By: MARK FITZGERALD
Cocktails for its readers . . . .
Hollinger International Inc., part of the worldwide media empire headed by Canadian-born and London-residing Conrad Black, hosted a party for the Mississippi delegation on the roof of its U.S. flagship paper, the Chicago Sun-Times.
Hollinger International president and Canadian citizen F. David Radler told Michael Miner, media critic for the Chicago alternative paper the Reader, that its $100,000 corporate donation to the convention’s Chicago ’96 host committee gave it the right to host a party for a delegation of its choice.
“We chose the Mississippi delegation,” Radler said. “We have newspapers in Mississippi. Lots of them. I think eight dailies.”
No cheering in the press box ? Well, maybe this once . . . .
Some oh-so-objective reporters might have sat and typed right through the national anthem night after night, but there were tears, applause and standing ovations in the press gallery Aug. 26 when former White House press secretary James Brady walked slowly ? leaning on a cane and his wife, Sarah ? across the convention podium. Brady, known as Bear, was badly wounded and remains partially paralyzed from the March 30, 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.
Double duty . . . .
Best sight from the convention’s opening night: The two women who ordinarily provided American Sign Language interpretation of remarks from the podium leading a hallfull of giddy delegates in the Macarena.
Not your Official Convention Newspaper . . . .
You can’t accuse the Reader, Chicago’s biggest alternative newspaper, of being a homer.
In its convention issue, the Reader offered a front-page guide to “What Stinks” in Chicago.
First on the list: the 1996 Democratic National Convention. “Why join 15,000 media representatives and legions of sign-waving yahoos at this overhyped, overcovered snow job? Do something ? anything ? instead,” the paper urged.
Other things the Reader thinks stink in Chicago: both major daily newspapers and all their best-known columnists (“the once-admired Mike Royko has been undergoing a personal deterioration in print the past couple years,” staff writer Neal Pollack wrote in a typical assessment); Mayor Richard M. Daley; Wrigley Field; Billy Goat Tavern and deep-dish pizza.
People forget that Walter Lippmann did exactly the same thing outside the 1948 Democratic convention in Philadelphia, urging a postage stamp commemorating Fatty Arbuckle . . . .
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper applied for and received a permit for an hour in the designated protest zone in downtown Chicago on Aug. 27.
The “demonstration” urged the U.S. Postal Service to issue a postage stamp commemorating John Belushi, the comedian who died of a drug overdose in 1982.
“James Dean did only three films, and he got a stamp. Marilyn Monroe had at least as many substance abuse problems as Baloosh, and she got a stamp. Elvis was fatter and he got a stamp,” Roeper explained.