Chicago Tribune Gives Mariotti Haters a Voice

UPDATE: The message board’s working again! Let the bile spew.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE and CHICAGO SUN-TIMES have been taking out their anger over their ownership kerfuffles on each other recently, especially in their sports departments (where it doesn’t look quite as petty, perhaps).

First, a Tribune intern wins a Sun-Times video contest disparaging Tribune Company and Cubs owner Sam Zell and his attacks on Wrigley. (After all, who knows the old coot best than the ones that hate him most?)

The ante has been upped, at least temporarily, by the new turn of events at the Sun-Times. The paper’s Web site now accepts comments from readers, opening a social networking-new media-Web 2.0 thingies that someone at the Sun-Times decided was essential to new paradigms blah blah. Except, of course, Jay Mariotti wasn’t having any of that. No comments on his columns, thanks.

Chicago Tribune Jay Mariotti message board remnants

For a brief time Friday afternoon and evening, though, the Chicago Tribune came up with a solution for disenfranchised Mariotti commenters: their own message board on the Chicago Tribune’s Web site. However, that board is gone as of this morning, leaving a “Server Error” behind. Proof of the board’s brief existence can only be found at Google.

While we suppose it’s possible the board was so popular that the Tribune Company couldn’t keep it up and that this is a temporary outage, we suspect that someone wised up this morning after the euphoria of the tit-for-tat in the Sun-Times comments on a Friday afternoon wore off. As always, having the tools doesn’t mean you should always use them.

It’s a shame these two papers are still at it after all the trouble both are having surviving in the new marketplace. The Tribune is hemorrhaging people as quickly as the Sun-Times, which some predict won’t see the ball drop on 2009. Instead, employees of both papers should both turn their attentions on someone they both agree they can hate: Sam Zell.

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