The criminal racketeering, bribery and extortion trial of Ed Burke has barely begun. But in City Hall and on the streets and the neighborhoods the whispering already is that the jury will find Burke guilty of most everything charged. Not because he is guilty, which we have not yet determined. But because members of the jury may have been and still may be reading about Ed Burke in Chicago’s two most influential newspapers. I don’t know if Ed Burke is guilty. But I do know those newspapers are describing him as the major player in the Chicago Way of government corruption. A juror reading the Sun-Times or Tribune descriptions of Burke might find it hard to vote “not guilty.” Those newspapers ought to be more careful about what they’re saying.

Walter Jacobson gives his Perspective:

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