Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bizarre Email From Chi-Town Daily News Editor

My my, seems the well-paid "citizen journalists" at the heavily grant-funded Chi-Town Daily News just can't handle criticism. Not rationally, anyway. Early this morning, I noted that the publication treated the recent food poisoning-mouse turds-moldy ice-related closing of the Heartland Cafe with kid gloves, and that one of their stories is missing. That got me a terse (and amusing) response from Alex Parker, the guy who wrote the pieces I criticized. Now, editor Geoff Dougherty has jumped into the fracas with a bizarre email, below, followed by my response to Dougherty: --- On Sat, 3/21/09, Geoff Dougherty wrote: From: Geoff Dougherty Subject: Correction, please To: "RogersParkBench Tom Mannis" Date: Saturday, March 21, 2009, 5:50 PM Tom, You've published some seriously inaccurate information regarding the Daily News, and I'd suggest you move rapidly to correct your mistakes. The Daily News is published by PublicMedia, Inc., which is incorporated as an Illinois nonprofit and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption. You can find us on the IRS charity listings [here] You can also find us listed as a 501c3 at guidestar.org, which is the most commonly used source of charity listings on the web. The story you mention regarding the Heartland Cafe has been continuously available on our website since it was published March 13. Our server software constantly monitors the availability of our content, and we can assure you that nothing on our end would have prevented you, or any other reader, from accessing this story. Indeed, the story's been read more than 1,000 times over the past week. Perhaps you have some connectivity, browser, or computer competence problems that prevented you from successfully accessing the article. Thanks for sharing your wild fantasy regarding our supporters at the Knight Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations and our coverage of the Heartland. Here's a tip for you: If you spend four days dropping acid and then watch the Zapruder film, you'll see me, Alberto Ibarguen and the Heartland crew descending from a black helicopter with Lee Harvey Oswald. Happy viewing. The Daily News has moved -- again. Please note our new address: Geoff Dougherty, Editor Chi-Town Daily News 800 W. Huron, Suite 3E Chicago, IL 60642 773.362.5002, ext. 10 geoff@chitowndailynews.org My E-mailed Response to Geoff Dougherty: Geoff, I [have made] the "correction" [about the IRS listing], but as noted in my post, I never said that you were not a registered charity. I said that you did not seem to show up when I searched for you at the same IRS search site you just referred to me. As for the "connectivity" issue that you say might be the reason that I cannot see the missing text, answer this: Why do I have no trouble reading any of the other stories on your site? There is no connectivity issue on my end, Geoff. The other stories by Alex showed up just fine, but the one in question had headline only at 1:30 pm today. For me, anyway; perhaps my computer selectively filtered out that one story? [Post Script: Several friends confirmed that, too, saw only the headline with no story text at your that link to the March 13 story.] Here's a tip for you, Geoff: Maybe you drop acid, but I have never touched the stuff. That said, is your suggestion that I "spend four days dropping acid and then watch the Zapruder film, you'll see me, Alberto Ibarguen and the Heartland crew descending from a black helicopter with Lee Harvey Oswald" supposed to be witty? It's not, Geoff, really it's not. Post Scripts: Geoff Dougherty did not address important points in my exchange with Alex Parker, in which I stated that Parker's coverage of the Heartland debacle was not complete: Who is the woman who became sick? There is no mention of the fact that the ice machine was leased or the name of the company it was leased from, the "fired" exterminator is not named, no mention of the fact that rodents easily chew through caulk, and no mention of whether or not required building permits for replacing the floors and possibly other work done were prominently displayed. You do not mention the multiple health code violations that the Heartland Cafe has incurred over the past seven years. You do not mention their multiple liquor license violations either." Dougherty, rather than address those points, chose the typical Liberal response of baseless ridicule with his final, drug-referencing paragraph. Notice Dougherty's arrogant tone. "You've published some seriously inaccurate information regarding the Daily News, and I'd suggest you move rapidly to correct your mistakes." I am supposed to "move rapidly" to correct my "mistakes?" As noted, I never said Chi-Town Daily News ("publicmedia") is not a listed charity; I said I didn't find it listed. Reader alert: Next time any of you see anything omitted or slightly off write a terse, hallucinatory email to Geoff Dougherty demanding that he move rapidly to correct such mistakes. One such mistake would be Alex Parker's inaccurate statement that "The Red Line Tap and No Exit Cafe [are] adjacent to the Heartland Café" in his March 17 article. In fact, the No Exit Cafe is half a block away from the Heartland Cafe. Had Parker bothered to visit the neighborhood, he might have noticed that. Dougherty stated, "You can also find us listed as a 501c3 at guidestar.org, which is the most commonly used source of charity listings on the web." That may be so, but guidestar.org pulls its data from IRS records. I chose to search the primary source rather than a secondary one. Dougherty seems to feel that guidestar.org is good because it's the most popular. What a sad standard that is for an editor, who should understand the basics of researching data. I do hope that he doesn't go first to Wikipedia, a notoriously unreliable source of information, just because it's a "commonly used source" on the web. Alex Parker is a professional journalist, not an unpaid "citizen journalist." Chi-Town Daily News loves to present the image of a bunch of unpaid bloggers writing for the love of craft and altruistic concern for community, but in fact a number of the writers there are paid. I have nothing against a writer being paid, certainly, but if you're going to present yourselves as "citizen journalists," you should actually be "citizen journalists," which is really just a fancy name for "bloggers." If a site has "daily news" in its name, should it not present news daily? RELATED: ChiTown Daily News Writer Responds to Criticism Update 2X: Missing Story at Chi-Town Daily News Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...