I think it took living in D.C. for a couple months to solidify for me just how sensational the Chicago Tribune has gotten. It is still no New York Post or Chicago Sun Times, but it is no Washington Post or New York Times, either. It's no wonder too, given that the Tribune's parent company, the Tribune Company's main priorities seem to be in downsizing the staff as opposed to upgrading the news quality. Although the editorial page is not necessarily an indicator of bad journalism--just look at the disparity between the well-reported news in the Wall Street Journal and its more shrill and often mendacious editorial page, as one example--a look at the Tribune's editorial page may put some perspective on how some of its sensational reporting gets past the bosses.
Take today's endorsement of Tony Peraica for Cook County Board President: the Tribune indicts the "sorry" Cook County government for having a budget of 3.1 billion, saying that it is "bigger than those of many states." This comment is extremely misleading considering that Cook County, with a population of 5,303,683, is in fact bigger than many states. The massive County includes not only the city of Chicago but many of Chicago's suburbs (including my hometown and my university's town). There are 31 states (32, including Puerto Rico) with a population less than Cook County's. Granted, I agree with the Tribune that Todd Stroger appears to be relying on alarmist tactics to beat Tony Peraica, but the paper's editorial page negates its own reliability in analyzing Cook County politics if it cannot avoid such a blatantly simplistic and misleading analogy.