Playing catch-up

Dateline: Mon 06 Aug 2007

As the Indiana Law Blog notes this morning, the Star is playing catch-up these days. First case, Sunday's story on an Indiana refinery plant's polluting of Lake Michigan, which ran July 14 in the Chicago Tribune; second case is this morning's long overdue piece on the real Atkins Cheesecake story -- the one about the gay son of Jeanne Atkins, who has bent over backwards legally to keep him apart from his partner (on "moral" grounds) following her son's debilitating stroke.

"Tis a strange world, especially in terms of bylines. Kristina Buchthal wrote the Chicago story with a Chicago dateline; she was a Northwestern intern at the Star who worked there for three years, but she resigned to move back to Chicago. I hope she was well-compensated for her efforts, since the Star is now too cheap and too inept to send one of its own staff reporters to Chicago to get the facts. But then, the Star has nobody covering either environmental issues, since Tammy Webber left, or keeping an eye on the utilities industry. So of course the paper had to scramble to get what it could into print, more than two weeks after the news broke.

Ditto on the Atkins cheesecake. As editors used to say, back in the old days, "What do you think we're putting out here, a seed catalogue?"

The "new" Atkins cheesecake story, reported by Melissa Patterson, ran on Page 1 today and was thorough, but it is old, old, old. Of course, the Star would not have written it, I believe, had it not first screwed up and done a blow job pitch on Jeanne Atkins, telling the world what a grand Christian she is because she prays with her employees at the old cheesecake factory every day.

Gays hit the wall with emails and outrage; how could the Star print that piece of total drivel, given the story behind the scenes -- the court-recorded account of Jeanne's efforts to deny her ailing gay son a relationship with his partner? Worse, the reporter who wrote the original story defended her work; she was, after all, writing about RELIGION.

So once again, journalism is stranger than truth. At least at the Star.

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