Sunday, May 02, 2004

Crooked journalists

Unless you're a crime buff or an old Chicagoan you probably haven't heard of Jake Lingle. He was a popular journalist with the Chicago Tribune who was murdered in 1929.

Ha - it turns out that Lingle was crooked:
In the wake of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, the police cracked down on many organized crime activities in Chicago. One of the gambling dens that was closed was the Sheriden Wave Tournament Club. A year later, Zuta and his gambling partners were ready to reopen the plush gambling casino. When the Chicago Tribune's Lingle got word of this he became greedy and let Zuta know that he wanted $15,000 up front, or 50 percent of the net for protection. Zuta balked at Lingle's demands. When Zuta refused to pay, Lingle told him, "If this joint is opened up, you'll see more squad cars in front ready to raid it than you ever saw in your life before."

The murder of the popular Lingle created sensational headlines in Chicago and the Tribune printed daily that a $55,000 reward was available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer. The public's outrage at the killing caused a police crackdown on all of the gangs in Chicago.
For some time now we've heard that Saddam Hussein allegedly liked buying journalists because they were so cheap. Now Instapundit links this, which apparently names some names of corrupt journalists.

So what's the appropriate punishment? Given all the braying we hear at the slightest impact on the First Amendment, and that these people were manipulating public opinion against the public interest, such journalists ought to get penalized as they would have if they had committed treason.

OTOH, I wonder if any of them ever tried pulling Lingle's trick on Saddam Hussein? Gosh, what do you suppose he would have done? Seriously, have there been any mysterious disappearances of journalists in the Middle East?

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