Triberalismrnby Terry PrzybylskirnAfter three decades in which the term “liberal Democraticrnmedia” has come to seem an almost complete redundancy,rnmany students of American journalism today are norndoubt stunned to learn that, prior to the 1960’s, this nation’srnprinted press was regarded by most prominent liberals andrnDemocrats as a bastion of conservatism and Republicanism.rnWhen it came to the Chicago Tribune, at least, they had itrnright. Under the direction of its legendary publisher ColonelrnRobert McCormick, the Tribune was not simply the leadingrnvoice of Midwestern conservatism, it actually came to be, inrnmany ways, Illinois’ Republican moral equivalent of the ChicagornDemocratic bossocracy. This went beyond McCormick’srnFDR-bashing throughout the New Deal, the infamous “DeweyrnDefeats Truman” headline of 1948, or even the fact that inrn1964—nine years after the Colonel’s death—the Tribune wasrnone of only three major dailies in the nation to endorse BarryrnColdwater over Lyndon B. Johnson. The newspaper was itselfrna prime mover and shaker in Illinois Republican politics, oftenrncapable of making GOP candidates—and breaking those it didrnnot like. In 1967, the token Republican candidate for mayor ofrnChicago, unable to mount an effective campaign after thernTribune endorsed Mayor Richard J. Daley—who was actuallyrnthe more conservative of the two—groused to columnist MikernRoyko that “the Trib runs the Republican Party in this state, sornwhat could I do?” Even as late as 1970, Royko—then writingrnfor a now-defunct competitor—could complain in his anti-rnDaley book Boss that the Tribune “has one reporter who doesrnnothing but ferret out supposed left-wing involvement in thernTerry Przybylski spent eight years as a reporter and assistantrneditor for newspapers in Chicago and its suburbs.rnmembership of any organization it dislikes.” Ah, for the goodrnold days of investigative reporting.rnBut now, in Clinton’s America and in the girlhood hometownrnof Clinton’s wife, we have, as Bill and Hillary might putrnit, change. After moving slowly but steadily leftward both in itsrnnews coverage and on its editorial page for most of the Reaganrnand Bush years, the Chicago Tribune has, in the Clinton era,rnpurged the last of its conservative Republican heritage with arnvengeance and become every bit as much a member of the liberalrnestablishment media as the New York Times, the WashingtonrnPost, USA Today, and the TV networks.rnOr how else would you put it when, in the weeks before Clintonrntook office, a theater reviewer led off his article on a play entitledrnA Beggar’s IloUday by harrumphing; “What with relief inrnSomalia and summits in Little Rock and twinkly lights onrnMichigan Avenue, a person could start thinking that maybe thern80’s are truly over. Maybe rapacity’s run its course for the timernbeing, and everyone will start looking out for one anotherrnagain.” Or when a front-page story on Michael Jordan’s impactrnon the Chicago-area economy began like this: “Trickle-downrneconomics may not necessarily have worked in the Reagan-rnBush era, but something very much like it seems to be happeningrnin the Chicago region these days.” Or when a guestrncolumnist in the paper’s business section predicted a revival ofrnKeynesian economics, no less: “Keynesian ideas didn’t go awayrnin the face of the New Classical assault [italics mine]. Theyrndeepened, became subtler, sought to cope with the criticismsrnthat had been made of them. . . . President Clinton’s heart isrnso palpably in the right place that it is hard to fault him for execution.”rnOr when the obituary of a top lieutenant in thernAfrican National Congress, whose primary sponsor and fi-rnOCTOBER 1994/23rnrnrn