My word. ABC News has noticed the problem that Chicago has with our Englewood neighborhood. (Interestingly, somehow, nobody noticed Englewood when it had between three and five serial killers running through the neighborhood. But I suppose that's not relevant.) ABC did a piece on Englewood as part of their "Critical Condition" series on health care, this time on Nightline.
Of course, they do get one or two facts wrong.
ABCNEWS.com : Chicago Suburb Fights Own War (ABCNews.com, Nightline, October 20/21, 2003): Americans are randomly shot, assaulted and murdered in broad daylight, on a daily basis. The number of victims continues to increase as violence erupts without warning. Many on patrol question how long they have to be there and how bad will it get before they leave.
This is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. This is the war on a different kind of terror, much closer to home, the kind that has been afflicting residents of Englewood, on Chicago's South Side, for decades. In Englewood, there are more gangs dealing drugs, more murders, and more shootings — not to mention more sexual assaults — than just about anywhere else in Chicago. The alarming number of sexual assaults will surprise no one in Englewood since there are more registered sexual predators living in this neighborhood than anywhere else in the city.
Englewood isn't a suburb, it's a neighborhood within the city. That, however, is a very minor quibble, and it's not a mistake that they made on the broadcast show itself.
Within the televised piece, they also repeated the vile calumny in which two young children were accused of raping and murdering an eight year old girl. It was proven without the case even going to court that those children could not have murdered her, that they were too young to have raped her. (To be sure, they did not directly repeat the information themselves. They rebroadcast one of the old local news items from before the boys were proven not to have committed the crime. Still, it's clear that they did so for the sensational value, to illustrate the crime problem. Otherwise, they could have run with one of the many later pieces that simply noted that the murder of a child was still unsolved. Shoddy, shoddy work to do that.)
Leaving those factual issues, the piece itself was very interesting. I hadn't realized the depth and breadth of the situation in Englewood, or the things that people were doing to try to fight it.
As it turns out, WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio did an indepth series about local health care in 1999, called simply Examining Health. (RealPlayer required to listen to the shows.) WBEZ did a piece specifically focusing on that beleaguered community, called Community Health in Englewood" (again, RealPlayer requird), which also mentioned the things happening at St Barnard's hospital. Many of the things discussed in the Nightline piece come well after the Chicago Matters radio piece, obviously.
The Nightline piece is weirdly short, for something that's a half hour long. Of the 22 minutes devoted to programming in a half-hour show, they seemed to spend about 17 minutes outlining the problems, and only four minutes discussing the various things that people were doing to work with the issues. (One minute to pump tomorrow night's piece and the other things in their unified presentation of the problems with health care in the US, from Good Morning America through World News Tonight and then to Nightline. It was a very busy promo.) It was just enough to tease you with the concept that people were doing something, but not enough to let you know how well it seemed to be working.Posted by iain at October 21, 2003 12:39 AM