Friday, August 17, 2012

The Tribune's Redeye: Chicago's Newspaper for Dummies

It will soon be 10 years since the Chicago Tribune launched it's throwaway free Redeye tabloid. Those are the papers you see in those little red boxes on street corners throughout the city and nearby suburbs.

The Redeye: A newspaper for blithering idiots

We used to refer to the Redeye as "Chicago's newspaper for dummies." But a perusal of the August 8th issue has compelled us to admit our error.

Redeye is not Chicago's newspaper for dummies. It is Chicago's newspaper for complete blithering idiots.

Before launching into a scathing critique of this alleged newspaper, we must first answer the question that is, no doubt, nagging the reader: Why would literate, sentient beings like you even bother to pick up the Redeye if it is so stupid?

The answer is twofold: First -- the weather and Second -- kindling.

The first vaguely saving characteristic of this rag is that it prints little 3 day weather forecasts. They are in the form of cutesy cartoons with inane comments on the prognostication, but they do tell you the projected weather. It is probably gleaned from the Tribune's Tom Skilling which explains why the predictions are at least 40% correct.

Secondly, in certain months of the year, we find ourselves starting wood fires. This requires newspaper to kindle the pencil-sized kindling sticks, which in turn ignite the logs.

With fewer people subscribing to newspapers, it is becoming increasingly hard to find newsprint in alley recycling bags. Hence, a trip to the corner red box will yield 8 or 10 copies of Redeye, which serve to do the trick. (The Tribune's Hoy free Spanish paper will also work.)

But beyond that, there is no legitimate reason for picking up the Redeye, unless you are a total nincompoop.
The Red Eye: Music news, booze news
 and non-stop Kim Kardashian news

Take the August 8th edition.

With Syria embroiled in a bloody civil war that could ignite the volatile Mideast, with Motorola laying off another 300 Chicago area workers, with constitutionally unsettling issues haunting the ongoing Drew Petersen murder trial the Redeye devoted it's front page, lead story to the pressing issue of: "Breakup Ahead -- 6 signs you might be headed for a love interruption."

Then page 3 treats the reader to an analysis of NPR's list of teenager's favorite books -- Harry Potter, The Hobbit and the Catcher in the Rye made the list. We really needed to know that.

Then California girl, Tracy Swartz's regular CTA column on page 4 (they couldn't find a Chicagoan for this?) analyzes the relative urine stink levels at assorted CTA El stations.

Then on pages 6 and 7 you get the front page-touted 2 page spread on love affair breakup signs. And then finally the news on page 8. I say news, but at the Redeye, they really should be called "news nuggets." All they really consist of are 1 line blurbs on assorted area train derailments, knife attacks and oddball assaults.

Redeye news reports are basically abridged versions of USA Today news tidbits, if you can envision that.

The international coverage, which usually falls around page 10, likewise consists of 1 line notes on such esoterica as Filipino monsoons, Nigerian epidemics, and gambling developments in London.

After you've had your fill of news tidbits, it's on to Redeye's sports news nuggets, punctuated by an occasional abbreviated sports story, lifted from the Tribune and cutesy attempts at sports humor by a panel of Redeye staffers and various trendy stand up comics and other personnae  picked out for this.

Then the Redeye -- around page 19 -- gets down to its mainstays -- music, booze and Kim Kardashian coverage -- lots of it -- all the time.
The Redeye makes an excellent kindling starter

Charitably, the Redeye has no editorial page. That would be as taxing intellectually for its staff as for its readers.

Still it manages to inject a hefty dose of knee-jerk, left-wing bias into its product. Usually this consists of running handout photos from the Obama press office of Obama commenting on how cool the female star of the Batman movie was -- and running bits on George W. Bush's verbal gaffes -- even in 2012.

And I almost forgot to mention the Redeye's crossword puzzles. These truly are designed for the benefit of the mentally challenged and linguistically infantile. What can you say about a crossword puzzle that (I am not making this up) heaves up agonizing brain teasers like "Winnie the _ _ _ _" , "Mao _ _ _ Tung" and "Actor _ _ _ Cruise."?

Years ago, I boarded the Evanston Express sans reading material and thought I'd tackle the Redeye crossword for diversion. What a joke! Beginning at the South Blvd. station, I had it solved by Jarvis -- 3 stops away.

But there you have it --  Chicago's very own newspaper for complete blithering idiots, soon celebrating its 10th anniversary.

In the history of the Republic there have been some very formidable journalistic endeavors, which have contributed greatly to the improvement of our national civic life.

The Christian Science Monitor of the Godfrey Sperling era, the International Herald-Tribune of the Hemingway/Wm. Shirer eras, the Sacramento Bee during its Libertarian days and even the Chicago Tribune and New York Times of the first half of the 20th century.

Those were newspapers for the ages.

But the Redeye too, is a newspaper for the ages ---

ages 5 thru 12.


  1. With fewer people subscribing to newspapers, it is becoming increasingly hard to find newsprint in alley recycling bags. Hence, a trip to the corner red box will yield 8 or 10 copies of Redeye, which serve to do the trick. (The Tribune's Hoy free Spanish paper will also work.)

    I am laughing my ass off. You need to send this too the RedEye (and Hoy!). And what's even funnier, is I haven't done the Soduku in it in probably 3 years and I never read it, but I still have home delivery. Everyday I tell myself, probably the only person in Chicago that gets home delivery of the BrownEye (it really is Chicago's newspaper of the love that dareth not be spoken of 15 or so years ago), that I am going to call them up and cancel. And everyday I forget. And at 4:30 when I am getting ready to leave work, I look at it laying on my office floor where I dropped it when I got in, still in the home delivery bag, and think to myself "I forgot cancel it again". Just the presence of the paper makes you stupider. I could never use a word like presence in the presence of the RedEye, it's not possible. Tomorrow I'll leave it outside the door at work.

    Great post.

    1. REDEYE FREE HOME DELIVERY!!?? Thank you for the tip, I didn't even know that was possible, but now that you, so kindly pointed this out, I'm going to sign up forthwith.

      That way not only will my firewood be home delivered by the wood merchants from the hinterlands, but the Tribune Corp. will deliver the newspaper needed to light the kindling right to my door at no charge.

      I think you have inspired me to do a separate article on free Redeye home delivery. Can I get the Hoy home delivered too? -- there are always uses around the house for newspaper.

  2. I wish I had time to respond two weeks ago but I am sure they will deliver "Hoy!" for probably the same price I pay for home delivery of the BrownEye.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.