PI Original Mose Buchele Monday July 28th, 2008, 3:39pm

Todd Stroger's Word Salad

It's not uncommon for an unpopular politician to take a "shoot the
messenger" stance against the media. Last spring when Cook County Board
President Todd Stroger was embroiled in controversy over his hiring of
friends and family he dismissed the accusations ...

It's not uncommon for an unpopular politician to take a "shoot the messenger" stance against the media. Last spring when Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was embroiled in controversy over his hiring of friends and family he dismissed the accusations against him, saying that he was the victim of an overzealous local press. Stroger said he would respond to complaints about nepotism (and the county tax hike) not by re-evaluating county administration or sitting down with his political opponents, but through a massive public relations push. Here's how he laid it out in an interview with CBS2's Mike Flannery:

"I don't think that most people understand the county and what we do. We will try to let them know in the future. We are working on a cable station. We'll be working on passing out little newsletters about what is happening in the county, and that has also been one of the political issues."

In our coverage of Stroger's comments, we pointed to his cable access show -- "A Look Inside Cook County" -- as a sign of things to come.

But now it appears that one of the board president's efforts to re-shape the media landscape has ended badly. Very badly. Last November, the Stroger administration gave $24,999 to a publishing company to produce Cook County magazine, which would provide "regular, positive press -- to counter-balance negative press often found in the mainstream media." As the Sun-Times notes, $24,999 is "one dollar under the amount that would have required the approval of the full Cook County Board."

Unfortunately for Stroger, the magazine's first issue -- which features a profile of his father and predecessor John Stroger -- will never see the light of day. The administration has opted not to release Cook County because it contains too many spelling and grammatical errors:

Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins said he has 5,000 copies of the issue in his office -- and that's where they'll stay.

"I was asked to review it and decided not to distribute it -- not because of content, but errors and omissions in the article" about John Stroger, Mullins said. "Judging on grammatical stuff -- something misspelled or that's not a complete sentence -- falls back on the president. And this is a Cook County magazine. I have to find a way to get rid of them. I'm not distributing them."

Apparently, $24,999 doesn't buy you a proofreader.

Meanwhile, the Sun-Times' Mark Konkol has done us all a great service by reprinting the Orange Crab Salad recipe from the never-to-be-seen inaugural issue. Konkol writes: "I figure taxpayers deserve at least a peek at what they paid for."

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