Analysis of CWBChicago, Citywire, and the Chicago Contrarian

CWBChicago (Crime in Wrigleyville Blog) is a website that puts out articles covering local news in Chicago related to crime, the police, and the justice system. In general, CWBChicago publishes stories that slant conservatively. The website’s content employs law-and-order rhetoric and utilizes certain incidents to further their agenda. For example, a story from the blog had the headline “Woman carjacked in Loop as CPD says hijackings are down 70%.” The site is also keeping a count of violent incidents where the person injured or killed someone while out on felony bail. For example, CWBChicago published an article on April 26, 2021, with the headline “#37: Fellow gang member killed rapper Tray Savage while on bond for felony drug case, prosecutors say.” The purpose of this count is to build specific evidence against the movement for bail reform within the criminal justice system. In general, coverage of crime and the justice system by CWBChicago does not account for social circumstances or consider the context that gives way to these incidents.

Citywire is another website covering local news in Chicago. The coverage of crime by Citywire also tends to be police-friendly and based on a law-and-order ideology. For example, one headline from Citywire articles read “‘‘They can’t get away from it’ – Nightmare summer taking its toll on CPD.” This headline paints the CPD as victims, overworked by unrelenting violence during the summer in Chicago. This kind of story does not inform a reader of the social context that is contributing to the violence in Chicago. It doesn’t place the “nightmare summer” into a historical context either. Is this a particularly violent summer, or does violence in Chicago always spike in the warmer months? Similarly, another story was published on the Citywire website on August 25, 2020, with the headline “Former Columbia student, Second City employee charged with assaulting officer with skateboard.” This article also fails to establish an accurate context for this incident. The article reads, “rioting and looting on the weekends in Chicago have become commonplace over the past several months.” The story does not acknowledge the protests and social uprisings of the early summer following the murder of George Floyd in June 2020. Instead, it mentions only “rioting” and “looting.”

The Chicago Contrarian is a third website that publishes commentary on local Chicago issues. However, this site is an entirely biased blog that spreads disinformation and includes personal opinion as fact in articles. One headline of a recent article reads “Chicago’s Unscrupulous Media Cooks up Another Fiction.” The article went on to claim that the “liberal media” was making up fictional stories about anti-Asian hate crimes in Chicago. This article focused on a particular incident that occurred in Logan Square when a man drove his pick-up truck into a group of picnickers. The Contrarian article says that news outlets reported the man driving the truck was yelling anti-Asian slurs. The article then says that the original witness was unsure of what the man said, and no other witnesses could corroborate their initial claim. The article reads “news outlets refused to let facts get in the way of their agenda and even started to simply report that ‘other news agencies’ were reporting anti-Asian slurs.” An article from the Chicago Tribune about the incident reads “a 57-year-old motorist apparently angered by ‘yuppies with dogs’ allegedly yelled anti-Asian comments before slamming into a group of friends enjoying a birthday picnic, seriously injuring a woman in Logan Square.”

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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