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Our Increasingly Irrelevant Incumbent Newspapers and The Chicago Tea Party

John Powers 28 February 2009 9 Comments

Walking to lunch yesterday, I stopped by Daley Plaza to check out the Official Chicago Tea Party, an event organized on Facebook (remember when Obama was the “Facebook” candidate?) to protest the reckless spending plans hatching regularly in Washington.  Inspired by CNBC’s Rick Santelli memorable plea in opponsition to the mortgage bailout, the Tea Party was a quickly put together group taking their protest to the streets of Chicago.

Tony Peraica announced “Now the Chicago Daily Observer is here, the protest can begin” which generously overstates what little organization we (or any other organization) put in to the event, as this truly was a grass roots happening.  This was certainly not much of a scripted protest, with home made signs, some 1776 era “tea party” costumes, and mainly people taking a long lunch dressed in business suits marching from Daley Plaza to the Tribune Plaza in very cold wet weather.  I took the diversion from lunch to walk along with Dan Proft, who was ultimately one of the speakers challenging Illinois voters to get more involved in politics.

All-in-all it was a well behaved group, genuinely concerned with the swarms of government programs and fixes being lauchned by the Obama administration.  There were 300 people at my count early on, probably up to 500 at the height of the march.  There were plenty of honks, waves, cheers and a few jeers from passers by, and a rather quiet series of exhortations via a bullhorn from a few folks leading the way.

Good enough event, with plenty of cameras, microphones, pleasant policemen, and a bit of a disruption to the Loop for an hour or so. So this morning when I looked in the SunTimes and Tribune, I expected at least a rudimentary nod to the protest.   Seeing nothing, I checked with one of the cdobs.com web developers, who also saw nothing.

But in the blogs

1) Backyard Conservative (Blogger Anne Leary was one of the Rally Leaders)

2) Marathon Pundit

3) Rogers Park Bench

4) A Chicago Blog (CDOBS team member Mike Van Winkle)

coverage was complete with links, photos and even some analysis and background.  Fox covered it on their national newscast, and WBEZ in a rare fit of responsibility gave the story a nod.

Only last Sunday, many great minds from the Tribune and Sun Times held a town hall where our incumbent scribblers harmonized over the woes and complexities of journalism.  What seems evident to me is that politically motivated editorial decisions, such as the the blackout of the Chicago Tea Party, have reduced the utility of the two major papers.  When around 400 people are right outside the windows of the Tribune shouting at the top of their lungs about a contentious political issue, one might think that the paper of record would see fit to cover it.

John Powers is the President of the Chicago Daily Observer.


  • Ted said:



  • Tom Mannis said:

    Thanks for the link to Chicago News Bench. You’re right, of course, that the MSM did not cover the tea parties nationwide until after the events were over, and even then coverage was scant. While the Internet was white-hot with the intense blogosphere buzz about the events in the week leading up to it, the MSM ignored it. I have no doubt that they were aware of it ahead of time; they all monitor the blogs. We know they do. After Friday’s events, the MSM could not avoid the story. Thanks for all you – and all the other citizen journalists out there – do every day to present information that is otherwise buried by the liberal media. (By the way, the name of my blog is no longer “Rogers Park Bench.” I changed it to “Chicago News Bench” two months ago, but I’ll take the hits gladly!)

  • Paul said:

    Of course this will not be covered by the main stream media. They are in the tank with the ruling party and fobid any reference to an emperor without clothes.

    Thanks for covering a very worthwhile event.

  • only4usa said:

    Come join us at http://www.alipac.com. I took action for the Tea Party by displaying a “passion” tea packet on my jacket for this event. Let’s do it monthly.

  • Albany Park Mom said:

    To respond to the first commenter, here is the link to the snopes.com article stating the claims that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery are FALSE:


    And here is a link to the birth certificate:


    Regarding the claim that “hard working Americans” will get “layers and layers of tax increases:

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — A typical American family would get a tax cut under President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, ”

    “In his budget released last week, Obama proposed a tax rate increase for couples who make $250,000 or more annually. That translates nationally to about 2 percent of all Americans filing returns […] At the same time, the bulk of Long Islanders with annual incomes of $100,000 or less – comprising 80 percent of Nassau taxpayers and 84 percent of Suffolk’s – will find their federal tax rates lower, dropping a few hundred dollars a year depending on marital status and the number of dependents.

    So … does this mean that only 2% of Americans are “hard working” since they are the ones who will see a tax increase, while the rest of us will see no change or a cut?

  • pastor agnostic said:

    Poor Mr. Powers, still intoxicated by the kool-aid served up by the neoconmen of America.
    This part alone says it all:
    to protest the reckless spending plans hatching regularly in Washington. Inspired by CNBC’s Rick Santelli memorable plea. . .

    Pity that Mr. Powers failed to note that the whole Santelli rant was a concocted, scripted, and planned event, intended to be used as the catalyst for this faux protest. As for the protest against reckless spending plans hatching regularly? Excuse me, Mr. Powers, but which administration took a TRILLION dollars in war costs off budget and claimed that a 6 year occupation of an arab country required emergency funding, NOT budgeted tax dollars? Which administration took a budget surplus and turned it into a huge deficit? Which party’s VP famously snarled that, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter?”

    The problem with neocons like you is that you report only part of the facts (for ex, that this tax protest was concocted, scripted and a total failure) while you continue to mouth inane Rushian talking points. Either you have no shame, or you are sorely lacking in the ability to think rationally. Then again, it could be both. There is a relationship between the two.

  • John Powers (author) said:


    The Energy Tax Hike will be applied across the board. Tax hikes on business are certainly passed along to the consumer. Tax hikes on the wealthy are disincentives to work more, create jobs and create wealth….not a direct tax, but certainly the pain is already trickling down from Obama’s planned tax hikes and spending increases.


    If there was a concoction to script a tax protest, the Chicago Daily Observer certainly would like have been a part of it. The editorial stand of our publication is against taking from one set of taxpayers to reward politicians and buy votes.

    But the networks which organized this protest sprang up on their own on Facebook etc, without even a nod from CNBC (let alone the Tribune or Sun-Times). Sure some of the people doing the organizing, Dan Proft and the Sam Adams Alliance for example, are political campaigners…that is what campaigners do….but there is certainly a difference between people voluntarily protesting Washington’s money grab vs. the paid protesters provided by the Left.


  • Pat Hickey said:

    Good Lord, Pastor Agnostic! Your talents do not match your pretentions. Thus, . . .

    ‘Poor Mr. Powers, still intoxicated by the kool-aid served up by the neoconmen of America.
    This part alone says it all:’

    Indeed it do . . . to a talent challenged Mina Bird Progressive. Kool-aid is not an intoxicant, but a dry concentrated beverage consumed by folks who are taxed to death – like a poor man’s tea, it would seem.

    Now had you a grain of talent you might have offered ‘Weak Tea’ or ‘Unsteeped’ – yet, you went for the hackneyed metaphor mixed – Jones Town stirred with heady alcohol?

    Pastor Agnostic, like most Progressive Beet Soup Slurpers, has the sleep inducing rhetorical gifts of the helot with Lacedaemonians pretentions.

    The tired tropes and petulant accusations indicate the identity of Pastor Agnostic, whom I suspect to be the Illinois Reason go-to flannelmouth dummy – Robin Vagecil . . .or some such name.

    “Either you have no shame, or you are sorely lacking in the ability to think rationally.”

    Oh, yeah, no body writes this badly . . .except on Illinois Reason; even Progress Illinois reins in the mush . . . at times.

    Tired, hackneyed, trite, whiney and loud.

    Well presented Mr. Powers.

    ‘The Jackals Howl – But The Caravan Moves On’

  • Pays His Mortgage Guy said:

    For those wanting to know more about the Tea Parties across the nation on Independence Day 2009, here is a link: http://www.reteaparty.com.

    Personally we’ve never been very politically active, just voters. But we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more.

    We’re taking our summer vacation to participate in either the Boston Tea Party or Chicago’s. We’ve also already purchased out black Tea Party Wear. For those with an interest, here is where you can see some: http://www.zazzle.com/chicago+tea+party+gifts

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