How a ‘horrible decision’ cost Wiser dream job at Chicago Sun-Times


Who knows? At another time or another place, maybe a talented writer like Paige Wiser (pictured above) might have gotten off with a reprimand or a suspension. But not anymore. And not at the Chicago Sun-Times.

When confronted this week with an unquestionable lapse in the “accuracy and honesty” of her reporting, Wiser knew right away that it was all over for her after 17 years of otherwise unblemished work at the paper.

“They’re laying off people left and right — good, good people,” she said after her firing Thursday. “So to go easy on somebody like me, I just don’t think they could do it.”

Wiser, 40, who most recently had been the Sun-Times’ TV critic, was busted after a reader alerted editors to her review of a pop music concert — last Friday’s performance of Glee Live! at the Allstate Arena. In it, Wiser referenced one song that wasn’t performed at the show and another that she wasn’t around to see or hear. “Accuracy and honesty in reporting are essential parts of the promise we make to our readers,” editor-in-chief Don Hayner wrote in an online announcement of her dismissal. “We regret the incident and apologize.”

Wiser doesn’t dispute the facts or take issue with her punishment, saying: “I’m just mortified. I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed. I fully understand how wrong it was what I did. And how stupid.”

So how did it happen? Wiser said she’d been under intense pressure, citing chronic headaches, a car accident in which she’d broken a finger, and an experience with vertigo while covering Oprah Winfrey’s May 17 Farewell Spectacular from a skybox at the United Center. As a result of that experience, she felt she’d disappointed her colleagues by failing to carry out her assignment properly that night.

She reluctantly agreed to cover Glee Live! only after her editor said she could bring her 7-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son to the show. When her daughter became ill and began throwing up into a cotton-candy bag, Wiser said she decided to leave halfway through the concert and take her children home.

“If I were smart, I would have written only about the part of the concert that I saw,” she said. “But after my complete failure of covering the Oprah spectacular, I just felt like that would call attention to me in a bad way. So I went home and I looked at set lists online and added those to my review. The one holdover from the last tour was Don’t Rain on My Parade, but apparently they did not play that song. They’d changed the set list the show before.

“Of course I was in the wrong. I made a horrible decision at 1am when I was tired, but I know it was not worth throwing away a career. After the Oprah incident, I felt this one had to be solid. But I have no excuse. I know the rules.”

Until recently, the Sun-Times had made special accommodations for Wiser by allowing her to work from her far northwest suburban home to avoid what she called a “three-hour commute.” But after a recent round of layoffs left her department more short-handed than ever, she was told she had to come in to the office each day.

“Trying to do this with the kids and a three-hour commute, and when every editor wants something different, let’s just say it’s become a very strange place. And because there’s not a lot of people with kids at the paper, I’m a little sensitive about coming across like I can’t do it because of my kids.”

Veteran Sun-Times staffers recalled an incident in 1986 involving reporter Patricia Smith, who was disciplined but not fired after writing an inaccurate story about an Elton John concert she falsely claimed to have attended. Years later Smith was fired from her job as a columnist for the Boston Globe for fabricating interviews and information.

Others were reminded of former NBC 5 reporter Amy Jacobson, who was criticized for bringing her two young children with her to go swimming while she interviewed a man whose wife was missing and presumed murdered. Jacobson was fired in 2007 after a rival station aired videotape of her in poolside attire at the man’s house.

Before she was named TV critic in 2009, Wiser held a variety of jobs in the features department, including as writer of Planet Paige, a Sunday column that looked at the quirkier side of the news. A lifelong Chicagoan, she holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. Her husband, Jim Wiser, is producer of Greg Jarrett’s morning show on Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM (720).

If there is a silver lining in all this, Wiser hopes she’ll find it: “It might not be the worst thing in the world to take a breath and look around. And think what you want your life to be. But how do you walk away from the job of your dreams? You never would. I never looked for another job because I knew nothing else would be as fun.”

  1. Garry

    June 10, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Paige makes one mistake and gets canned, but Sneed makes many mistakes every week and often prints outright lies to further some buddy of hers agenda and never gets fired. No wonder the ST is on its way to going out of business!

  2. Aaron

    June 10, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Yeah, Sneed is terrible, but who actually knows if Wiser hasn’t been fabricating the entire time? All of a sudden when she got called on it is when it happened to become a perfect storm. She’s a scum reporter.

  3. Squidward & Wadstein

    June 10, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Ethics schmethics. Fired over stretching the truth about a “Glee Live” show? Sheeeesh! Hope they threw in the equally heinous charge of taking too many paper clips home from the office.

  4. Mike L.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Great column Mr. Feder. I feel bad for Paige. I had to laugh when I read a blog on this subject by Larz over at Chicagoland Radio and Media. He chastised Ms. Wiser with this comment:
    “Paige Wiser made a monumental judgment error by submitting a sub-par article with glaring inaccuracies….”
    Seems a little harsh coming from a blogger who has been caught publishing several mistakes over the years.

  5. Jon

    June 10, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Fabricating information is a cardinal sin but with staffers everywhere being asked to carry near impossible workloads, I can understand her rationale. The column is due, it’s 1 am, you botched a big one–again–so you cross your fingers and hope for the best. Print journalism is dying and those left behind are being stretched to ludicrous degrees to make budgets work. I’ve seen friends at different pubs around town, and big names, writing in areas so far out of the areas of their expertise it’s laughable. Good luck to Paige. It was just a concert review. Worse journalistic sins take place at many known pubs every day.

  6. Vince

    June 10, 2011 at 1:20 am

    The (SOME-TIMES) Is On Life Support, Why Don’t They Just Pull The Plug, And Stop This NonSense.

  7. Photex

    June 10, 2011 at 1:37 am

    She made one big mistake, but her immediate explanation/admission of guilt restores her credibility to me – nobody ever does that – what’s wrong with her?! I would’ve blamed it on drugs or booze – gone into rehab – then come back.

  8. greg

    June 10, 2011 at 2:34 am

    who cares? except for a few drooling geezers, nobody reads newspapers. wake up call for everyone in the so-called news business: any kid with an internet connection can do your job. you have no value; you have no real-world skills. the good news is that McD’s is hiring.

  9. ChiTownGal

    June 10, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Let’s see…she’s a major-market newsperson married to a major-market radio guy…AND SHE COULDN’T AFFORD A SITTER while “on assignment”? She’d only take on a job if she could bring the kids with her?
    One more reason why I’m glad she’s gone. Her narcissistic approach to her “craft” was/is an irritant thjat should have been reined in long ago.
    No, Paige, it’s called Planet Earth, and it’s not about you.

  10. Dean

    June 10, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Cancel my subscription. I’m done. To put that much pressure on someone…then use it to fire her is just wrong. See you in Facebook Page.

  11. JennaRox

    June 10, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Perhaps this is for the best. If the job is too much pressure, it’s time to walk away. Especially with raising a young family.

  12. JohnO

    June 10, 2011 at 5:33 am

    And yet they continue to allow a hack like Richard Roeper to keep on proving that there still is a big market for mediocrity.

  13. Linda Shafran

    June 10, 2011 at 5:52 am

    I have always respected Paige – and still do! She is one of the good TV writers and I am sorry to see her go. It is the Sun Times loss and I will miss her reporting.

  14. Amy

    June 10, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I wasn’t a big fan of Paige but I understand what she did. There is way too much pressure on the reporters now that they have cut so much of the staff. I barely bother with the Suntimes anymore.
    And JohnO you are damn right. Richard Roeper can’t write period. His “style” is terrible and he can’t seem to do one column on the same subject anymore: “Three columns for the price of one…”. BS.

  15. Wink Winkle

    June 10, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I throw up in a cotton-candy bag every morning. Big deal.

  16. Doug D.

    June 10, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Why would anyone, especially someone in the Chicago media, live three hours from the city. Or even twenty minutes. Oh yeah….For the record, I get all my news from reputable websites and only turn on TV news on when there’s a live, “breaking news” story happening. I also like getting a newspaper every day and hate to see them dying. OK, I drool, but I’m not a geezer.

  17. Radiohead

    June 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    With all due respect and admiration for Paige’s work over the years, I get tired of suburbanites complaining about their commute. You work in the city and chose to live in the ‘burbs — and not a close-in town like Oak Park or Evanston where many other media folks reside. Still, a reprimand seems more appropriate in this case.

  18. rcb fl

    June 10, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Couldn’t Jimmy “Bud” Wiser watch the children? Spend some quality time with his kids instead of baby sitting for “Chicago” Greg? Reporters have suddenly become whiners.

  19. Be Accountable

    June 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Her entire review of Glee Live! could have been summed up as:
    “Fans throw up witnessing Glee Live”

  20. Twofer

    June 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Perhaps her husband can get the boot at WGN because the show he produces each morning for the insufferable Greg Jarrett is as bad as her weak mea culpa.

  21. curbstone cutup

    June 10, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Cotton Candy for the kids, YIKES !!! What will Michelle “My Belle” Obama say?

  22. Nora

    June 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

    I personally enjoyed her light hearted column and reviews. She added humor and was sweet. She basically was the last glimmer of good in the Suntimes. When I think of who’s left I will have to cancel the thing. I just get aggravated reading Mitchell, Steinberg and Sneed. Brown is OK. The editorial staff are so far left. It makes that hard to read too. Will miss Paige, hope she lands somewhere better.

  23. Mr Nauseated

    June 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

    You have to respect Paige Wiser for the way she took ownership of her actions, admitted she was wrong, and didn’t minimize it with excuses. She’s stretching herself VERY thin in this season of life with small kids, so maybe the end result is for the best.
    I wish her and her family well. I hope she finds her niche as time goes by. The Sun Times probably isn’t long for this world anyway…

  24. Chicago Mark

    June 10, 2011 at 8:25 am

    After almost 25 years, it was most gratifying to read in Robert’s presentation today about Patricia Smith’s review of Elton John. I always knew she wasn’t there, but didn’t know exactly what to do about it back then. To the best of my knowledge this was never made public until this morning. Of course, she was allowed subsequently to continue on for some years until other journalistic misjudgements emerged as Robert mentions.
    It’s just too bad for all of us who love the papers that Paige’s life and career were in this day and age not a good mix.
    Well, good luck to her and everyone at The Sun Times, and hopefully problems such as these wll be taken care of with a little more understanding on both sides.

  25. EricNester

    June 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Interesting, Rob, that this appears to be a somewhat sympathetic column for Ms. Wiser, when 100% accuracy in writing is one of the tenets you hold above most others. A Medill mulligan?

  26. Scotto

    June 10, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Whatever the right or wrong of what the Sun-Times and Paige Wiser have done in this incident, she’s handling it the right way: owning up to the mistake, with no whining or excuses. That should help her come out of this well.

  27. Lake

    June 10, 2011 at 9:02 am

    She has a 3 hour commute, she has kids, she has a lot of EXCUSES. If you have a husband pawn off the kids on him sometimes and while you’re at it move into the city and walk to work. Unemployment is at 9% and you’re whining about your friken commute. Well enjoy your free time now.

  28. Hawk

    June 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    You know I love you, ChiTownGal, but do you think maybe “major market” isn’t so major anymore? Love the modest “poolside attire” from a post which uses “sh–” when necessary. Am very impressed with the Sun-Times’s devotion to accuracy. Now when are they going to start quoting athletes verbatim instead of dressing up their statements in Fourth Estate attire?

  29. Perry's Wife

    June 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Why is it even necessary to review a lip-synced show?

  30. Robert

    June 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Couldn’t Time Out Chicago use a seasoned former tv/features writer?….Huh??

  31. Duncan Hines

    June 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  32. Riles

    June 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

    The key phrase here is “If I was smart …” She wasn’t. She should have written ONLY about the part of the concert she saw and avoided writing the FICTION that she led readers to believe is FACT.
    Easy solution, Planet Paige: Write the TRUTH, which is what you were paid to do. Lie to readers, it costs you your job. That’s taught in any intro journalism class. Don’t give us this garbage about “too much pressure.” Hundreds of reporters file under deadline in this city every day with more pressure on them than covering freaking “GLEE LIVE!”
    The bottom line is this: Don’t lie. Sadly, it took Planet Paige 40 years to learn this. Good riddance!

  33. sundevilpeg

    June 10, 2011 at 9:46 am

    “She has a 3 hour commute, she has kids, she has a lot of EXCUSES.” Don’t forget the broken finger. And the headaches. *rolls eyes*
    Somehow, I think the 3-hour-commute thing is also a bit of an exaggeration, as well. Where does she live, for crying out loud? Waukesha? Madison?

  34. Chris Whitehead

    June 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I was really sorry to read this. Paige was one of the smartest, most enjoyable writers at the paper, and a very sharp thinker. Plus, she was fun to work with. I wish her all the best.

  35. Baskett Mosse's Handbook

    June 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I’m pretty sure her fabrications could get her a job as the dean at the Medill School of Journal–, er, excuse me, the Medill School of Marketi–, er excuse me, the Medill School of Spin. Is that what it’s called now? Not that accuracy in getting the name right matters at a school whose dean made up quotes. Or did he? I’m not about to fact-check his fact-checking.

  36. Jack

    June 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Let’s face it. The real reason she was fired was so that the Sun-Times can save some money by eliminating her salary. Pretty soon all their articles will be from AP.

  37. Finn

    June 10, 2011 at 10:06 am

    It seems like all she wrote about were cheesy reality shows like “The Bachelorette” while other writers at other publications and on the net tackle more quality fare like “Treme” and “Game of Thrones.”
    And Riles, I could not have said it better.

  38. Jack

    June 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Makes me wonder if the ST would come down as hard on one of their other reporters for inaccurate reporting? It ain’t exactly the New York Times, and they are concerned about a review of what….Glee???

  39. Lorenzo Felix

    June 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Uh Chicago Mark #24, the news about Patricia Smith never attending the Elton John show actually was made public in 1998 in the American Journalism Review: http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?rel=ajrsineadsept98a.html

  40. MrJM

    June 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

    When Page Wiser fudges a lip-synched Glee concert review and the Sun-Times sacks her immediately. But for decades Bob Novak repeatedly included verifiability false information in his S-T columns for years to promote wars he favored and he got a warm obituary and a fond farewell.
    Many thanks to the Sun-Times making it clear when “accuracy and honesty” is important.

  41. Lorenzo Felix

    June 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Also, a fun fact involving an obscure link between Patricia Smith and Paige Wiser: both, I believe, have worked with veteran editor Scott Powers! As the AJR article (http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?rel=ajrsineadsept98a.html) from 1998 notes, Powers was Smith’s editor at the time. I do believe that Scott also was one of Paige’s instructors at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
    No matter what, I’d love to know what Mr. Powers (who’s now at the Tribune) thinks of all of this. Might he be willing to give us a comment here? (Perhaps he’s already a pseudonymous commenter here?)

  42. Rebecca Starr

    June 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I am sure that Paige will land somewhere better — she is too talented. When newspapers cut back the way the CST has, it puts way too much stress on the reporters left behind. Paige was doing more than just reviewing TV, she was also covering events – something her predecessors never had to do. She wanted to keep up her end of the bargain, and made a mistake in order to deliver what they asked. I’ll miss her from the pages of the CST, even though I was already missing her a bit when she stopped writing Planet Paige. Good luck Paige, I’ll be pulling of you!

  43. Historian

    June 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    What Paige did was wrong…..but let’s put things into perspective here.
    This is the same newspaper that in 1995, it’s then editor of the editorial pages, Mark Hornung plagarized a column from the Washington Post….he wrote an apology, explained what he did, and was terminated from his role as Editorial Page editor, only to be handed the Vice President of Circulation position at the Sun-Times. He plagarizes, and get rewarded with a VP position. From there he was again rewarded with a promotion to President & Publisher’s position of the Daily Southtown.Talk about disfunction. Granted the paper was under diffrent ownership back then ( Radler & Black), yet the masthead on the front of the paper was the same…CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Amazingly enough, Mark wound up being the central figure in the Sun-Times circulation scandle IN 2004, which cost the newspaper millions of dollars……nice. To the Sun-Times credit, they did finally terminate Mark Hornung. Better late than never.
    In 2008, with the current Sun-Times COO firmly entrenched in that same role, the then head of Information Technology department at the Sun-Times gets busted having drunken sex with a co-worker at 1am, in a conference room at the Sun-Times building on Orleans. No problem there, as the head of IT remained in his role for the better part of the next year until he resigned to take a position outside the market. His sex partner, also from the IT department is still gainfully employed by the Sun-Times in their IT department.
    My point is that a sexuael harrasment insident can be covered up by the current COO and others ranging from the then CEO, to the HR department, but Paige Weiser loses her job.
    Again, what Paige did was wrong…a reprimand, perhaps a suspension, an apology, but to loose her job over this when drunk department heads are banging their also drunk employees on Sun-Times property at 1am in the morning (maybe it was midnight) is crazy.
    Unfortunately, that’s how the current COO rolls….if you’re ” in the club” they cover for you, if you’re not in the club, you’re gone. Talent, seniority, performance, none of it counts, if you’re not a member of the club. If you’re in the club, regardless of talent, or lack of talent….you’re safe.
    It is really a shame….it’s a shame that the current investor group at the Sun-Times does not wake up and fix this double standard of a mess that starts with the COO.
    Paige will be fine, and like everybody else before her, will realize that there is life after the Sun-Times.
    It’s just unfortunate that they don’t provide a level playing field. The rules are differennt, for everyone….it just depends who you are….sad, very sad.

  44. Ed

    June 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Yep, Roeper is a no talent hack who has been at the Times for 25 years, has several other gigs and tons of money. So, how long have you people taking shots been writing columns, reviewing movies and hosting radio shows? As far as what happened to Paige goes, her kid got sick. If she had stayed, what would people be saying?

  45. DeJordy

    June 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

    If you don’t want a three-hour commute, don’t move to a place that is a three-hour commute away. Of course, I am guessing she means round-trip, and I am guessing she is exaggerating by about an hour. Almost any northwest suburb is accessible by a train ride one hour or less, and it is walkable to the Sun Times, especially Oglevie.

  46. Funny

    June 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

    It’s funny how Paige loses her job, and Stella Foster recieves a lifetime achievement award for writing (if that’s what you want to call it) for less than 10 years…Kup would be rolling over in his grave. Stella took a tremendous column and turned it into a who’s who among Stella’s black friends.
    Yeah, thats right…I said it.

  47. bruce wolf

    June 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Confession.
    I didn’t see John Paxson’s three-point shot that sealed the Bulls’ first three-peat in Phoenix. But I reported on it as if I had.
    So did everyone else in Chicago broadcasting. We were all standing by the Bulls lockerroom waiting to get in in case of a victory. So we couldn’t see the game. There wasn’t even a TV there. Someone ran down the hallway and yelled that Paxson had hit the three. It was kind of like Paul Revere warning the British and the colonists. “One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Johnny P.”
    Everyone in Chicago except the people who were reporting on it saw that shot.
    We acted like we were authorities. We weren’t even observers.
    We should all be hanged.

  48. Saul

    June 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    To JohnO: The only people who call other writers (or comics) “hacks” are disgruntled failures. Nobody in the real world uses that term. How long have you been an unemployed or underachieving journalist? I’ll bet it’s two decades at least.
    Calling Roeper a hack because you’re jealous doesn’t make it so. Look at Wikipedia and the publications he’s written for. Yeah they hire hacks.

  49. JZ

    June 10, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Who’s to say she isn’t fabricating her excuse? Sounds like she wants everyone to climb aboard the pity train. C’mon Paige, the truth will set you free!!!

  50. Amy

    June 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Saul: This made be a shock to you but just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them a “failure” or a want to be journalist.

  51. Mike G.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Considering such bad judgement of someone who is supposed to be a professional, how do we know something like this hasn’t happened with her before? Perhaps her 17 years of “unblemished work at the Sun~Times” hasn’t been so unblemished after all… it’s just that this time she got caught.
    Fabricating facts in journalism has to be unacceptable. It calls into question everything else the writer has done and reflects negatively on the journalistic integrity of the publication. The Sun~Times had no other choice.

  52. Tom

    June 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    She screwed up big time. She deserved to be fired. I’m tired of local media being treated like superstars.

  53. Jon

    June 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Good point Mike G. She may have been giving you misinformation regarding ‘Mad About You’ for several decades. I think a complete audit of her previous columns is in order to determine the full extent of the damage. Think about it: You may have been, based on Wiser’s advocacy, watching ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ when in fact your time would have been far better spent on a ‘Touched by an Angel’ rerun.

  54. Ed

    June 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Amy–its “may be’, not made be and wannabe not want to be. check yourself before you correct others.

  55. Garry

    June 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    #46: Kup destroyed his own column long before he retired & turned it over to Stella, his long time assistant. Kup was infamous for deliberately printing the wrong info on someone one day, just so he could “correct” it the next day, thus giving the flack that gave him the info a twofer.
    As for Paige, she has a 3 hour round trip commute, based on where she lives.

  56. ssimon

    June 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Bob, I have a question: Will you find out if the editor who allowed her to bring her children to a work assignment was reprimanded? She was wrong but the editor was wrong as well. He/she allowed for her to be distractied by her children instead of focus on the assignment. Oh, @ Tom: She didn’t screw up “big time.” She actually attended the concert. Screwing up “big time” would have been not attending and writing like she had attended. I would have suspended but not fired her. She used bad judgement. She didn’t totally deceive anyone.

  57. Martin Jacobs

    June 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    There’s a special place in Hell for journalists who submit falsified or made-up work as legitmate, and then get caught at it. She already had one foot in Hell dealing with her sick puking kids at a “Glee” concert. How much worse can her life now be? Paige Lite is now Paige Crap.

  58. Ted G

    June 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    In the old days, this never would have happened. She’d be reprimanded and a correction would be written and that’s that. Editors are gun shy now because the wired world allows every screwball with an opinion to scream about something under stories, making even minor mistakes seem like some kind of terrible error.
    So she made a mistake. Whatever happened to editors standing behind their staff? Loyalty went out of the news business long ago. Mistakes are bad, but intent and context matters, or at least it’s supposed to.
    I’m not from Chicago, never heard of this lady before today, but I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career. Only the most ignorant think mistakes are unforgivable. Perhaps there’s more to this. Despite the layoff landscape, maybe she and the editors had a bad relationship. Who knows.
    Bottom line: When you fire staff like this, you call more attention to a mistake than if you’d simply corrected it and moved on. Dumb.

  59. Mike G.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    #47 – Bruce The difference of course being that the three-point shot you reported on, actually happened. Not the case for some of the particulars of this reporter’s fabrication of events.

  60. ChiTownGal

    June 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Mike – Yes, I’m suspecting that the higher-ups at ST may have been unsatisfied with the quality of Paige’s work for some time now, and were just waiting/looking forthe moment in which she’d provide “enough rope.”
    I think something similar may have been going on several years ago at the Trib, which hired a certain columist away from ST in the 1980s. They may have been growing suspicious/disgusted with the constant rumors about this person’s prediliction for young ladies (and the decreasing quality of his columns) and finally showed him “the Green(e) Door” when one such story became too strong to be ignored.

  61. Vince

    June 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    This is truly capital punishment for a misdemeanor. Given the offenses cited above and the incredible self-serving lies and deceptions served up by the gossip columnists on a regular basis, this is not even small potatoes, it’s microscopic potatoes. Mitch Albom “survived” a very similar incident at the Free Press (reporting that someone was at a game who wasn’t there), and although his reputation may have been dinged, it didn’t hurt him in any significant way and, of course, there was no suggestion that he be fired. Paige should not be embarrassed. The people who should be embarrassed are the ones who selectively used this incident as an excuse to fire her.

  62. ChgoSista

    June 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Where can I send in my resume?

  63. Sandy Lynn

    June 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    #8 You’re making a big mistake if you believe every “news” blogger on the Internet. It takes more than an opinion and a website to become a trustworthy source of information. That’s what journalism is about — accuracy, trust and honesty. I hope the Sun-Times can get through these hard times and keep delivering the news we can trust.

  64. Jon

    June 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Albom didn’t get fired because his personal brand is probably worth more than that of the Detroit Free Press. He probably makes up for 50 percent of their readership. He could bludgeon his editor with a mace and not be fired.

  65. Fred Schneider

    June 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Has no one yet made a joke about Paige hopefully being “the Wiser” for this error in judgment?

  66. PK

    June 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Paige was the last entertaining writer at a paper that used to differentiate itself with them. She wrote about a lot of fluff that I didn’t care about, but made it amusing enough for me to care till the bottom of the column. See Bruce Wolf at #47 for the rest of the sobering perspective.
    It’s just bad timing. With as bad as Jarret is, Jimmy’s bound to be out of a job soon, too, unless he just rolls over to the next host. Lesson learned: You may get a lot more livin’ for a lot less in the far northwest suburbs, but live where your livelihood is or you’ll put yourself in jeopardy. (From someone with 3 kids in a cheap one-story ranch in Des Plaines — always gainfully employed, always available for the next opportunity.)

  67. Melba Lairz

    June 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Gleesh! Toss a Slushie on the S-T! It’s a concert REVIEW, not a NEWS story. The review has no lasting importance whatsoever. It’s just a desperate attempt at relevance. I saw Saturday’s ‘Glee Live!’ and it was great fun. The arena was 75% packed with screaming teens who couldn’t recognize a newspaper and 25% adults who, like me, couldn’t give a rip about reading a review the next day.

  68. Russell Brand

    June 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t know whether or not she should have been fired, but I have always enjoyed her work. I hope she finds some place that will continue to allow her to write.

  69. Dance Music Authority

    June 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    They should definitely bring Wiser back and she deserves credit for taking full responsibility for her actions.
    We witnessed something very similar from the other paper in town and we never forgot it. In this case, a very well-respected music critic noted how wonderful a particular jazz musician sounded on clarinet, when in fact, the musician was playing a brass soprano saxophone.
    Later that week, the musician noted how the the saxophone was miraculously returned after having been stolen years ago. Most important is the fact that the this musician has NEVER played the clarinet publicly (in a concert setting) since playing in the Vegas pits in the 1970s.
    Yes, there is a superficial resemblance between a straight, brass soprano saxophone and a black, wooden clarinet, but this is totally inexcusable for a music critic. The kicker was when the critic remarked about the “rich, openness of his sound and the masterful control he exhibited in the upper register of the clarinet.”
    If one wishes to use technical terms, such as “upper register,” get the instrument right, please. ;)

  70. Ralph Greenslade

    June 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I feel a bit sorry for everyone here who seems to enjoy the opportunity to vilify Paige. It’s just too easy these days for people to hide behind fake names and throw darts at people they don’t know. Sure, even Paige admits she screwed up. Let’s hope none of you ever get caught up in something that costs you your job. I’d like to second the sentiments of my friend #34 Chris Whitehead: Paige was fun to work with. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to work with her for part of my 30-year career at the Sun-Times.

  71. fatelvistcb

    June 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Why the ST even feels the need to have a review on that “concert” I’ll never know.

  72. Fred Derf

    June 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    #54 Ed, it’s “it’s.” #59 Mike G., yes Pax’s shot actually occurred. But what’s the diff between Paige, who claimed to have seen something that didn’t happen, and the sportscasters, who didn’t see something that did happen but claimed to have seen it? It’s still fraud. For the rest see PK at #66.

  73. LeaFan

    June 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I am the reader who was responsible for taking the first action that ultimately led to Ms. Wiser’s dismissal, regarding which I take no joy or pride. I live in California and read her positive review of the Glee concert and Ms. Michele on the web. I had never heard of Paige Wiser. I, like virtually all fans of Ms. Michele, knew that “Don’t Rain On My Parade” (DROMP) had been dropped from the setlist back in San Diego, presumably to preserve her voice for the arduous tour ahead. I sent an email to Ms. Wiser the evening of 6/4, accusing her of a fabrication and asking for the email address of her editor. When she did not respond, I sent an email to her editor the morning of 6/7, after which there was an exchange of emails as I provided information (and invoked the name of Stephen Glass) that would guide her in verifying whether or not DROMP was performed in Chicago. The editor confirmed late 6/8 that it hadn’t been. Supporters of Ms. Wiser should consider the following: When did she read my initial email? What steps did she take to confirm that DROMP had not been performed? When did she discover the truth? What steps did she take to inform her editor? Did her editor confront her and, if so, what was her initial reply?
    Raised in Montreal – I’m a Canadiens fan. Grad school in Madison – I’m a Packers fan. But I love Chicago – the CSO, Ravinia, the Midnight Special, The Berghoff. Several years ago, I flew in for the Wagner Ring Cycle. So what the hell am I doing watching Glee? Two words: Lea Michele.

  74. Alan Solomon

    June 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    #70 – “It’s just too easy these days for people to hide behind fake names and throw darts at people they don’t know.” Exactly. I don’t know Paige, but I’ve enjoyed her work. I do know Jim, and he’s a terrific and talented guy. This is just a blip, guys; many of us can relate. You’ll be fine.

  75. deweydefeatstruman

    June 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Writing for a newspaper doesn’t make you a journalist. Wiser’s problem is that after a decade of penetrating columns about whether pink is a good color for cupcake frosting, someone wanted her to commit actual journalism and cover events, a task she proved unqualified for. With the journalism job market what it is, there’s no excuse to pay someone who doesn’t know better than to do what she did.

  76. Mike G.

    June 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    You might want to read the article again Jon#53. Her previous experience at the paper was not relegated to TV critic alone. She had other writing responsibilities that explored a wider range of news and features. Not to mention future assignments she may eventually have been trusted with.

  77. Shane Gericke

    June 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    She did not deserve to be fired over this. It seemed an honest error, and to those who have never made one in their jobs, I hope you run for God. I hope the reporters’ union tries to get her reinstated; Lord knows there is precedent, especially with the Mark Hornung incident.

  78. Shane Gericke

    June 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    No. 75, please consider that while Paige did write the fluff stuff–pink being a fine color for cupcakes, I must admit–the paper WANTED her to do it. Otherwise, she would not have been writing those kind of stories. Reporters do not make coverage decisions. That she was good at fluff does not make her a lesser being.
    And a shoutout to Chris Whitehead, Ralph Greenslade, Alan Solomon, Rob, and others I knew from my decade-plus at the Bright One. They were all excellent journalists, and Chris in particular was so intelligent it was scary.

  79. Smitty

    June 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Fred Schneider that ‘wiser’ pun was as big as a whale…nice one. The real question is who plays Paige in the movie? Ironically the blond in Glee (Dianna Agron) would be suitable…if she’s available, LA is a bit of a commute if they filmed on Orleans, though. The real real question is what happens first…Paige gets a new gig or The Bright One, sigh, goes under.

  80. Zack

    June 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    To No. 73 (Lea Fan), I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but how do we know that YOU’RE YOU? Just like anybody could try to fake a concert review, anybody could fake and say they gave the tip.
    I’m just saying.

  81. Alan Solomon

    June 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Hey, deweydefeatstruman, you gutless swine — what’s your real name?

  82. cathy

    June 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    This has been a long time coming. Filled with excuses for years, Ms. Wiser can rapidly pull many out of the bag. Ethics count and they should have been considered for years on many fronts.

  83. rcb fl

    June 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Hey, Alan Solomon, any relation to Andrew Solomon? Is it time for you to tell the truth?

  84. MaryVee

    June 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I think the Sun Times did the right thing in firing Wiser. What she did shows a complete lack of respect for her readers..she thought the “dummies” wouldn’t notice. But alas, they were smarter than she thought and she got caught.

  85. Zoey F.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I’m no therapist, #73 LeaFan, but you seem awfully overinvested to me, and despite your statement to the contrary, actually quite proud of your actions in getting someone fired from a job of 17 years standing. Who appointed you the “truth in journalism” police? Was Ms. Michele somehow denigrated by this review — so much so that you felt compelled to go on a vicious crusade against someone you had “never heard of?” And honestly, what does your love of Chicago and its more highbrow attractions have to do with any of this?
    I had a few professional dealings with Ms. Wiser in the past, and found her to be pleasant, smart and accommodating. Yes, in this instance she made a foolish mistake, but she isn’t the first, won’t be the last, and far worse ones are made every day. It sounds like she was under great stress as are so many (especially working mothers of young children) in this era of cutbacks and the employees who remain being stretched to the limit. I too suspect this was just a handy excuse for further cost-cutting at the Sun-Times, and I will really miss what she brought to the paper. I hope TV reviews there don’t go the way of the Tribune’s — generic pieces written by somebody at the L.A. Times or the A.P. with nothing unique or local about them.
    Anyway, this is a sad day as far as I’m concerned. I think Ms. Wiser handled this debacle as gracefully as anyone could under the circumstances, and I hope she finds another “dream job.”

  86. LeaFan

    June 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    @Zack (#80) You don’t and can’t know definitively that I am who I say I am. Nevertheless, Ms. Wiser and her editor both would know, based on the specific details I cited. What I would have done had Ms. Wiser responded to my email and explained the circumstances, especially as regards her children, as I subsequently learned of them in the above and other on-line articles, I cannot honestly say with perfect certainty. I would only caution against assuming the Sun Times acted either precipitously or in bad faith, as long as the questions I posed in my original post (#73) remain unanswered.

  87. LeaFan

    June 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    You’re right, #85 Zoey F., you’re not a therapist, even as you attempt to play one on the internet. The following is from Ms. Wiser’s review:
    “Rachel Barry (the Broadway-trained Lea Michele) made Barbra Streisand proud – and probably a little jealous – with ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade,’ a holdover and high point from the last tour. She was just as powerful, though, on cotton-candy pop like Katy Perry’s ‘Firework.’”

  88. LeaFan

    June 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Sorry, but I have to mention the character’s name is Rachel bErry, not bArry, and the idea that Babs would be “a little jealous” of Lea Michele is laughable.

  89. HWah

    June 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    She lied. She made up a story. I don’t really care why. Why no judgment from Roger? Is it just the facts when a friend does it?

  90. Rich Bordi

    June 11, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Lea Michele has succeeded in one aspect of her transparent attempt to have Streisand’s career: she has spawned at least one creepy fan. “DROMP?” Really?
    Maybe Wiser can continue her Albom career by writing a book of sappy psychology. “Tuesdays with Johnny B.” anyone?

  91. Barbara

    June 11, 2011 at 1:41 am

    So now LeaFan (#73,#80) is not only the ” “truth in journalism” police” (Zoey F. #85), but also the “what-constitutes-a-safe-opinion crossing guard” ?
    Since you are apparently chief judge/witness/prosecutor/defense counsel of the “did-the-Sun-Times-act-precipitously” court of review, please ask yourself such questions as, how much time did I allow Ms. Wiser to respond? Did I assume that she skipped the concert in its entirety? Did it even cross my mind that she might have had extenuating circumstances (that happened to involve the health and welfare of her children) that caused her to have to leave the concert after, say, only thirteen songs? If it had crossed my mind that Ms Wiser might have had a very good reason for leaving the concert before it was finished, would I have given her more time to respond to my email and justify her actions to me? What the hell does the fact that Ms. Wiser didn’t answer my email have to do with whether or not the fabricated part of the review was a firing offense? Does the editor have to justify that decision to me or any other reader? Where do I get off warning other readers not to express an opinion that is uncomfortable for me?

  92. Amy

    June 11, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Ed: I wasn’t correcting him. I was making a point. BTW correcting someone’s grammar on the internet is a very classy thing to do and not at all petty.

  93. JohnO

    June 11, 2011 at 6:35 am

    @ Ed Comment 44: I am not paid to write columns. I did not state that Roeper wasn’t successful. I stated that he is a hack. I agree that mediocrity does not translate into failure.

  94. JohnO

    June 11, 2011 at 6:47 am

    @ Saul Comment 48: I made a comment about my perception of the talent level of a public figure. My comment triggered an angry response from you, whom I believe to be a stranger to me, which was filled with insults. That is all.

  95. Ed

    June 11, 2011 at 6:53 am

    #72–touche’…Leafan, if you were really true to your word, you would out yourself on her facebook page and not here.

  96. Bruce Wolf

    June 11, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Dear Mr. Hayner,
    Now that you’ve taken great pains to ensure that Paige Wiser’s inaccurate reporting on the songs sung by a musical group was her swan song, I wonder if you would like to investigate Bill Zwecker’s claim that William F. Buckley Jr. was gay. A couple of problems: 1) you can’t libel a dead man, and 2) I’m not sure saying someone is gay constitutes libel anymore. Nonetheless, in the April 10, 2009 edition of the Sun-Times, Mr. Zwecker mentioned Buckley’s son Christopher’s book about his parents’ 57-year marriage, and then said the book left out a number of things, “including his father’s long-closeted dalliances with members of his own sex.” Now I’m no editor-in-chief, but it would seem to me that the revelation that the icon of the conservative movement in this country was gay would be cause for, oh, I don’t know, fact-checking. Don’t get me wrong. The misrepresentation of the inclusion of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” in a concert cannot be forgiven. I just want to know if my hero, William F. Buckley Jr., belonged at the head of the Gay Pride Parade.

  97. Robert McCormick

    June 11, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Wow, Bruce Wolf #96. Well put.

  98. Jim

    June 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Granted Paige was a entertainment writer, she still has a code of ethics to uphold. Think about the embedded reporters on the front lines in war…they don’t have it easy either, yet they have events to witness under the most dire situations, yet are able to write the story and tell the facts….I’m sorry Paige, your “lapse” betrayed our trust.

  99. Mike G.

    June 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Barbara#91 She could easily had incorporated her reasons for leaving the concert in her piece. Perhaps even making it more interesting entertaining or humorous in the process. But simply making up facts out of whole cloth is a cardinal sin in the journalism business. The Sun~Times knows that; and based on her own words, I suspect Ms. Wiser knows that as well.
    Home and family issues are no excuse for falsifying facts, no matter how seemingly trivial the occasion. This is an un-bendable industry policy that speaks to the credibility of both reporter and publication; and what either might be inclined to let pass in future stories perhaps far more important than this one. The Sun~Times had no choice.

  100. Perry's Wife

    June 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Unfortunately, her name is now Paige “Mud” Wiser.

  101. Rhames

    June 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Wah wah wah. I can’t sit in this press box. It’s too high. Wah wah wah. I can’t commute for three hours. Wah wah wah. I have kids and nobody else at the paper does. My life is hard! Wah wah wah.
    Sounds like an annoying complainer. I can see why they got rid of her. Now she can focus on being a mother and trying to get her kids to behave. They sound even more entitled than their mother.

  102. Jon

    June 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    After reading Wiser’s copy, I’m less convinced than ever she committed a major error. It seems somewhat like a restaurant reviewer who wrote a review, had to skip the dessert, and, at the end, threw in, ‘Don’t forget to try the delicious apple pie’ from the menu.
    It’s not good, by any means, and, yes, was very dumb, but I’m not sure if it’s exactly wrong, either. She was essentially rounding out the story with a press release (prior set list), which is hardly unprecedented.

  103. LeaFan

    June 11, 2011 at 10:17 am

    #95 Ms. Wiser and this site’s administrator both have my email address. I don’t use Facebook and I’m here to provide some background on the events to people who care. Who I am is irrelevant. I’m in California, I didn’t attend the concert, I don’t read any Chicago newspaper, I never heard of Paige Wiser, I did not fire Paige Wiser nor suggest that it be done.
    #96 WFB was gay? I knew it! Wait a minute, no I didn’t. But if he had been, he would have led the Gay Shame Parade around the living room of an Upper East Side pied a terre with Roy Cohn as the leathered lathered ringmaster. Frankly, he could have been screwing hermaphrodite albino goats for all I care, nothing comes close to the shame he should perpetually endure in his Catholic hell for writing an editorial opposing the Voting Rights Act along with his other voluminous racist rants. Vidal called him a “crypto-Nazi” to his face on TV. Mean, but accurate. [Ahh, that feels so much better after all this poor Paige debacle.]

  104. Mike

    June 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

    This reporter betrayed the readers trust with false information. Lots of excuses, but no reason is acceptable for falsifying any story. Sorry Planet Paige, I hope you teach your children better than the actions to which you have committed.

  105. Tom Susala

    June 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Too bad, I really enjoyed her columns…..I agree with Garry; that guy that took over Robert Feder’s column would make a bunch of unfounded suppositions about Garry Meier in the span between when he left WLS-AM and went to WGN and he lasted WAY too long….I even forgot that clown’s name…..

  106. LeaFan

    June 11, 2011 at 11:17 am

    #91 Barbara: Okay, fair enough, let’s talk about the children. The picture I’m getting from Ms. Wiser’s own words are of a harried, stressed-out mother. Does that mean I think a women’s only proper place is in the home? Hardly, but just maybe this particular woman’s is for at least a bit. Will her children have been harmed or helped in the short and long runs by this event? No matter what happens next, none of us will ever know as long as it remains impossible to run alternative scenarios in parallel universes. Life is messy and uncertain. There are no pure heroes or villains here.
    Most of you probably imagined Ms. Wiser was ratted out by someone who held a grudge against her. I imagined she was a young journalist sent on a trivial assignment who might grow into the next Judith Miller or Stephen Glass. Neither of these notions turned out to have any substance. And just as Ms. Wiser did not check into the most recent Glee tour reviews that would have revealed the changed setlist, I did not check into her background or writings that would have revealed she would never be in a position to do real harm. Arguments can be made both for and against these approaches – preserving independent, disinterested judgment or lazy carelessness?
    Oh, and #90 Rich: You’re a mindless, ignorant idiot. Gee, aren’t stupid ad hominem attacks fun?

  107. CHI girl in LA

    June 11, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I especially love this comment: Her entire review of Glee Live! could have been summed up as: “Fans throw up witnessing Glee Live” HA! Says so much.
    Paige “Bud” Wiser should have just fessed up and offered a correction. Are we suppose to believe reporters always get the story correct? Does Roeper always get everything right?
    But as far as the 3 hr commute- well just deal with it. Boo hoo. After living in Los Angeles for the past 2 yrs, I must say Chicago traffic is much worse and getting even worse… many cars, less expressways which creates less tolerant drivers. LA has a very poor mass transit system unless you adore busses. I lived in the burbs too– take the train!

  108. Chicago Lampoon

    June 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Can’t we just stop this fiction of journalistic ethics and journalistic accuracy once and for all? There are no standards worth mentioning in a wildly biased, dying medium that won’t even mention the racial descriptions of people who have unleashed a torrent of public disorder on the North side. Newspapers of the MSM have become simply canvases for the expression of PC fantasy. Fewer and fewer are buying it.

  109. Jon

    June 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    LeaFan, Congratulations on your big moment in life. It’s all downhill from here. But you will still have a great story to tell for the rest of your life. I’m sure your gilded invitation to the Whistleblower’s Hall of Fame is en route.

  110. Rick Klein

    June 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s that Glee fans rival Star Wars fans in terms of obsessiveness.

  111. AllisonRosatiGigglefest.com

    June 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Paige honey, here’s what I would do to regain credibility. Scrape off that “My Kid is an Honor Roll Student at ….” bumper sticker and get one that says “My Kid Puked at Glee Live”. Everyone in the neighborhood over 12 will thank you, and everyone in the industry over 25 will welcome you back. Love ya.

  112. Jason

    June 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Three hour commute??? Where does she live in Milwaukee?? I work downtown and live in the NW burbs (far NW burbs!) and it takes me only one hour to travel downtown! Is this another one of Wiser’s fallacious comments?

  113. Robert McCormick

    June 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Is it really fully 90 minutes each way from Inverness to the Sun-Times building? Maybe instead, take Metra — the way to really fly!

  114. The NW Suburban Sounds

    June 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    When One Door Closes Another Door Opens Department:
    Now she can get a job at a nice small NW suburban newspaper and walk to work!

  115. Mihal Miller

    June 12, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I believe the Wisers live in the Barrington area. This would constitute a three (3) hour plus round-trip, door-to-door commute. With both parents employed full time in downtown Chicago and two (2) small children, this does not seem to bode well for time flexibility. Also, relocation, given Ms. Wiser’s recent loss of homebound duty, would seem to have been warranted, but not really feasible. The perfect storm. It appears she rolled the dice and crapped out. It is unfortunate that her actions have not only discredited her, but bring on kneejerk and broadstroke accusations such as Chicago Lampoon’s (see above). Please name the occupations/professions that are 100% devoid of human error, “shortcutting” responsibilities, lazy work effort–lawyers, police, evangelists/clergy, auto salesmen/mechanics, politicians, (PUHLEEZ!). Ms. Wiser proved she was not up to what she proclaimed to be. Nothing more, nothing less. Unless Chicago Lampoon is the pope, and thererfore infallible, please let us know into which perfect field your career travels. Do not get to converse with perfection often.
    It really is encouraging to read all of the enjoyment many commentators here are experiencing from her unprofessional actions and their serious consequences. I did not read her column, so I do not have any thoughts on her abilities, but I get no joy from her trials, however justified.

  116. Ann

    June 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I’m sorry to see Paige go. I liked reading her columns. Best of luck to you!

  117. Gloria H.

    June 12, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Maybe that editor has a whole different side of the story and is not allowed to comment on an employee’s dismissal? That of course is what is missing from this story. After all, we just have Wiser’s word about what happened. Just a thought.
    The whole episode is sad all the way around, and even though from what I understand there has been a ton of layoffs at the S-T of people who did nothing wrong, I still have a measure of sympathy for this reporter. She made a huge error in judgment and is paying the price.

  118. Bruce Wolf

    June 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

    LeaFan, I know this may sound, er, queer, but I, too, happen to enjoy Lea Michele’s rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” and while I am proud that she has Jewish blood in her (from her father), I’d like to think I enjoy her singing because it is just beautiful. Still, I and my fellow conservatives do understand the need to be sensitive to ethnicity. Perhaps time commitments (a vomiting child?) prevented you from addressing WFB’s essay in Look Magazine in 1970 (?) on why this country needed a black president by 1980 (which would put him 28 years ahead of the country), but I forgive you for your slurs against my hero. And I am touched that you have a sense of proportion. Even you seem weary of this kerfuffle over some song and would rather attack WFB who, to the Sun-Times, was just some, oh, gayrod reactionary not worth even fact-checking on. Oh, and as a former Blackhawks fan, I still feel a twinge from Jacques Lemaire’s goal through the fog that gave the Canadiens Game 7 of the Stanley Cup 40 years ago.

  119. Jim

    June 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Too bad Paige doesn’t work for the St. Louis Post Dispatch where you can write fabricated stories that you read on internet web sites without actually having to research them.

  120. kingster

    June 12, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Looking at her photo, it’s obvious that she didn’t get the job by merit alone. They were looking for an excuse to fire her untalented butt.

  121. Abe Froman

    June 12, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Fired over a column about Glee Live? Sucks to be her.

  122. LeaFan

    June 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Wiser almost certainly knew that she’d been caught as many as three days before her editor did. In not coming forward, she left the paper in a vulnerable position for much longer than was necessary. Original sin is bad enough (hence the Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception), but the cover-up can kill you. Wiser took and won the short odds gamble that tweens don’t read reviews, in general, and her columns, in particular, but was blind-sided by an old maniac who is offended even more by lying journalists than by the Glee tour show.
    While I understand the self-pleasuring an uninformed, stupid, occasionally racist, rant can provide, some of Ms. Wiser’s apologists need to be aware of guilt by association, and the unjust harm they may be causing a decent person who would never want to be associated with them. With friends like those, Ms. Wiser will not lack for enemies.
    #118 BRUCE WOLF: The Glee Live concert is even worse than the Trib’s reviewer said it was. If it were up to me, Glee would be cancelled tomorrow so Lea Michele could do the scheduled Funny Girl revival. (Her best singing can be heard on “O Holy Night”, “Papa Can You Hear Me”, and “Whispering” from her lead role in Spring Awakening; Wiser over praised “Don’t Rain…”). I get my conservative reads form Andrew Sullivan. I could never abide WFB for a myriad of reasons, but if the unfounded allegation you cited were true I would hate him less. I watched Lemaire’s goal while in Madison. I always assumed it was cigarette smoke, not fog, as the Chicago Stadium Pinkerton goon ushers, who wouldn’t let me move down from standing room, never enforced the no smoking rule. Karma! The Canadiens traded Tony Esposito because they didn’t trust him in critical situations. Mikita was a very great player. My California neighbor, a former stock car racer, lived close to Bobby Hull in Chicago and confirms what Brett knew – he’s an ass. Toews’ shorthanded tying goal against the Canucks was so great an act of clutch skill and sheer determination that, in tribute, I refused to accept the $5 series bet I had with my neighbor. If it had been $10, who knows (you understand, we’re both Ashkenazi). And why is your Hawks fandom “former”? Even I cheered for them last year out of Original Six loyalty.

  123. Robert McCormick

    June 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Thus far, the one opinion on this dismissal that we seem to be lacking is that of….Rob Feder himself! Robert, what do *you* think, journalistically, of Paige’s transgression, and of Don Hayner’s decision? You’re awfully quick to have an opinion about Randy Michaels and even Gerry Kern, which is great, of course. So, how about a reaction to what Paige did? You’re a blogger, and not merely a reporter, and you definitely have opinions on journalistic ethics in other arenas.
    I think we’re all dying to know what you think on this one.

  124. not sure about LeaFan

    June 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    LeaFan has me confused by the alleged facts. LeaFan claims to be in CA AND claims to have never heard of Paige Wiser AND somehow found her column AND found this Feder blog AND has been 24/7 since then…I just don’t see this chain of lucky events actually happening. Please explain LeaFan, please clear my confusion about your story. Thank you.

  125. Mike G.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Jon#102, your dessert analogy could not be more off the mark. This isn’t about a restaurant reviewer simply recommending a dessert at the end of a review. It’s about a reviewer claiming to have EATEN a dessert that was not even on the menu, then praising the chef to her readers for how tasty it was. Big difference.
    Now, you may not care. But foodies – some of whom plan expensive nights out based on published reviews – who read such columns and are led to believe the critiques are based on real life, actual, factual, interactions with restaurants and the food the reviewer is claiming to eat, actually DO care. And when they go to that restaurant and are told that the great dessert they just ordered hasn’t been on the menu since last New Years Eve, they now have every right to question the veracity of both the food critic and publication he or she works for.

  126. LeaFan

    June 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    #124 not sure about LeaFan: There are multiple discussion boards related to Glee, where reviews of the tour are posted, along with links to videos uploaded to YouTube and Tumblr. The dropping of “Don’t Rain…” was a major topic of discussion for fans of Lea Michele, and it was there that I came across Ms. Wiser’s review with her lapse duly noted. In short, it was not I who first made her lie public, but it was I who emailed Ms. Wiser and then, having received no response after three days, her editor. (How many others also did, she and the sysadmins at the Sun Times would know.) The announcement of the firing led to a burst of web stories, mostly from Chicago sources, that were quickly reposted. No magic, conspiracy, revenge, or even hard work are necessary to explain the sequence of events. Web literacy, Occam’s Razor, and a grumpy old man are all that need to be invoked. I decided to provide the background on this site, alone, because it appeared to be the one with the highest quality of discussion and level of interest, driven by someone who seemed to be a respected commenter on Chicago journalism. (Glee and Lea Michele are NOT my issue here.) You may have noticed that I have not weighed in regarding Ms. Wiser’s competence or history. That’s because I have no idea what they are.
    When I heard about the firing, I was shocked. Okay, I told myself, it’s a zero sum game, so if some reporter who needed the job to pay for her uninsured child’s life-saving operation, maybe the person who will take her place and paycheck has an even greater need. Then came the story about the children and the stressed-out mother. Yikes. Okay, I told myself, maybe the whole family would benefit if she stayed home for a bit and her husband has a well-paying job and maybe the other kids at school aren’t a bunch of taunting little shits and so on and so forth. People acted, sometimes with incomplete knowledge, sometimes too hurriedly, producing unknowable long-range relative outcomes. However, the one thing I know for certain, based on our exchange of emails, is that Ms. Wiser’s superiors took great care and time before coming to a decision. The one thing I’m still most curious about is the amount of time between Ms. Wiser’s discovery of her error and the admission of it to her editor.

  127. Jon

    June 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    It was bad, no doubt about it. I’m just pointing out what a big role press releases play in journalism, not always out of maliciousness, but out of convenience and sometimes necessity. I’m saying in a sense Wiser simply rounded out her review with some supplemental information, though her obvious flub was pretending she saw it. It was fairly boneheaded as there was no reason to think the songs from one set list would be the same as another. Though still relatively harmless. You know what though? I am really sick of self proclaimed ‘foodies’ and their overindulgent, overly critical, wildly pedantic yelp reviews. There, I said it.

  128. Katie

    June 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I have no sympathy for this woman. I work in radio news, and the cardinal rule of reporting on anything is: don’t make stuff up. She could have gotten a babysitter, but it sounds to me like she took the kids simply because she wanted to/thought they would enjoy it. Which is fine, but NOT WHEN YOU’RE ON THE CLOCK.


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