline is “a Florida writer and former Chicago journalist.” The Trib’s local editorials are downright Raunerish all the time so that I mostly skip them. But I do appreciate their more evenhanded take on national issues. Steve Chapman has been particularly good analyzing the Trump administration. I also appreciate many of their other journalists. Lastly I like the idea of Chicago being a two newspaper town so I maintain my overly priced (compared to the S-T) subscription despite being slightly apoplectic from time to time on the content of the Opinion page.


  22. - Roadrager - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    When ownership has zero interest in keeping the newspaper as a going concern, the editoral board is free to camp out in the hinterlands while their big checks keep rolling in until the end.


  23. - Former Downstater - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:43 pm:

    Hat tip to Roadrager’s first post. My sentiments exactly. I’d love to support both local papers but I can’t justify sending any of my money to that group of deplorable people. I’ll keep supporting Block Club Chicago instead.


  24. - Jibba - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    I’m not too humble to say it.

    Told ya so.


  25. - Quizzical - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    I had to cancel my subscription after a recent Kass column. I can’t in good conscience pay for that nonsense anymore.


  26. - pool boy - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    My wife and I grew up reading newspapers and really enjoyed it. We finally cancelled our subscription a few years ago and based on this nonsense I am glad we did. “Rivers of gold sometimes dry up”.


  27. - Chungas revenge - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    If you’re an idiot that doesn’t understand statistics this Tribune article makes a lot of sense to you


  28. - Morty - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    There is ONE thing you can respect Byrne for.

    He left Illinois.

    I wish Katrina, Kass, Mark Glennon, Dan Proft, John Tillman, and Jim Dey would do the same.


  29. - JoanP - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    I ignore Kass, McQueary, and the rest of that gang.

    But I’ll still read the Trib for Rick Kogan and Howard Reich. Not to mention “Mutts”, and “Doonesbury” on Sunday.

    Y’know, it’s kind of sad when you get a better take on things from the comics page than the editorial page.


  30. - Groundhog Day - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    “Believe it or not”? Sadly, I believe it. I have been on the fence about my subscription, as my mother, God rest her soul, always claimed that I was reading it as a small child in the 60s.


  31. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/15/im-wuhan-i-got-covid-19-after-traveling-florida/?amp=1


  32. - Froganon - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    Heidi Stevens writes Balancing Act at the Trib. She is the only reason I still subscribe. When She goes, we’re gone too.


  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    This is Hunger Games for some Conservatives, and they are rooting for a high body count in Illinois to prove their point.


  34. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    Rex Huppke’s parody columns make more sense than their editorial board’s musings.


  35. - Lt Guv - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    Byrne fails to note there’s a reason it’s called “Flo-ri-duh.”


  36. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 4:49 pm:

    Texas, another state Trib types want us to be like, also reported a daily record number of deaths today. That state, like Florida, doesn’t have Medicaid expansion. No thanks.


  37. - City Guy - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    Building off of the comments above, I have to wonder if the Tribune would be way better off getting rid of the editorial page. I want news from the Tribune, not their view of the world. I won’t subscribe due to the right wing anti-Chicago views of the editorial board.


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