Excellence advice from the late CBS reporter Eric Enberg

This comes from a speech Enberg made and this part was published in the online website NewsBlues:


“I hate photo opportunities. They’re largely phony and non-substantive and have nothing to do with the way we govern a nation,” said the late CBS correspondent Eric Engbergmore than thirty years ago when he spoke to a meeting of TV news directors. His words ring true now today more than ever.

Engberg believed journalists were letting political candidates manipulate them.

“See if you see yourself in any of this,” he said. “You go to the event. You know the event is silly. You write a story in which you convey to your listeners a sense that the event was silly and contrived. You put the story on the air accompanied by pictures of the candidate riding a horse, eating a blintz, visiting a farm or whatever.”

“If the event has been well-staged by his campaign staff, it doesn’t matter what you said in your copy. The candidate looks pretty good in your story and the next day people come up to you and say, ‘I saw you covered Senator Schmaltz’s event yesterday. Boy he looked good!'”

“You conclude, ‘They didn’t listen to a thing I said. I led the story, ‘Dopey Senator Schmaltz, in another blatant bid for re-election votes, staged another hony-baloney visit to a pig farm yesterday…'”

That is the power of pictures on television.

“I fear we have ceded too much authority to some of the politicians we cover. We ought to try to do something about that,” said Engberg, who worked for CBS News from 1976 to 2003 and died earlier this year. “Where does it start? It starts in the newsroom where editors have to be tougher. They’ve got to be willing to give up those good pictures and give up some of those color stories by saying, ‘This event has no substance to it; it’s a dog and pony show. Let’s write it out.’ It begins with the individual reporter and his or her willingness to stand for what he or she believes.”

“We have to fight these battles the way an infantry platoon fights them—one hill at a time. But it’s only when we are fighting these battles, not when we’re giving in, not when we’re letting the technological tail wag the editorial dog—it’s then that we have the right to call ourselves by what I think is the most honorable title I know: reporters.”

Opposing views following the Clinton-Trump debate

Two post-debate views: Demetra DeMonte is the Republican National Committeewoman from Illinois.

Clarence Page is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune.


Dementa DeMonte:

Dear activists, leaders, voters  of the great state of Illinois!

It has been a difficult election cycle and it has gotten even worse. If we allow words verses deeds to decide this election we will be stuck with Hillary Clinton! Trump may be flawed but Hillary is a criminal! Our nominee Donald Trump needs us to stand with him! Last night I send the following email to every member of the Republican National Committee – and I have had many, many positive responses from my fellow members!  Please stand with Donald Trump – for our country – for  our children – for our grandchildren!

Demetra DeMonte

Co-Chair Trump Illinois

Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois

RNC Secretary 2011-2015


Dear Fellow RNC members,

I believe it is now time for us to speak up about the swirling news over the last 24 hours.

First and foremost, Donald J Trump is not going to step down – nor should he. He is our lawfully elected nominee.

Yes – Donald Trump used some very inappropriate language. We can all agree on that. I certainly do not condone it. But one thing is sure – he is not the first – nor will he be the last to utter foul language in the privacy of their home or in their locker rooms.

What would be so amusing, if it wasn’t so disingenuous, is that Hillary is appalled and disgusted  at Trump’s language. Right… just like Captain Renault, the character from Casablanca, is “shocked, shocked” that there is gambling going on in Rick’s Café, while at the same time he is accepting his ill-gotten gambling winnings!

Hillary, the consummate hypocrite, who while First Lady, barraged her own Secret Service detail with unspeakably foul language! The very same men who put their lives on the line for hers! Such hypocrisy!

But here is the real question – what I believe we should really focus on:  When choosing a President what is more important – Words or Deeds?

Mr. Trump may be guilty of uttering foul language – but Hillary is guilty of committing foul deeds – deeds, if she were anyone else, would have resulted in prison time.

  • She has deleted thousands of documents which she knew was illegal;
  • She had an unsecured server in her home that jeopardized America ’s security and more than likely resulted in the deaths of some of our people;
  • She refused multiple cries for help from our ambassador that resulted in his murder, along with 3 brave Americans!
  • She mercilessly hounded and attacked numerous women Bill Clinton sexually assaulted;
  • Hillary laughed when she got off a rapist of a 12 year old girl – while knowing all along her client was guilty of rape! That is on tape, too – why doesn’t the media play that audio?
  • And now it comes out that Hillary DREAMS of open borders and open trade. Oh, really? That’s not what she’s been preaching! No wonder she didn’t want to release her speeches to her Wall Street backers – the same people who made her rich by taking millions of dollars from them.

Our choice is simple.

Although Donald Trump is not a perfect man – who among us is? – he is our lawfully elected nominee and if we all stand behind him NOW – he will win November 8th.

I ask all of my fellow RNC members to please stay the course, stay with Donald Trump, and let us do all that we can to elect him on November 8th. There is too much at stake – including, most of all, the Supreme Court.

Join me in affirming your support for our nominee Donald J. Trump!


Demetra DeMonte

Co-Chair Trump Illinois

Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois

RNC Secretary 2011-2015


Clarence Page 10/11/16

British politician Nigel Farage is a big fan of Donald Trump, although he chose an odd way to express it while chatting with reporters backstage after Sunday’s presidential debate in St. Louis.

A leader in Britain’s Brexit movement to leave the European Union, Farage praised Trump’s performance against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to “a silverback gorilla,” according to The Guardian.

“He looked like a big gorilla prowling the set,” Farage said, “and he is that big alpha male — that’s what he is, that’s what he is.”

He said that. I, as a nonfan of Trump, am more inclined to view Farage’s remark as an insult to gorillas. Gorilla behavior, unlike Trump’s, tends to make sense.

Since the New York real estate developer and reality-TV star has a grasp of important issues that is about as deep as a birdbath, he tried to make up for it with bizarre body language and other antics to look tough.

He prowled the stage. He did pushups on the back of a chair. He stalked Clinton. He walked toward her as she spoke and stood behind her, his eyes locked on the back of her head like a jewelry store security guard, waiting for her to steal something.

With his chin up in a silent Mussolini-like pose, cameras caught the video-savvy Trump looming over his opponent like an orange-topped chicken hawk, ready to pounce or, at least, ready to rattle her and the audience with childish distractions.

Al Gore was properly ridiculed for walking into George W. Bush’s space during Bush’s turn to speak during their first presidential debate in 2000. Sixteen years later, Trump seemed to think that cheap distraction had become a good idea.

He repeatedly interrupted Clinton like a hyperactive schoolboy. He boldly branded her as “a liar” and “the devil,” even as he praised his own temperament.

If he is elected, he said, throwing red meat to his base, he will direct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor aimed at putting Clinton “in jail.”

Excuse me? Are we Americans crying out to have our own Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong Un? Or was Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin spinning out of control?

His staff later said he was just joking with that jail thing. But the deeper truth is that Trump’s desperation was showing. His lack of preparation and abundance of missed opportunities in his first debate had put his poll numbers into a slide and his Grand Old Party’s leaders into a panic.

Worse, a 2005 video anonymously released a couple of days before the second presidential debate caught Trump bragging lewdly and crudely about using his fame to force himself on women. Suddenly dozens of prominent Republicans started withdrawing their support and looking for ways to force their nominee off the ticket, perhaps to replace Trump with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s more traditionally conservative and sane running mate.

So with less than 30 days to go to Election Day, a time when most nominees are turning their appeals to moderate undecided or uncommitted swing voters, Trump was pivoting back to shore up his hardcore Hillary-hating base.

Against that backdrop, Trump’s bombastic behavior begins to make a lot of sense, as Farage suggests, in a simian sort of way. A strikingly similar view was expressed by celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall.

In a pre-debate analysis by journalist James Fallows in the October issue of The Atlantic, he quotes Goodall as saying before Trump clinched the GOP nomination that, “In many ways, the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals.”

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays — stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks,” she said, according to Fallows. “The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

Sound familiar?

Clinton’s supporters complain that she passed up opportunities to wash Trump away in a flood of facts. But with her lead in polls widening, she refused to take Trump’s bait. She preferred to follow the old advice often attributed to Napoleon: Never interfere with an enemy while he is in the process of destroying himself.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/pagespage.

Students get it right

At the bottom of the story in the DePaulia (regarding Carol’s lecture) you may have noticed a disclaimer. It states that several members of our class also hold key editorial functions for the school paper, including editor and managing editor.

In our class we recently discussed the ethical question: if the paper decided to cover Carol’s speech, what should those students who will be graded by us do?  Should they have a role in what is reported? What is edited? The headline? The placement in the paper or the web?

It’s the kind of discussion we’ve been having in almost every class.  And to our great delight it is what students say they like most about each class period.

It was their decision to, in this case, include a disclaimer. But our decision to claim they are learning their lessons well!


Confessions of a Diehard Political Reporter in an Apocalyptic Election Year

By Jake Ekdahl

Carol Marin, director, Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, gives remarks during a dedication and reception event last May. Marin gave the center’s first lecture Wednesday night. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Carol Marin, director, Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, gives remarks during a dedication and reception event last May. Marin gave the center’s first lecture Wednesday night. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

Carol Marin has been a journalist in Chicago for nearly 40 years, spanning several different presidents, governors, mayors and other politicians. Those years of experience came in handy Wednesday night as she gave the inaugural lecture at the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, which she co-directs.

The event, “Confessions of a Diehard Political Reporter in an Apocalyptic Election Year,” allowed Marin, the political editor at NBC 5 Chicago, to share lessons from her career covering politics and discuss an election year many have called ‘apocalyptic’.

Marin and her longtime producer Don Moseley launched the center in May 2016, hoping it will serve as a bridge between the academic and professional worlds for DePaul journalism students. The duo’s relationship with DePaul dates back to 2003, however, when they launched the DePaul Documentary Project. The program’s many interns would go onto successful careers in broadcast news and other professions.

Marin began by talking about the most recent political event, the first 2016 presidential debate. She was was not particularly pleased with it.

“It was like roadkill, you couldn’t look at it, and you couldn’t look away … I don’t think it was like anything I have seen, in all these years,” she said.

Marin also voiced frustration at candidates from both parties claiming to be outsiders.

“They profess to be an outsider, not an insider; they’re not a politician, they’re with the people. It’s bipartisan (and) it’s a trope. It’s been used by Barack Obama, it’s been used by Bruce Rauner. My first confession to you, is that I’ve never bought it,” Marin said. “I’ve never bought ‘career politician’ as a pejorative term … Illinois has produced some great career politicians — you might call Abraham Lincoln one of them.” She also noted that making a career out of something implies a commitment to it, and a determination to make a difference.

The 30 minute speech was rife with humorous personal stories. Marin recalled the time she caught frostbite covering an outdoor event in snow-covered Iowa, because she “stupidly wore a really great pair of high heels — and I tell you they were really great shoes.”

Pulling from her years of experience, Marin enlightened the audience with a fact that is sometimes overlooked in political reporting: everyone who runs for president genuinely believes they can win.

“Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in running for President, possessed the same hubris as Donald Trump,” she said. “You have to have it. Call it a different name, if you want. Call it — I don’t know — the ‘Audacity of Hope’” she said, which sparked laughter from the audience.

Marin said she blames her parents for her inclination to be a political reporter.

“I’m a child of a divided household, and so I was born to be a political reporter,” she said. “My mother was a devout Catholic, and a Roosevelt Democrat; and my father was fallen-away Baptist, and a diehard Republican. Dinner every night of my childhood, was a food fight … my parents lived for Election Day, when they could go out to the polls and cancel each other out.

Recalling the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Marin said that her father voted for the latter, then later felt betrayed after the Watergate scandal. In the Illinois gubernatorial election that same year, her mother voted for Otto Kerner, and also felt betrayed after he was found to have taken bribes.

“It was my parents, who were my first teachers about public corruption,” Marin said, “They are the reason I won a national award for reporting illegal election shenanigans. Specifically, how then Congressman Bill Lipinski had his precinct captains falsifying nominating petitions.” Marin called the crooked practice a “time-honored tradition in Chicago.”

“We have a long and horrible history of corruption in Illinois; and if it’s changed at all, it hasn’t changed enough,” she said.

She built on this point by giving an overview of Illinois’ dire political impasse.

“In this state, I think we can genuinely talk about apocalypse. We have six month spending plan that’s about to expire––and not one to replace it; we have patchworks that are paying some of our bills; we’re (behind) a year and a half in paying medical providers. Just today we learned Chicago State’s enrollment dropped 25 percent, that is an apocalypse.”

The hyper-partisanship of the state was something Marin found to be a tremendous waste of resources: “When Bruce Rauner’s 20 million dollars in campaign donations –– mostly out of his own pocket –– and Mike Madigan’s immense multimillion dollar war chest, is spent on this cycle, will the general assembly look different? Not particularly.”

“Time and again, we see lawmakers so afraid of crossing Madigan or Rauner, that they won’t talk to us (reporters).”

Illinois is not the only state with a mistrust for the media, and Marin has seen that same sentiment on national level. She recalled driving to the Republican National Convention and seeing a sign that read, “Don’t trust the liberal media.”

“Even nonpartisan fact checking websites, with no axe to grind, are rejected. Because in the era of social media, I can go any place to find something that will verify my view — whether it’s the truth or whether it’s not.”

Marin cited the diversity of headlines, reporting angles, and writers’ opinions after the first debate as evidence that the media was not some “monolithic menace that is rigging elections.”

Despite it all, Marin was optimistic: “I love this stuff. For all the horror and all the chaos, I love this stuff. Politics is messy, but it’s also the price we pay for democracy. To be a reporter covering this territory is a gift. Made only greater by the fact that at DePaul University, this great Vincentian School, they’ve launched this wonderful Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence.”


Editor’s note: DePaulia editors Danielle Church, Deni Kamper, Rachel Hinton, Brenden Moore and Jessica Villagomez are students of Marin and center co-director Don Moseley. They were not involved in the writing or editing of this story.​

Originally published in The DePaulia.