Will the Tribune Get Back to Its Roots? | Bleader

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Will the Tribune Get Back to Its Roots?

Posted By on 08.11.10 at 08:43 AM

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I received this editorial cartoon by email the other day and was thunderstruck. The Tea Party Movement has found its house organ — the Depression-era Chicago Tribune. Carey Orr drew "Planned Economy or Planned Destruction" for the Tribune in 1934.

On closer inspection I discovered the Orr drawing has been circulating on the Internet for well over a year and been hailed for its perspicacity.

"From the Chicago Tribune before it got neutered, back when it was the World's Greatest Newspaper. My Aunt Mary sent this to me (Thanks, Aunt Mary!)." tommcmahon.net

"Even the great swathes of illiterate voters ought to be able to follow that level of analysis." maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com

"This is unnervingly relevant and true to our day and age." mikemattner.com

"Not only destruction of the economy, but also of America. Here's yet another similarity between Obama/Dems today and Hitler/Stalin etc: It is obvious that the Dems are NOT going to hold ELECTIONS in NOV 2010 or 2012. First are their REASONS, and then there are CLUES they are giving out that leads one to that conclusion... newsrealblog.com

"In order for the elites to implement their New World Order they must first destroy the United States. Theirs is a well thought out and very carefully planned plan of action to achieve this purpose. None of the events, financial or political, that we see happening around us today are by chance." shtfplan.com

Does the Tribune know what it has in this cartoon? It has some idea. Fourteen months ago, Pat Widder of the Tribune editorial board wrote a piece recalling the cartoon and the environment in which it was drawn, one in which Republicans were accusing FDR of "revolutionary" and "unconstitutional" policies. "Similar criticism resonates today," said Widder.

And what resonates more than this Orr cartoon, a precious artifact of an era whose hysterical politics the Tribune has been trying to live down since Colonel Robert R. McCormick died in 1955?

"Are you talking about the same history in which America got out of the depression and none of these predictions came true? The same history where the anti-communist witch hunts are seen as a dark blight? The same history where FDR is seen as one of the greatest Presidents?" digg.com

Richard Norton Smith's biography, The Colonel, tells us that Orr — who'd once pitched minor league baseball with the Seattle Seals — was a "favorite McCormick hatchet man" whose "toxic" cartoons the Tribune liked to publish on the front page. One of them offered up FDR, along with Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

But I'm not simply talking memory lane. I'm talking revenue streams. T-shirts. Nostalgia editions. The catchphrase "We've forgotten more about the socialist takeover than you'll ever know." There's a lot of free-floating disdain for the mainstream media these days because the perception is that the MSM just doesn't get it. The Tribune got it three-quarters of a century ago. If it did some Tea Party focus groups it might ask itself why it's foresaken its heritage.

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