ABOUT YESTERDAY …
The decision to lead Tuesday’s Chicago Public Square with a link to a Louisville Courier-Journal story identifying and detailing the past of the man United Airlines “re-accommodated” in violent fashion triggered a vibrant journalism discussion through email, on Facebook and across the wider web:
■ Podcaster and veteran tech journalist Wailin Wong: “We’re living in an era when victims—of police violence especially, but also so many other things—have to be absolute saints in order to be treated with basic human decency. It makes me ill.”
■ Health reporter John Gregory: “I don’t think it makes United look the slightest bit better for how its employees handled this situation and certainly don’t excuse how the man was assaulted in order to remove him.”
■ Your Square proprietor’s sister, Julie Ross, tweeted: “This is … akin to blaming a rape victim because she wasn’t a virgin or had consented in the past.”
■ Media critic Michael Miner: “If the subject of a story was newsworthy once before, that newsworthiness doesn’t become unnewsworthy if the same person becomes newsworthy once again—even if it’s for a completely different reason.”
■ At the Columbia Journalism Review, David Uberti: “When a story from an outlet’s backyard goes viral on a global scale, only a tiny fraction of audiences will be familiar with the players, plot or stage. Should a journalist’s role be to serve their geographic community, or the global audience cocking back rotten tomatoes?”
The decision by the victim—who as of yesterday told reporters he was still in the hospital—to retain legal counsel and issue a public statement has since rendered the question of his identity moot. But this thoughtful debate has prompted reconsideration at Square headquarters. The victim’s name shouldn’t have appeared here until he’d chosen to identify himself.
Want to comment on this or other Chicago Public Square matters? There’s a Facebook page for that.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS STORY.
■ United’s newly contrite CEO, Oscar Munoz, vows the airline will never again “put a law enforcement official … to remove a booked, paid, seating passenger.”
■ CNN recaps what we know now about United’s “ugly few days.”
■ Eric Zorn calls B.S. (Square’s phrase, not his) on the original Chicago statement about the incident.
■ Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago City Council promise to investigate what happened.
■ United now says the flight wasn’t overbooked after all.
■ But the mockery continues, as with Funny Or Die’s update of a memorable United TV ad.
SAN BERNARDINO GUNMAN’S PAST. The man who killed his estranged wife and one of her students before killing himself had what the Los Angeles Times calls “a history of allegations of violence made by at least two other women.”
■ Morgan Jerkins in Teen Vogue: “What will it take for people to pay attention to victims of domestic abuse?”
Criticized for a $30,000 fee to deliver Northeastern Illinois University’s commencement address, former Obama presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett has now agreed to speak for free. Her spokeswoman explains in an email, “While keenly aware of the financial challenges in Illinois, we were not aware of the specific issues facing Northeastern Illinois University.” (Photo: White House photographer Joyce N. Boghosian.)
■ The Chicago City Colleges system is killing a shuttle bus service that cost $3 million over five years—with few users to show for it.
TRUMP, SCRUTINIZED. Annotating this morning’s interview with President Trump on Fox News, the Washington Post finds “he rewrote history… and appeared to completely reverse course on strategy.”
■ Calling Fox News “a cesspool of sexual harassment,” a lawyer is demanding New York State’s Division of Human Rights investigate.
■ Bill O’Reilly has gone “on vacation”—and his boss reportedly doesn’t want him to return.
■ Press secretary Sean Spicer on his Hitler goof: “I’ve let the president down.”
TAKE A NUMBER. Crain’s Greg Hinz says a “stampede of Democrats” are “kicking tires” for campaigns “to unseat someone party chiefs would love to see go: U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton.”
■ In South Carolina, an angry crowd spits a congressman’s “You lie!” shout back at him.
DNAinfo SHUTDOWN? A manager at the Joe Ricketts-owned news sites in Chicago and New York won’t rule out the site’s extinction if staffers join a union.
■ The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner finally has a host.
LOOKING FOR A SAFE HOSPITAL?
Illinois has landed 38 on a list of the nation’s top facilities for safety and quality.
SNL LAWSUIT (NOT).
Chicago comedic pianist Bill Larkin pretend-threatens to sue Saturday Night Live over the similarities between his song and this song broadcast last weekend.
HOW TO TELL WHEN A TWEET’S NOT RIGHT.
“If the number of replies to a tweet vastly outpaces its engagement in terms of likes and retweets, then something has gone horribly wrong.”
ON THIS DATE IN 1983 …
Harold Washington was elected Chicago’s first black mayor. Here are audio highlights of the way things unfolded that night as Neil Parker, Marj Halperin and I reported on WXRT-FM.
THANKS. To readers Gwen Osborne, Kim Singletary and James Finn Garner for contributing to today’s edition.